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  1. #1
    mtbr member
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    Apr 2010

    La ruta, costa rica

    im goin to la ruta.....

    anybody on here have any advice, THAT HAS BEEN THERE BEFORE?!?!??

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Be fit and prepared for anything. When you hit the mud on day 1, get into your "zen" mode and plug away. Don't let the adversity get in your head. Look around and take in the beautiful scenery, enjoy the people and the rain forest and you will have the time of your life.

    If you allow mud, heat, fatigue, dirt roads, railroad tracks and tall trestle bridges with missing timbers to affect your mood it will be a miserable four days. La Ruta puts a premium on mental toughness.

    Don't get too hung up on your bike other than to be sure it is in good shape and up for a beating. If there are any weak spots on your bike, they will break in Costa Rica. I rode a hard tail, and if I were to go back would choose a hard tail again, although an efficient full suspension bike could be ok. There is a tremendous amount of climbing on pavement so make sure you can lock out the suspension. The mud in Costa Rica will destroy pivots, bearing, etc. If you ride a full-suss bring pivot bolts just in case.

    Have fun! I am jealous..........
    "It's just that nobody likes Cornfish." francois

  3. #3
    Dropshot Champ!
    Reputation: redmr2_man's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    that sounds like an awesome adventure seoulriding. What are you heading down there for and how long are you staying?

    Be sure to post some pics when you get back, sounds like a blast!

  4. #4
    I like mtn biking, too
    Reputation: shredchic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by redmr2_man View Post
    that sounds like an awesome adventure seoulriding. What are you heading down there for and how long are you staying?

    Be sure to post some pics when you get back, sounds like a blast!
    La Ruta de las Conquistadores is a 3 day MTB stage race - THE ROUTE

    Awesome seoulriding! Best of luck.
    Half the planet is deep into bloody tribal mayhem. Weíre just riding bikes (and drinking beer) here.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Zignzag's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    My friend Cal, who has done it many times, sent me this. See ya there.

    Calís training and participation tips for La Ruta de los Conquistadores 10/4/04

    Everybody that does La Ruta comes up with a list of things they believe in. I have done La Ruta 5 times (now 5 and 2/3rds), so my list is pretty long. It is however, only based on my experience, based on my abilities and events. Everybody comes up with different stuff that they think is important, for example, one guy that has done La Ruta 2 or 3 times always carries extra socks! This happens to NOT be one of things on my list, but it shows the diversity of suggestions that can be offered. To come up with YOUR list, you have to participate in La Ruta, but until you do, here is MY list that you might consider.

    Pretty obvious that one should do long training rides, at least one per week - 6 hours or more. They donít have to be on mountain bike trails, and in fact a lot can be learned about energy foods and hydration on road rides. I do a lot of training on my mountain bike with skinny tires in the 6 to 8 weeks before La Ruta. It is not only the legs that need training, but the back, neck, arms, hands. Would be good to do two days in a row of 6 Ė 8 hour rides Ė in part to see what one feels like and find out that one can do it.
    Climb, climb, and do more climbing.
    Hike-a-bike training. Not a lot of fun, but La Ruta, particularly day 1 and 2, have a lot of stretches of pushing and carrying you bike. Doing some long stretches of pushing up the steepest hill you can find, and do repeat intervals up the very steepest short place (2 Ė 5 minutes up) and then back down. Progress is fast if you are fit for cycling in the first place.

    Bike considerations:
    I did La Ruta 4 times on a hardtail with V brakes, and last two years on an Ellsworth Truth full suspension with disks. It can be done with V-brakes (have new pads at the start, and be prepared to replace them if worn very much before day, but disks are a joy. A caveat is that they must be bullet proof. I hear a lot of stories about disk brake problems. I have Shimano XT and the only time they have been touched is for new pads. If you have unreliable disk brakes, get V brakes or different disk brakes.
    Full suspension is great, particularly on the railroad tracks, but I did La Ruta 4 times with my Litespeed hardtail which is lighter to carry. Either works.
    Tires Ė the conditions vary so much, even over day one that it is hard to say what is best. Certainly tires that tend to shed mud as averse to holding it are important (particularly on day 1). It builds up anyway, but less mud to remove is better than more. I switched to UST tubeless this year and am looking for good tires for mud and all conditions.
    Good to locktite bottle bracket screws. They are most likely to come loose.
    I have used a front fender called Shockboard. Even a simple one on the downtube helps keep the face and glasses clean. BTW, use 2 tie wraps to secure the Shockboard in addition to the factory steering tube mount. After 8 or so hours it falls off.
    The cable to the rear derailleur is the one most affected by mud. A Goretex low friction cable is worth the cost, but I understand they are no longer available.

    What to carry with you:
    On day 1 and 3 I have no extra clothes.
    Day 2 requires rain and warmth gear Ė gloves, head cover, rain coat (the plastic one I used last year worked great, my Goretex one isnít up to it anymore), leg warmers, warm layer (I have a light fleece that has worked).
    After I broke my rear derailleur on day 1 a couple years ago, I carry one. Never used it myself, but saved a guy and gal on a tandem at Trans Rockies last year. Also, never bent a derailleur hanger, but they donít weigh much, either.
    Small brush for scrubbing chain though gloves on your hands does the job, too. a washcloth in plastic bag for face/glasses or the bike, which ever needs it the most.
    Toilet paper
    2 tubes, pump, chain tool, the most common allen wrenches.
    Various emergency pills Ė GasX, Rolaids, anti-inflammatory (Celebrex is a miracle prescription anti-inflammatory drug).
    And of course a bottle of wet weather chain lube. (Take at least two with you to Costa Rica) First day requires numerous cleaning and re-lubes - next two days less so, but still important.
    I donít carry socks
    I also donít carry bug spray. I have never been at all bothered by flying insects Ė though the leaf cutter ants are sure amazing to watch.

