Ben pulls double duty with Specialized. As the current AMA Supersport champion, the elder Boz Brother stays fit and focused by training on his Tarmac. When not ripping up the racetrack, Ben enjoys select mountain bike events as a member of USA Factory Team Specialized/Sho-Air, with a particular (peculiar?) taste for solo 24-hour races.
La Ruta de los Natives or Conquistadores?November 4, 2009
In 2 weeks, hundreds of people will gather in Costa Rica, the “rich coast,” to follow the arduous race across the country that follows the same journey taken by Spanish conquistador Juan de Caballon back in the 16th century. Lucky for us, we will be on our iron (in our case, carbon fiber) stallions.
How did this upcoming race come to be?
In 1992, Roman Urbina, along with a group of friends, had made the first attempt to follow Juan de Caballon’s route. Shortly after, Urbina was compelled to share this epic adventure with the rest of us. This world-class mountain bike race, attracting competitors from all around the globe, is known as La Ruta de los Conquistadores. . . or is it? Maybe, “La Ruta de los Natives” is a more accurate name for the race. Locals have actually dominated this race 14 of the 16 years that it has been in existence. Some say that the locals win because they have an unfair advantage. **twitter statement**
Local support definitely helps, but I’ve raced La Ruta the past five years and witnessed first-hand that the race is won through sheer hard work, confidence, and determination. You need to be able to drop your competition on the steepest parts of the course some as steep as 30+ % Grade. Winners include former farmers and just plain, tough people who are willing to work hard to win and defend the race. (Pretty soon, we will become Conquistadors of this beautiful land.)
Just about 500 years later we are now trying to do the same but with much better equipment, nutrition and for sure much better places to sleep at night. Something that has not change much is the dominance of the Natives, here is the list of some of the Native and Conquistador contenders names along with their accomplishments:
Jose Adrian Bonilla: Former La Ruta Champion; Road, TT and MTB National Champion; NORBA National Short Track winner; NORBA Nationals top 10 finisher; top 15 at several UCI World Cups.
Manuel Prado: Current Costa Rica XCO National Champion, 3rd at the Leadville 100, 2 Time Winner of the Vision Quest, 8th Overall NORBA Nationals, 3rd Place Overall American Mountain Classic Stage Race, 3rd Overall BC Bike Race,14th Place X-Games Flatland BMX, 5 time finisher of La Ruta, 5th overall in 2008.
Jeremiah Bishop: 3 Time USA Marathon National Champion; 4 NORBA National victories; 8th Place 2006 UCI World Championships; American Mountain Classic Stage Race Champion; Pan- American Games Gold Medalist.
Roberto Heras: 5th Place 2000 Tour de France; 3 Time Winner Vuelta a España; 6th Place 1999 Giro de Italia; 7th Place La Ruta 2008.
Tinker Juarez: 2 Time USA Olympian; 3 Time NORBA National Champion; 4 Time 24 Hour National Champion; 3 Top Ten UCI World Championships; 2nd Place La Ruta twice.
Ben Bostrom: 2nd Place 24 Hours of Moab Duo National Championships; 4th Place 24 Hours of Moab, solo; 3rd Overall West Coast Marathon Championships; 1998 AMA Superbike champion; 2008 AMA Supersport Champion; 2008, 2009 Daytona 200 winner; 2003 X-Games Supermoto Gold Medalist.
The real story of La Ruta isn't about who wins; it's about the people who spend months and even years preparing just to survive. Men and women—ranging from teenagers to 50-year-olds—show up with a smile, and finish with an even bigger smile. Never before have you seen people so happily enduring so much pain. It is almost as if La Ruta casts some mysterious love spell over them. This love is what brings us to Costa Rica for the 17th edition of the race. We will be arriving two weeks early to acclimated and pre-ride most of the stages. This year will be an awesome race to follow! During the next few days all kinds of tips will be posted about our experience in Costa Rica. Our goal is to motivate you to do this race and make it much easier to survive the elements and whatever else the race decides to throw at you.
The first thing we’d like to share with you is a packing checklist containing all the items you could possibly need for a race like this. you can download the checklist from here
Thanks for reading, Manuel Prado, Ben Bostrom.
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