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The Daily. Monday, August 5th, 2019.

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Mountain Biking Trails, Mountain Biking in Costa Rica, Mountain Biking Destination

In this Daily: A Sense for the Mountain Biking Trails of Las Catalinas

The Las Catalinas Reto was recently announced, a year-long competition that will take place over 22km of town’s mountain biking trails, joining the Las Catalinas TRI as one of town’s two major mountain biking competitions. There are divisions for both local and non-local riders (living more than 25km from Las Catalinas), with awards in each division for women, men, under 15 riders, and teams. 

For those who know the trails well, this is a chance to show off your experience. Newer riders have an opportunity to learn and explore the largest portion of town. No matter what skill level, the Reto is a chance to challenge yourself while getting to know the larger community that loves mountain biking in Costa Rica. 

Mountain Biking Trails, Mountain Biking in Costa Rica, Mountain Biking Destination

Mountain Biking in Costa Rica | A Sense for the Mountain Biking Trails of Las Catalinas

The Reto will be taking place on the multi-use single track trails around town, covering ground from the lowlands around town up through the hills to the coastal cliffs and then down to the beaches and forest on the back of the mountain. 

Within these trails, there’s coverage of two different difficulties, ranging from flow riding along the sides of the hills to the slightly more technical sections over by Punta Guachipelines and Secreto. 

Mountain Biking Trails, Mountain Biking Costa Rica, Mountain Biking Destination

The trailhead is located just a few moments ride from Central and Pura Vida Ride, from which riders can gain elevation via Principal or La Cuesta. Principal offers a gentler ride heading along the hills towards Punta Guachipelines, while La Cuesta is a hard climb straight to the top of the mountain. Newer riders on the trails shouldn’t be discouraged by the initial buy-in climbs, as from the end of both Principal and Guachipelines the majority of trails swoop along the sides of the hills with only moderate elevation change. 

From the hilltop, numerous options present themselves. The trails on Punta Guachipelines present a slightly more technical challenge, and reward riders with panoramic views of the Pacific Coast as they race along the cliffside. From the top of town’s mountain rim, Las Cruces and the first portion of Zapotal heading to McHenry offer smooth rides right at the top of the treeline. 

Zapotal and Secreto each offer longer rides looping down into the nature reserve, featuring long slow downhills and corresponding climbs that lead to the beaches and roads at the very far end of the reserve.

There are exits to the trails via the Zapotal Valley Road and out onto Camino Las Catalinas down in the Southern Highlands, but most riders prefer to return to La Cuesta for a thrilling downhill portion. Covering the buy-in climb but in reverse, this green-level downhill is a welcome reward after a day on the trails, finishing up back at the trailhead and returning to town. 

Cooler weather today and well-packed trails cry out for an afternoon ride. For a first time or for a familiar ride, the best way to get a sense for these trails is to get out and ride them.

Colin Sharpe

Author Colin Sharpe

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