Written by John Sumner Monday, 14 October 2019 00:00
The Ruta De Los RU2 race description says:
"Ruta Los RU2 a 60 km marathon mountain biking event going up to famous and legendary Black Hill, almost a thousand meters high"
The morning of the race was very cloudy and drizzling, temps were in the mid-seventies, and heavy rain was in the forecast. In my swag bag included my number plate, a cycling jersey, water bottle, and snacks. I was borrowing a friend's Trek Fuel for my time in Costa Rica and the race. I suspected this bike to be overkill and a lot heavier, 34LB, than what I should be using. My friend Jorge, pre-race, confirmed he was riding his 19LB hardtail KHS Carbon. However, I was grateful I had a friend kind enough to loan me his bike.
The race began at 8 am, everyone from all 60K categories had a neutral roll-out behind an ambulance for 3 miles. There were some pro Costa Rican riders at this event along with the typical mix of competitors. They also offer a 30k race climbing 3000'.
After three miles of paved road riding, the ambulance turned off and we turned onto the gravel road leading deep into the jungle. By now light rain was falling. We worked our way down the fast flat gravel road towards the 12.5-mile mark indicating the beginning of the Black Mountain 3000+' ascent including several 18% sections.
Here, the front of the group vanished pretty quickly and I was now with about ten riders. I began to climb and pass several people while in and out of my granny gear. I knew there were a lot of people behind me but was too focused on efficiently climbing to look back.
This climb, never have pre ridden and without my Wahoo, turned out to be a guessing game as to where the summit was. I had an idea by the miles ticking away on my Cateye but mentally the false peaks and undulating ups and downs can really mess with your rhythm. I constantly expected around every turn more steep climbing and in reality, due to the sketchy slippery downhill sections, climbing was welcome.
As we rose in altitude the familiar warm climate turned colder and the monsoon rain became sporadic. This was also welcome because if it was the dry season, the dry heat would have been oppressive.
Every twelve kilometers, the organizers set up very well stocked feed stations strategically located on the top of a brutal climb, runners would take my water bottle, run ahead of me and when I met them later, would hand me my full iced cold water bottle. I never had to stop for anything. At one point a woman was stuffing bananas and bags of water in my kit pockets.
The offerings included Pineapple, bananas, power bars, bags of coke, Gatorade, and water.
Riding with a group of five now, we all would pass each other on the ascent or descent and this was consistent for about twenty-five miles. I did experience leg cramps but fortunately had enough water to fight them off permanently.
After the summit, we rode a high ridge almost above the clouds before beginning the descent back to Nicoya. The downhill sections were gnarly, slick with massive washout. I did hit 44 MPH during one straight smooth section. My dropper post was sorely missed.
Down from Black Mountain, and on the way back to town, within 2.5 miles of the finish, we climbed about 1000' crossed four or five two-foot deep water crossings. This was welcome as it cleaned off the body and bike.
On that final ascent, I caught two guys I had been with then chasing.
Stats: 4:10, 38 miles and 6980' and an average of 9.2mph.
As for the winner of the elite race, 2:55.
We were provided a hot meal consisting of rice, chicken, beans, and iced tea in a plastic bag.
Thank you, Jorge Lopez, for making me aware of this race and congrats on your time of 3:34!
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