Blair's Costa Rican Experience
M: Why did you decide to do La Ruta?
Blair: Because it was dubbed as the toughest mtb race in the world, and because my friend Lindsay who was 56 at the time was doing it. I thought I should be able to.
M: What years did you do La Ruta? Does it get any easier? Did you finish all of them?
Blair: I've done it only once in 2004 and yup I finished it, but not as high up as I could have been. If it weren't for 2 untimely flats on the last day...
M: What tires do you like for CR?
Blair: I've had the best luck with Pythons the last 4 years.
M: Hardtail or Suspension?
Blair: Suspension changed the sport for me. I can do so many more things that I couldn't do on a hardtail. I highly recommend it. Its kind of like a wet suit benefits a poorer swimmer than a good swimmer. However, since CE isn't technical the pure liveliness and response from a hardtail could be beneficial so I'm leaning hard tail for the first time in a mtb stage race
M: The finish rate at CR is about 2/3 to 3/4. What do you think is the most important determinant for a first timer finishing? No mechanicals, a little luck, fitness, no crashes,etc...?
Blair: Luck is when preparation meets opportunity. Preparation #1, then race day maturity, patience and toughness. These are good combinations for attempting something dubbed as "the hardest mtb race in the world"
Blair and Lindsay at La Ruta
M: What does it take to put together 3 good days?
Blair: Consistency, patience, planning, experience and race background.
M: How did you train differently for this race?
Blair: I started training longer miles much, much earlier, all the way back into x-cross season. 3 hours on the road bike, 1 on the mountain bike, followed by 1 hour cross practice was an example of a long day for me.
M: What 5 items are the most important to take with you to the race in general & each day?
Blair: Camelbak, grapes, cliff shot, power bar, and endura lite.
M: How do you deal with cramps down in CR?
Blair: Drink, drink, drink, use something like endura lite, and plan out the race effort vs the heat.
M: What's your favorite thing about La Ruta/Costa Rica?
Blair: Accomplishment of a tough race. The volcano. The 3rd day since the climbs let you roll with the race giving riders other than the pure climbers a shot.
M: Which year was the hardest?
Blair: Dunno, but 2004 was the only year in 16 where it didn't rain at the top, so I guess we got off easy.
M: How do you deal with the mud down there?
Blair: 2004 had only soupy mud the first day and the last day we were able to grind out the wet mud without too many mechanicals.
M: What races are you doing this year?
Blair: I like to have one main goal to shoot for in a year to test myself on and keep me honest with my fitness. This year it is Cape Epic. I'll do the other big races on the east coast given the opportunity including the Shanendoah 100. I'll do my share of cat 1 / pro crits too, as I love to red line feeling they give and the crowds. I'll do the district road racing in the middle as well, as that's my background.