Costa Rica Events – February 21st will mark the beginning of the all new four-day enduro stage race – TransCR.
Racers will experience the finest, virtually untouched singletrack that the Costa Rican cloud forest has to offer. “The riding is truly unique. ‘Jungle loam’ is the best way I can describe it,” says Jay Balabas, Race Director. “The trails here are remote and hidden under thick canopies. It’s not the easiest place to access so the trails are always fresh and full of soil. The mountains in the area are tall and dramatic and the trails are steep and long, always carrying a certain amount of unpredictability to them. These are not machine built flow trails, this is raw, rugged and unfiltered singletrack at its finest.”
Course Director, Paulo Valle, has been hard at work over the last few years alongside what he describes as “a small, but stubborn” crew of trail builders developing the network of trails that will be used for the race. “Racers can expect long sweet descents of unspoiled trails with a nice mix of flowy smooth sections with steep technical rooty bits along the way,” say Paulo. “Be ready for some substantial loamy descents! Riders will experience riding at high elevation in the rainforest, which makes for an exceptional riding experience.”
The 4-day race will begin with a prologue and stage lengths will vary from 4 to 30 minutes with 3 to 4 stages per day. Transfers will be a combination of pedaling and shuttling to maximize the doses of daily descending. Costa Rica’s mountains are steep and unrelenting so solid technical riding skills are a must, and racers should also be comfortable with 3-6 hours in the saddle and as much as 1500 meters of climbing in a day.
After experiencing mountain biking around the world from Europe to Sierra Leone, Jay is still drawn back to Costa Rica year after year. “The second I walk off the plane it feels like coming back home.” Jay fell in love with the locals and the culture and designed the TransCR to be able to share this experience with others; “mountain biking is about so much more than your time on the bike, it’s the people you meet, the places you see and seeing the world from a new perspective. I’m really excited to share that with so many people for the first time.”
Aside from the riding the race organizers are most excited to share the basecamp experience. “Providencia is far from what most people associate with Costa Rica. Nestled in one of the most fertile coffee growing valleys in Costa Rica, Providencia is far removed from the usual tourist bustle and gives you a glimpse into a more traditional Costa Rica. The hillsides are littered with coffee plantations and there are no hotels or restaurants in sight, the base camp will be rustic and laid back, ” explains Jay. “Camping and chilling with 100 of your soon to be closest friends. All the necessities and none of the extraneous await; campfires, tents, and genuine ‘Tico’ food.”
Swimming, lounging around basecamp, and reliving the day’s events around the campfire are the off-the-bike activities for this laid back event. Basecamp will remain the same for the entire time, so once racers are settled into their tents, there’s no need to pack up again. Meals, along with a banquet and awards ceremony in San Jose on the last evening, are included – allowing racers to focus solely their experience.
The motivation behind bringing the TransCR to life is two-fold. Jay and Paulo are excited to share the people, the culture and the riding of Costa Rica with the world. But the more personal story behind the event is the inspiration Jay found after a life-changing injury. “Racing has always been an important part of my life; from growing up ski racing to getting into racing bikes later in life. The atmosphere and camaraderie has always been infectious for me. My life changed pretty dramatically in April of 2015, while out riding and camping with friends I overshot a jump and shattered my C4 vertebrae. I was instantly paralyzed from the neck down. I’ve been blessed with an amazing recovery and have been able to walk and ride again. As fortunate as I’ve been, I can’t ride and race like I used to, so the TransCR has been an amazing opportunity to give back to the racing community that has given me so much over the years.”
The event has filled up quickly with a roster that includes, Chris Johnston, Dylan Wolsky, and Ludo May; some of the top international enduro racers. “I’m most looking forward to the adventure. It’s going to be fun to ride new trails, meet new people and embrace the Costa Rican culture. I also hope we get to see some of the wildlife,” says Dylan.
Registration for the event closes on January 27 – don’t miss out! More information about the race can be found on the TransCR website.