The Ruta founder Roman Urbina is fond of saying, “Is more than just a race. It is a personal growth experience”. That’s because, while some race La Ruta, for most it is such an arduous physical and mental challenge that they’re just happy to finish. The race is about the journey and all that it entails —learning about yourself, about a different culture, and making friends along the way.
At La Ruta, the journey is the destination. It's about working with what you've got, giving it all your might and surviving the adversities that you might come upon along the way. This race epitomizes what is so great about mountain biking.
To enjoy (and survive!) LA RUTA, you have to be flexible in many ways, due to the course’s ever-changing terrain, climate, and unpredictable weather. Sometimes the route changes even while the race is in progress, as rain, floods, and once even a train derailment have forced same-day alterations. Patience and perseverance are definitely great virtues to have if you don’t want to be fighting your own frustration.
The riders who genuinely enjoy the event and gain the most from it are invariably those who focus on the unforgettable experiences — the natural beauty of this exotic land, the friendliness of the people, the relief of crossing through a jungle river that helps you wash 20 pounds of mud off your bike. Yes, LA RUTA possesses a spirit of its own. It is not for everyone. To survive it, beyond a high level of fitness, riders require the mental toughness to fight through pain, an appreciation for being challenged, and the inner spirit to feed off the beauty surrounding them. Are you the type who sees beauty in physical and mental challenges and can still laugh in the face of adversity? This is the right attitude necessary to survive this epic journey.
"More than a race... a personal growth journey"
Since the very first edition, there are thousands of stories of riders who have embarked on this epic journey. The stories are as different as the riders themselves, but they all share some common elements: the overwhelming magnitude of the task that causes participants to look inward and examine the deep motivations for challenging themselves in this way.
To many unfamiliar to ultra-endurance events, the question WHY? arises.
Why did Alejandro Oporta, a 45-year-old man who had his arm amputated, challenged himself to do this race?
Why did Brett Wolfe, a leg amputee, decide to participate?
Why are riders around the world willing to submit themselves to the relentless mud, heat, cold, rain, climbs, bridges, and more mud — all the trials and tribulations and natural wonders of Costa Rica?
This race exists to teach people what they can live through, what they can overcome, in a majestic natural setting.
Just like in life, LA RUTA is about taking what you are given and coming out on top.