Rincon de La Vieja


If you’re like me you’re thinking what is a Rincon de La Vieja? Well it’s a 100 mile MTB race in Northwestern Costa Rica that circles an active volcano. It goes through just about every type of warm microclimate you can imagine, from tropical rain forests to scorching deserts. The route is 90% rough dirt roads, 2% single track, 3% asphalt and the rest double track. It starts early, 5:30 am and yep, there is just about enough light out at that time to see where you’re going.

Just to make sure we don’t start too easy there is a 3 mile climb to the only single track of the day right at the start. We rolled from there as a group of 10 for about 40 KM to the first check point. From there we whittled it down to a group of 4 heading into the rainforest. They call it a rainforest for a reason and we spent the next 2 hours soaked but not over heating which was nice. We also dropped the other 2 guys and after checkpoint 3 it was just myself and Montoya. He gapped me on the “King of the Volcano” climb but I managed to come back and pass him before the 4th checkpoint.

These trees mark the start of the rainforest.

My day took a turn a for the worse after that with a flat tire only minutes after passing the techzone. I changed it but then my bad luck really started when a loose crank finally had had enough and I had to get outside assistance from the mechanics to get going again. That meant I couldn’t get a result but at least I was able to ride the rest of the race. If the first half is wet and jungle, the second half is hot scorched desert. It reminded me of riding in Moab except everything was the white instead of red.

I decided to race the S-Works Stumpjumper HT this weekend for the first time all year. If I had it to do again I would definitely chose the Epic. There are some really steep(20% for 1 KM) sections on dirt roads but mostly it is high speed and rough. I ran Control Fast Track front 25 psi and Control Renegade rear 28 psi. I would probably use a Renegade up front next time since although we do ride through a lot of rain and mud, it’s not really slippery.

One of the coolest things I saw all day was on the “King of the Volcano” climb. There were tons of Morpho butterflies. They are electric blue and I thought I might be hallucinating because they looked so vivid against the jungle backdrop but everyone else saw them too.

I couldn’t have made it through the race with out the great support from the family and everyone from Specialized Costa Rica, puravida.

Here is a little video recap of the race:

Again, huge thanks to everyone from Costa Rica for making the race and trip so memorable. If you don’t get into Leadville and are looking to do a 100 miler the weekend after this is a great one to put on your list. You get the adventure of La Ruta all wrapped up into a single day. Of course if you’re looking for three days of adventure La Ruta is a great one as well.
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I wonder if Winston has been hiking a lot lately…….


2 responses to “Rincon de La Vieja

  1. As a Costarican is always nice to read things about your country, specially when it comes from an outstanding athlete like Todd Wells, the description of the race and the area can´t be better. Race situation was´t the best this time but Im sure in La Ruta, things will be quite different, Look forward to have you back in november and thanks for sharing this nice comments in your blog. Cheers!


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