Talking with Louise Kobin|
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
DW: You just won La Ruta for the third year in a row. That’s an amazing feat! How was this year’s win different from the others?
|Photo courtesy of Louise Kobin
|Louise Kobin at La Ruta Conquistadores
LK: I really wanted to try to win three years in a row, but I try not to think about it that way when I go to a race. Anything can happen in a long race like La Ruta, and as long as I race as hard as I can I am happy no matter what place I end up in.
DW: Describe your most memorable moment during this year’s La Ruta race…
LK: Probably riding up the Vulcano Irazu (10,400 feet) on the second day. It is a long climb that starts around 3,000 feet above sea level. It took me 3 hours, 35 minutes and I was passing a lot of other riders and I felt great the whole time. I was trying to beat my time from last year and I did by 10 minutes!!
DW: Do you train specifically to win La Ruta each year? How do you prepare for such a difficult race (Don’t worry—I’m not asking for any training secrets!)
LK: I don't usually train specifically for one race. I just really like riding my bike hard and long no matter what I'm training for. The only thing I start doing a little differenly when training for any stage race, is riding hard a few days in a row. You have to be able to race on tired legs in a stage race.
DW: You broke your arm in Cape Epic, South Africa this year. How did that happen? And how did you bounce back / train to win La Ruta?
LK: I broke my arm about two hrs in to the second day in South Africa. I was racing down a gravel road and my front wheel just washed out going around a corner. I hit my arm really hard. Initially I thought I had just ripped my elbow open so I tried to get up and keep racing, but when I picked up my bike from the ground I felt this crunch in my arm and I couldn't move my elbow.
I had to have emergency surgery in South Africa. That was quite an experience. The surgeon did a great job plating my elbow and I followed my doctor's orders and stayed off my bike for five and a half weeks. Coming back was really no big deal. It took a couple of more weeks getting back on the trails again and I was slow and careful in the beginning. I don't think I lost that much fitness, though, it was probably not a bad thing to take some "forced time off." I was able to win Creampuff 100 two and a half months after my accident, so I feel really lucky with my recovery.
DW: What do you think about when you are doing a 24 hour solo? Are you concentrating on the course the whole time?
LK: I pretty much stay focused the whole time. I try to remember what I need at the pit next time I come through. Like chainlube, food, sunglasses. At the end I try calculating how many more laps I have to do before I'm done...At Whistler this year I was just trying to get through, there were not so many happy thoughts...
DW: What do you do in the winter time—still riding? Any other sports?
LK: I live in California, so I still ride, just not as much. I also try to do some hiking and I like swimming in my off season.
DW: Which is your favorite race and why?
LK: La Ruta and Transrockies. I can't really pick one of the two. Both because the scenery is absolutely amazing. Also, you get to meet so many amazing people at these races. Most everyone is there to have a fun time.
DW: Where is your favorite place to ride for fun?
LK: For fun I go to the Soquel Demonstration forest.
DW: If you stranded on an island, what are three things you would absolutely want with you?
LK: Lots of food, a phone so I could call someone to come and get me and someone fun to hang out with while waiting.
DW: If you and Marla Streb were in a 100-mile mountain bike duel, who would win?
LK: If it was a 100-mile downhill race Marla would definitely win, but I would probably beat her in a regular race.