Dan's La Ruta Experiences (1 of 3)
I introduced Dan in this post. The first time I met Dan was back in 2002 in a jam packed hotel lobby in downtown San Jose, Costa Rica. Dozens of racers were anxiously awaiting the arrival of the bike trucks, trying to figure out where to leave the bike boxes and wondering when the buses to Jaco would be leaving for the Pacific Coast. Amid all the chaos, I saw Dan sitting quitely on one of the lobby couches watching all of us first timers stressing out--he was definitely amused.
M: Why do you keep going back to La Ruta? Was it your first multi-day race, is that part of it?
Dan: La Ruta was my first multi-day race and I really enjoyed it due to the country, the people and because it was very rewarding just to finish a race like that. The main reason why I was going back was to try to put together 3 good race days back to back, but for one reason or another, I never have been able to. My wife and I did most of the racecourse on our honeymoon with the founder of the race, Roman. We then brought two of her children to watch the race a few months later. Since the whole family really enjoys the experience, I think we will be back to Costa Rica, either for racing or just vacation many more times.
M: What years did you do La Ruta? Did you finish all of them? Does it get any easier?
Dan: I raced and completed La Ruta the following years: 1998-99 & 2002-05. I also rode about 70-80% of the course on my honeymoon in 2005. Since I also raced in TRC and several 24-hour races since 1998, my base is getting pretty significant. This just makes it a bit easier to get the mileage in.
M: Which year was the hardest?
Dan: The years all kind of blend in together, but each year usually has some portion of the race that is just very difficult for me. For the most part, day 1 is usually the hardest for me. The biggest difference has been in 1998, day 1 was actually pretty easy it did not go through the park like it has these last few years. Unfortunately, I did not realize that it was easy since it was my first year.
M: How did you train differently this year as opposed to last year?
Dan: My training the last few years has been pretty much the same. I try to put in some long road rides (100 plus miles) along with 30-50 miles with some fast intervals in there, either a crit or just chasing down stronger road racers. I also managed to get a higher quantity of miles in 2005 because I was a bit healthier than 2004. I am currently training for Cape Epic this spring. Since I live in Central New York and have to do most of the training indoors, I am utilizing a training coach and a heart rate monitor and am concentrating on doing two days of intervals/week (getting my heart rate up to 85-95% of max for short time intervals). I am also doing a bit more upper bodywork and stretching so it should be interesting to see the results in April.
M: What 5 items are the most important to take with you to the race in general & each day?
1) Nourishment to replace electrolytes. Especially important in hot climates like La Ruta (Personal favorite is E-load)
2) A good cream to prevent rashes and so on
3) Dry clean clothes for each race day
4) Good sunscreen that will work after getting wet
5) A comfortable camelback -- If you are competitive, it is important to make sure your food and water are in easy reach