In this post we start a collection of interview to the responsible of the five toughest MTB races in the world. The first interview is to Roman Urbina, founder of La Ruta de Los Conquistadores. We expect you enjoy with this article and cheer you up to participate in some of them.
Recently, the Mountain Biking UK magazine selected the five hardest MTB races in the world. La Ruta de los Conquistadores (RC) is one of the top five.
What makes RC one of the hardest MTB races in the world?
There are many factors that play to make this race the toughest. The amount of meters climbing, the steepness some climbs are 30 percent grades, the drastic changes of temperature from hot humid tropical to high mountain cold temperatures, the high level of competition of the participants, the finish rate (50% do not finish), the mud and hiking sections, the early start time.
What do you think makes RC different from other events?
Only race that crosses a continent from ocean to ocean, the history follows the actual paths of the Spanish conquistadores of 1650. LA RUTA is the oldest multistage MTB race. Many other races get the idea from LA RUTA but we are 20 years old this year. At least 50% of the participants are foreign racers… 20 to 30 different countries per year. It is held in the most biodivers place on the planet so each day is an epic day very different from the other races.
How many bikers attended the RC last year and how many were women?
250 racers and 10% out of them were women.
What kind of bikers usually go on the RC?
Many different kinds; from the top pro racers in the planet to adventurer racers and regular people that take this as one of the hardest challenges they will ever do.
What percentage of the participants finish?
Varies year to year: 50 or 60%. On the best years 80%
How did the RC originate?
I started the race 20 years ago after researching our national history and set to follow the paths of Juan De Cavallon and Perefan de Rivera as a way to call the attention of the news and magazines of the importance of conserving our national forests. Costa Rica is one of the countries that has the most land for conservation purposes.
How has the RC evolved through the years?
We have changed many of the trails due to urban development and have had to find other trails. It started as a 3 day event and in 2007 became a 4 day event. This year to celebrate our birthday we will have a 3 day journey similar to the first year. It will be a very hard race but incredibly beautiful.
How many people are involved in the organization?
Over 100 people.
Where do the funds come from to finance the event and what percentage comes in from (sponsors, fee participants, hosting city, etc)?
Mostly from race fees and about 15% from sponsors. It is a very expensive race to produce.
Finally, what would you say to a biker to convince him to choose the RC over other MTB races?
I would not say anything. I think all the races have their magic! This is not a race for any biker, only the real hard core adventure seekers, it’s the real thing! We are the original EPIC Race we started this movement . Costa Rica is an incredible place to visit, so come and enjoy our country!
Next interview: Francesc Sallent, Director of Transpyr
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