La Ruta de los Conquistadores makes changes for 2014 edition

La Ruta de los Conquistadores, a long-running mountain bike stage race in Costa Rica, is making some changes for its 2014 edition, including modifications to the route and new categories for racers.

"The biggest change, and the one that has everybody anxious is the course change of stage 1," said Mariana Urbina to Cyclingnews. "Stage 1 will be shorter this year, but don't let that fool you. It'll have a lot less asphalt and way more climbing. Plus, it goes through a unique type of tropical forest that we have here in Costa Rica, called the Tropical Dry Forest, which is close to being extinct worldwide."

Organizers are also introducting two new categories: singlespeed and 60+. They are the second and third new categories after they also added a fat bike category in 2013.

"Anyone who tries to do La Ruta in a singlespeed has all of my respect and admiration because man, that sounds close to impossible," said Urbina.

While it's too early for organizers to confirm any specific entrants, they are expecting the Specialized Racing team to send several riders as well as the winners of the 2014 National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series.

The next edition of La Ruta will take place on November 6-8, 2014. Marconi Duran (Coopenae-Movistar-Economy) and Pua Mata (Sho-Air/Cannondale) won the 2013 edition.

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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.