La Ruta adds a day

It's been less than two weeks since the finish of the 2008 La Ruta de los Conquistadores, but plans are already underway for an expanded event for next year. La Ruta will be growing by one day for a total of five days of racing for its next edition in on on November 10-14, 2009. The race format, its course, the services for the participants and the logistics will experience several changes for next year.

Race Director Diego Víquez said he had been analyzing the changes prior to the the most recent event.

"The central modification will be the five-day format, adding one more day to the trek. This is not going to alter the 'backbone' of La Ruta, which will continue to trace the route of the Spanish explorers' paths across the Costa Rican territory," said La Ruta PR Director Luis Rueda. "In fact, the first three days will stay practically the same."

The total amount of paved roads will be reduced as organizers look for alternative fire roads and off-road passes to replace them. The current fourth day's course will be detoured when the racers hit the flat routes to the Caribbean Sea. Instead heading east on the train tracks, racers will be directed west towards the Mid-Atlantic Region.

The organization is trying to end stage four at the facilities of the EARTH University, a Tropical Region and Agricultural School, which is an international, private, non-profit organization. The fifth and final stage would also begin there, but would finish at the same Caribbean location of the past four editions, the Reina's Tourist Complex of Playa Bonita.

While fourth stage is planned to be between 70 and 80 kilometers, the fifth and final will be approximately 60 kilometers.

Organizers are hoping to reduce La Ruta's ecological footprint and are looking at ways to achive a carbon neutral certification for future events.

Finally, participants should expect upgraded mechnical services catering of food for meals before, after and during each stage.

For more information or to register for one of the 300 spots, visit

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.