The La Ruta de Los Conquistadores was held this past week in Costa Rica and it was a banner race for Americans. In the past several years this event has been dominated by the local Costa Ricans and some foreigners from across the pond (that being the Atlantic Ocean). But, this year, US riders took the top spots in the biggest three categories of the four-day, four-stage race.
Manuel Prado of Southern California took the overall win which looked in serious doubt after a major epic on Stage 3. Luckily for Manuel, his teammate Ben Bostrom was there to lend some support and get him to the line to narrowly preserve his overall lead. Speaking of Bostrom, he won the Men's A Master division in fine style. Bostrom is a former AMA Superbike world champion who still competes on the circuit during the late spring, summer and early fall.
The last time I saw Bostrom, he was setting the fastest lap at the 24 Hours of Moab, being the only rider to crack the one-hour barrier on the very technical Moab course. When Ben is twisting his wrist and watching his world go by at 190+mph he is a great representative for the sport of mountain biking.
One of the most impressive performances was turned in by Los Gatos, California resident Louise (Lou) Kobin who won the women's division, erasing a five-minute deficit going into the final stage to win by over 20 minutes. Not only did Kobin beat all the women, she finished an amazing 25th overall meaning she beat over 300 men as well.
The La Ruta de Los Conquistadores is generally regarded as one of the most, if not the most difficult mountain bike races in the world. The route roughly traces the path used centuries ago by the Spanish Conquistadors to cross from the Pacific to Atlantic Ocean. In four days, the race covers 232 miles and climbs an amazing 46,000 feet. Ouch!