    Energy, electrolytes and hydration:
    These are the big problems. It is so hot and one is working so hard, it is very difficult to find the time to take care of these basics. Here is what I try to do (note I cramped up on the paved climb to Alto Griffo last year, so I donít listen to myself well enough).
    For electrolytes I believe in pills. One never can keep track of how many bottles of what one has drunk, and I believe one cannot get enough that way, particularly when the stuff in the bottle is 100 degrees. E-Caps makes products for endurance athletes. La Ruta surely qualifies in this regard. Extreme might even apply. E-Caps Endurolytes are capsules that one takes every hour or so. Up to 6 an hour, so it takes a whole bottle for La Ruta. Day one is the real test. A also have salt tablets, just in case. But donít forget the couple days before in Jaco. One sweats just sitting in the shade. Make sure you drink enough and take some electrolytes before the race day. I took 2 to 3 an hour last year and it wasnít enough. Iíll take more at times this year.
    Also, when off the bike, salt your food whenever you can.
    I have switched to a maltodextrin-based product for energy. It is a powder that I put in my camelback (I make up packets of 3 or 4 scoops each in baggies). The one I have been using is Hammer Products Sustained Energy. They have another one Perpetuem, which I am also going to try. It is hard to carry adequate solid food, hard to eat it, and at times impossible to swallow it. One has to drink, so having energy stuff in oneís camelback solves the two problems at once. Though stomach/intestine problems can and do still exist. I take a Zantac 75 or Pepcid AC morning and night during the race, and carry GasX for emergency treatment. I do eat some of the solid food at the rest stops, but it is what I carry that gets me through. I also use Carb Boom energy packets and Hammer Gel when I start to really get worn out. Donít use simple sugar gels or other food.

    Possible problems:
    Getting Lost
    Broken bike
    Getting stomach / intestine problems
    The course is marked well, but brain fade is not uncommon. I missed a turn in year 4 that I had made in the 3 previous years. Almost didnít finish day 1, which is probably the easiest day to stay on course. However, year before last the first 100 or so riders followed the guy ahead of them and went the wrong way. I made the correct decision at the same place due to my sense of which way to go. J That may have been the first time there was no markingÖ though bike tracks are definitely something to watch. In this case a lot went the wrong way. Days 2 and 3 have more turn possibilities. Sometimes a turn is off a real nice paved road on to a dirt road or less. Keep alert! Unless you read and speak Spanish and have built in GPS and topo map, all you can do is pay attention at every possible turn.
    Solution Ė be careful, plan, and take care of yourself. With luck none of these happen to you, though the first one is highly likely unless you really, really take care of yourself on day 1. Pray.

    Other considerations:
    What spares to take with you to Costa Rica? First on my list would be shoes. Great to have some dry ones for day two, though they will end up wet. The sole of my shoe has also come off Ė twice. Other than that, what do you think is mostly likely to break? The logistics of having what you need where you need it is a bit daunting, since you donít know what you will need where.
    Days before the race in Jaco: Last year I think I became dehydrated the day before the race. It is hot in Jaco. Carry a bottle of water with you, and keep drinking. Also, take electrolytes. Water and NO electrolytes can cause very serious problems. Same after the race Ė drink and electrolytes.
    At checkpoint 1 on day 1, before the rainforest - stop and fill up all water carrying containers you have. The next 3 hours will be the most humid, hottest of the whole adventure. Maybe if you go fast enough, and donít sweat much you can do this without a Camelback, but I would never try it. Later in the day it is hot, or hotter, but much less humid. Also, need to be drinking a lot then too, but the time between rest stops is a little less.
    Donít go out too hard on day 1. It is difficult to not too, but it is a long race. Have fun, donít go real slow, but donít max out. To finish day 1 in the daylight, one has to keep moving pretty good.
    Day 2 we ride 100 yards or so through cow ****. I wouldnít drink anything out of a bottle that was bike mounted after this. A lot of folks have gotten sick after day 2. I speculate that this was the cause? Or was it food?
    Day 3 is adventure day with the trestles and stream crossings. Obvious you look where you want to go on the trestles, i.e. at the rails, not the spaces between them. If they are wet they can be slippery with bike shoes on. It would be very difficult to fall the river, but one leg between the rails, and your crotch will not be very happy, nor maybe your leg. Last year , Roman added a mile or so of knee deep mud... which makes day 3 a lot harder. I never saw it cause I crashed virtually within sight of the finish of day two - broken collar bone, and pretty much damaged back. As our governor, Arnold, has said, though, "I'll be back". Signed up for 2004.
    You wonít get enough sleep, and you wonít always know what or when things are going to happen Ė like where is my bike? What time does the bus come, etc? Pay attention, but go with the flow. Things will likely work out.
    Last edited by Zignzag; 10-11-2012 at 12:16 PM.
    Tequila is a pallid flame that passes through walls and soars over tile roofs to allay despair. A. Mutis

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    thanks guys...should be biggest concern is cramping due to heat...i work graveyards here and haven't done a workout in a temp higher than 70 in 9 months.....
    other than that, we'll see...

    ill be riding my softail titanium bike...20lbs...should be fun...

    later ya'll!!!

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