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Charuk first, Routely second at La Ruta

Four-day epic mountain bike race crossed Costa Rica

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The 2007 La Ruta des los Conquistadores delivered everything the race is known for, from rain and mud to leg-sapping heat and humidity. The climbs were also punishing, totaling 12,000 metres over four days of mountain biking.

Once again the Costa Rican riders had the home field advantage, with Federico Ramirez taking the men’s title in a total time of 17 hours, 40 minutes, 21 seconds, followed by Paolo Montoya in second in 18:08:50. Third place went to Thomas Dietsch of France, the World Cup marathon champion this season.

“I’m happy because we could recover the title after two years of foreigners dominating,” said Federico. “This was the hardest La Ruta of the four that I have won.”

On the women’s side, Susan Haywood of the U.S. took the top spot in her first La Ruta appearance with a time of 22:50:06. She was followed 43 minutes later by fellow American Louise Kobin, a three-time La Ruta champion, while Costa Rica’s Alejandra Carvajal placed third 2:41:37 behind Haywood.

The top Canadian male was Victoria’s Kris Sneddon, who placed ninth overall in 19:50:07. Cory Wallace of Alberta was 13 th in 20:31:32, Andreas Hestler was 17 th in 21:07:59, and Jon Nutbrown 18 th in 21:49:19.

Whistler riders did well in their age categories.

Riding in the Master B category, Mike Charuk of Team Whistler was first out of 116 riders with a four-day time of 22:38:17.

In the Veteran category, Tony Routley placed second overall out of 39 riders with a time of 23:37:10.

Fanny Paquette, racing against the top women, placed ninth out of 41 riders in 30:36:48.

It was the first time any of these riders had taken part in La Ruta.

The ride was 357 km from start to finish this year, and was stretched to four days from three to allow for a few course changes. It still took slower riders over 40 hours to complete the new route, which was characterized by its brutal climbs and wet conditions that made the course slippery and muddy.

Over the course of the ride more than 80 riders pulled out with mechanicals, injuries, and general exhaustion.

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