The mountain bike endurance race is set for Aug. 24, 2013, starting off from Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin at Rincón de la Vieja Volcano in Guanacaste. The 100-mile race is the first of its kind in Costa Rica and Latin America, and according to race promoters, is the only race in the world to circumnavigate an active volcano.
Located in Costa Rica’s northern Pacific province of Guanacaste, Rincón de la Vieja is the largest volcano in the country’s northwest region. Standing 6,286 feet tall, its caldera is 9 miles (15 km) wide. The active Rincón de la Vieja Volcano is considered a mystical and sacred place by the ancient Curubandé tribe; the volcano and its national park were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999.
Riders from around the world will test their skill and stamina riding 100 miles (160 km) through five microclimates – from Guanacaste’s arid plains up over the Continental Divide to lush cloud forests, across rivers, around smoldering cinder ash of the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano to where it meets the Miravalles Volcano.
The unique mountain bike race will cover varied terrain – gravel roads, red clay roads, river and volcanic rock trails, single track, and smooth white calcium rock road – with a total elevation gain of 10,862 feet (3,311 meters).
Costa Rica is gaining international popularity for endurance sports and competitions. Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin at Rincón de la Vieja recently hosted the international North Face Endurance Challenge on June 22, involving 80k, 50k, 21k and 10k rugged adventure runs near the volcano.
Costa Rica also has been chosen to host this year’s Adventure Racing World Championships 2013, where teams from around the world will compete non-stop for 140 hours on adventure challenges. The race, from Nov. 29 to Dec. 12, will run coast-to-coast from the Pacific to the Caribbean and border-to-border across Costa Rica from Nicaragua to Panama. Adventure sports include: trekking/running, mountain biking, abseiling, canyoning, ocean and river kayaking, rafting, and coasteering.
Of course, you can’t talk about mountain biking in Costa Rica without mentioning the “grandfather” of all Costa Rican mountain biking races — “La Ruta de los Conquistadores” (The Route of the Conquistadors). Costa Rica’s premier mountain bike race is also one of the most challenging adventure races on Earth. Hundreds of top mountain bikers and endurance racers from around the world travel yearly to Costa Rica to cross the country’s most rugged terrain. The route crosses from the Pacific to the Caribbean in only three days. This year’s event from Oct. 24 to 26 celebrates the race’s 20-year anniversary.
Organizers of the Rincón de la Vieja Challenge chose the location for its diverse terrain and varied climate. Adventure ecotourism Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin will host the event’s headquarters. Reservations and booking for the event can be arranged by contacting the hotel at 506-2666-8075 or emailing [email protected].
Where to stay at Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica
Hacienda Guachipelín Hotel is the place to stay at Rincón de la Vieja Volcano for an active vacation. Located 15.5 miles (25 km) northeast of Guanacaste’s capital city of Liberia, the first-class ecotourism lodge is ideal for adventure and nature lovers. Activities include canopy zip lines, canyoning, waterfall rappelling, river tubing, horseback riding, mountain biking, nature trails, and thermal springs – all on a working horse and cattle ranch.
By Shannon Farley