Posted by Editor on 11/9/06
Dre at La Ruta
Andreas Hestler (Rocky Mountain-Business Objects) has provided a summary of his experience at La Ruta de los Conquistadores in Costa Rica. Hestler finished 18th overall.
What an event! Hosted by great, friendly people in the Costa Rican Jungle. I actually thought about the Spanish Conquistadores crossing the entire 300 km's from Ocean to Ocean (Pacific to Caribbean) through the jungles as we did, and was suitably impressed.
The killer aspects of La Ruta were either cumulative or diminutive depending on how you look at things or how you felt. The early mornings (3 and 4 a.m.) - either you were adjusting to the schedule or you were becoming snowed under. The climbing was in your face from day one (15,000 feet); if you weren't recovering then as the days did less climbing they still seemed to hurt as much. The fear of Malaria, Montezuma's or just some random tropical disease kept me on the edge of my seat.
But with so many cool vistas, and views of jungles and oceans, it was hard to not enjoy being down in Central America in early November. Maybe if one didn't take the time to look around then one might have missed a large part of the experience. The people - both the locals and the other racers - were fun to spend time with.
Some of my highlights were:
-Figuring out the Tico (what a local is called) schedule and making it to the beach the day before the race
-Eating at Denny's - yeah, the world is covered by food-chains.
-Waking up at 3 am to start a race at 5:15 am, never done that.
-Recovering from Day One's death march and by day two seeming to have entirely forgotten about it.
-Racing with Adam Craig, Thomas Frischknecht and Tinker Juarez, mostly drinking beer with them after each stage (secret fuel)
-Spending time hanging with all the journalists and photographers, hearing their stories of jungle mayhem.
-Bus transfers, I always enjoy those, some people talk too much and some one is always feeling sick and they hate each other for that 20 minute or 2 hour period.
-Final dinner with Luis and Diego (the organizers); great guys who love what they do and are really good at it.
-Discussing bike technology with Tom Ritchey high on a Costa Rican ridge line after stage two.
-Playing ping pong for 2 hours, evening of the second stage, oops.
We must consider that for us from the Northern Hemisphere (and I mean especially those north of the 49th parallel) getting ready for a race in early November is a chore indeed. Our weather is turning, it's cold outside. When we should be cranking out the miles our motivation is maybe not there, so with a grain of salt thrown over one shoulder we embrace the adventure: La Ruta deep in the jungles of Central America. It is with the same lenience that we don't beat ourselves up too badly for our performances in alien places, but give ourselves the benefit of the doubt to be a racer, an adventurer and a traveler
PS- I've been at home two days now and no sickness, knock on wood. My tan is awesome - as we all know, brown arm and leg warmers, ha ha ha. I'll fix that never. I'm a bike racer.
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