The competition, set for Aug. 23, 2014, is a unique adventure race – the only 100-mile mountain bike race in Latin America, and the only race in the world to circumnavigate an active volcano, according to press information.
Located in Costa Rica’s northwestern Guanacaste province, Rincón de la Vieja is the largest volcano in the region. Standing 6,286 feet tall, its caldera is nine miles (15 km) wide. The adjacent dormant Santa Maria Volcano stands even taller at 6,307 feet. The Rincón de la Vieja Volcano and National Park were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999.
Mountain bikers from all over will test their stamina and skill riding 100 miles (160 km) clockwise around the volcano through five microclimates – from the Northern Pacific dry plains of Guanacaste up over Costa Rica’s Continental Divide to lush cloud forests, across rivers, around the smoldering Rincón de la Vieja Volcano to where it meets the Miravalles Volcano, and back to the finish line.
Starting at 5:30 a.m. from the Las Pailas entrance to the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano National Park, competitors have 12 hours to ride gravel roads, red clay tracks, river and volcanic rock trails, smooth white ash roads and “dog’s teeth” calcite rock trails – with close to 11,000 feet of elevation gain – to reach the finish.
Race entrance information can be found at Rincon de la Vieja Challenge. Event headquarters will be at Rincon de la Vieja hotel Hacienda Guachipelin. You can make reservations online. The Guanacaste hotel is located 15.5 miles (25 km) northeast of Guanacaste’s principal city of Liberia.
Article by Shannon Farley