2011 La Ruta de los Conquistadores

The race to determine the toughest mountain biker in the world is now complete.  What’s this race all about?  See how the race unfolded below.

Day 4 – After four days, 250 miles and 35,000 feet of climbing Todd Wells is victorious.  Does this make him the toughest Mountain Biker in the world?  Those who think this race is the toughest would certainly say so.  

Moises Hernandez was victorious on the final stage of the La Ruta de los Conquistadores which features the race’s famous trestle bridges and a finish on the sands of La Playa Bonita.  Wells and Akerson (GC runner-up) finished the stage second and third while Ben Sonntag, the 2010 La Ruta champion, led the rest of the chasers home on the fourth and final day of racing across Costa Rica.  In an interview before the race this is what Wells had to say about his goal to win.  “I would love to win but I don’t know if that’s a reality. I don’t know how I will recover day to day, I have never done the event before and the racers are top notch. Endurance racing isn’t my speciality but I will try my best each day.  I think there have been only 4 non-natives to win the race and I don’t know if any had done it on their first try, even Frishi took a few times before he cracked La Ruta.  That said I have been trying to adapt my training to be ready for the longer days of La Ruta while still trying to maintain some speed for cyclocross. I fear I will end up being O.K. at both but not great at either but it’s all a learning experience for me.”  With his victory he is only the second first time racer to be crowned La Ruta champion.  I look forward to seeing the stories from the mortals that tackled this race.  Maybe next year is the year I tackle this race.  After all your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding of how much you can endure.

Mens General Classification after four days

  1. Todd Wells…………………………. 17:18:06
  2. Rom Akerson ……………………… 0:10:18
  3. Luis Mejia ………………………….. 0:27:28
  4. Federico Ramirez Mendez ………. 0:39:00
  5. Moises Hernandez Araya ……….. 0:42:30
  6. Milton Ramos ……………………… 0:45:40
  7. Alex Grant …………………………. 0:47:40
  8. Ben Sonntag ………………………. 1:15:22
  9. Alexander Sanchez Calderon …… 1:47:25
  10. Gerry Cody ………………………… 2:11:08

Day 3 – Todd Wells maintains overall general classification lead by over 10 minutes. Stage 3 was won by Mejia and Rojas as the two dominated the race up and over the Irazu and Turrialba volcanos.  Hoping to gain time, a motivated Akerson, led Wells by about 50 seconds at the top of Irazu.  Wells caught back up on the descent and the two rode up the other volcano and down a very treacherous descent.  In the final kilometers, Akerson reached his limit, as Wells padded his GC lead with a few extra minutes.

Mens General Classification after three days

  1. Todd Wells…………………………. 13:09:57
  2. Rom Akerson ……………………… 0:10:18
  3. Luis Mejia ………………………….. 0:25:24
  4. Milton Ramos ……………………… 0:28:04
  5. Federico Ramirez Mendez ………. 0:36:30
  6. Alex Grant …………………………. 0:43:53
  7. Moises Hernandez Araya ……….. 0:49:43
  8. Ben Sonntag ………………………. 1:12:45
  9. Alexander Sanchez Calderon …… 1:44:55
  10. Gerry Cody ………………………… 1:46:31

Day 2 – Todd Wells holds a seven minute lead two days into the epic La Ruta de los Conquistadores.  This included suffering a puncture flat after the second big climb of day 2.  Wells ended up finishing fourth on the stage.  Luis Mejia won stage 2 by setting a blistering pace from the start of the race’s shortest stage.  Not being an immediate threat on the general classification after finishing over 38 minutes off the pace on the opening stage the overall contenders seemed content with letting Meijia go.

Mens General Classification after two days

  1. Todd Wells…………………………. 9:38:31
  2. Rom Akerson ……………………… 0:07:11
  3. Milton Ramos ……………………… 0:14:57
  4. Luis Mejia ………………………….. 0:28:08
  5. Federico Ramirez Mendez ………. 0:31:02
  6. Alex Grant …………………………. 0:34:03
  7. Moises Hernandez Araya ……….. 0:44:15
  8. Ben Sonntag ………………………. 0:58:04
  9. Gerry Cody ………………………… 1:19:51
  10. Alexander Sanchez Calderon …… 1:24:40

Day 1– At 8:30 AM the first rider was seen coming out of what’s been nicknamed “the mud pits of hell”, a section of yellowish gluelike mud within the depths of the Carara rainforest.  Drenched in mud, 2011 Leadville 100 winner Todd Wells was the first to reach CP2.  Wells eventually took a solo win in stage 1 of the La Ruta de los Conquistadores on Wednesday.  Milton Ramos was the only rider that could hang with him for most of the race.  Eventually Wells rode away for good to finish in a time of 5:27:32.  “It was about as hard as I expected, but today was only day 1, so I’m sure it will only get harder as it goes on“, said La Ruta rookie Wells.  Check out some cool helmet cam video from the opening stage of the La Ruta de los Conquistadores.  Costa Rica rider, Rom Akerson, was the surprise of stage 1.  He showed great strength and finished third behind Milton Ramos by only 3 minutes.  Meanwhile defending La Ruta champion, Ben Sonntag, had a long, hot, miserable day.  “Before the feed station on the first descent, I messed up and crashed and my handlebars snapped,” said a disappointed Sonntag.  “I basically walked the whole jungle and then I kept on riding. I went something like 45km with a broken handlebar. I was holding onto a little bit of it. Every descent I walked because I was afraid it would snap on the other side given the damage already. I knew I wouldn’t win any more so it wasn’t worth the risk.

 

Mens General Classification after Day 1

  1. Todd Wells…………………………. 5:27:32
  2. Milton Ramos ……………………… 0:10:34
  3. Rom Akerson ……………………… 0:13:44
  4. Moises Hernandez Araya ……….. 0:30:49
  5. Alex Grant …………………………. 0:33:32
  6. Federico Ramirez Mendez ………. 0:33:33
  7. Luis Mejia ………………………….. 0:38:06
  8. Gerry Cody ………………………… 0:45:47
  9. Alexander Sanchez Calderon …… 0:49:57
  10. Ben Sonntag ………………………. 0:57:34


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