Mud, gravel, asphalt, loose rock, rain, cold, heat and sweat make the route of the conquistadors a real personal challenge that demands physical and mental strength of the participants.
Pablo Sanchez, a mountain biker who lives in Samara, knows the challenge and defines it as a “unique and challenging experience.”
At 33, Sanchez be traversing the 310-kilometer (192-mile) route for the third time from October 24 to 26. The route crosses Costa Rica from coast to coast, passing through jungle, farmland, beaches, villages, coffee plantations and active volcanoes.
This Samareño is a member of the 7 Capital team and is the current champion in the Masters category (over 30 years of age), after winning it last year. In addition, he is the only professional cyclist from Guanacaste participating on a cycling team. However, Sanchez is not content with just getting first place; he aspires to defend his title.
The cyclist highlighted two points which are very demanding: the initial part of the route from Jaco through Carara National Park to San Jose, which includes 110 kilometers (68 miles) and the second segment of 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Tres Rios down to Turrialba.
“There’s a part where the slope is very steep and the road is of volcanic rock. In addition, the visibility is almost zero and it’s very cold so your hands stiffen when gripping the bike on the descent to avoid a fall,” Sanchez explained.
The highest part of the route is arriving at Irazu Volcano at 3432 meters (11,259 feet) above sea level before descending to the beach of the Caribbean port of Limon.
It should be noted that during the course, the cyclists must cross rivers and creeks, at which points many walk with their bicycles on their shoulders.
According to the adventurerace.com website, this year they hope to have the participation of more than 20 cyclists from around the world.