2017 Professionals - Brit Hannah Barnes rides with Costa Rica's Milagro Mena
Race registrations are well underway but we still have several professional teams to announce for La Leyenda 2017. One of the most high profile of these is the extremely popular Specialized team, composed of British rider Hannah Barnes and established Costa Rican rider Milagro Mena.
Hannah's based in Fort William, Scotland, at the foot of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK. She only started mountain biking at the age of 20 but quickly fell in love with the sport and began competing professionally in 2008. Hannah has since since ridden all over the world, including in Latin America, in Costa Rica in La Ruta de Conquistadores in 2015 and loves being able to get know new places on her bike, experience the smells and sounds, as well as meeting the locals. We're sure the Colombians will endear themselves to Hannah in the local towns!
"I've never been to Colombia, but it looks fascinating. I can't wait to visit and the bike is the best way to see the country, as well as meet the other racers, try some new food and immerse myself in the culture," said an excited Hannah when asked about coming to Colombia for the first time.
"La Leyenda's already getting a great reputation on the world circuit, so I want to do it sooner rather than later," she added.
Milagro's an established road cyclist from Costa Rica who was also the first female cyclist from her country to qualify for the Olympic Games, participating in Rio de Janeiro last year. She won the Female International Tour of Costa Rica in 2015 and also the Latin American Shimano Short-Track in 2016, also in Costa Rica, so has good experience in demanding events, exactly what is required in La Leyenda.
One of the challenges of La Leyenda is obviously riding with a partner and, interestingly enough, Hannah and Milagro are yet to meet personally. However, they shouldn't worry as this was also the case with several other pairs in La Leyenda 2016 and we're sure their passion for cycling will unite them in their quest for Leyenda glory! It's good to know that Milagro sees this as an advantage, "I've ridden in teams before with men, but this is the first time I'll be riding with another woman and I'm sure together Hannah and I will achieve great things," said Milagro when asked about the team's prospects.
She went on to add, '"I'm sure it'll be a tough race but I always think nothing's impossible and will do my best to enjoy it, in what I've been told is a simply beautiful country."
Both Hannah and Milagro have simple but useful advice for all the amateurs. Hannah says it will be a "suffer fest" at times and highlights the importance of eating and drinking small amounts every 20 to 30 minutes to keep the energy following. Milagro advises racers to take it step by step and keep calm when things go wrong. Both ladies have the same top tip though - "Enjoy it! It'll be one of the best of experiences of your life when you look back," says Hannah!
We're sure Hannah and Milagro will be exchanging messages constantly over the next few months and talking about their training plans, so we look forward to welcoming them to Colombia is just under five months time.