Got La Ruta in Ya?

  • By
  • Published Feb. 18, 2010
  • Updated Dec. 7, 2012 at 11:53 AM EDT

The La Ruta de los Conquistadores starts on Costa Rica's Pacific shore and finishes on the country's Caribbean coast some 390 kilometers later. Photo by J. Andrés Vargas – Lead Adventure Media

Carmichael Training Systems has found success in recent years with luxury training camps, where amateur racers buy multi-day trips in scenic locals with the hands-on advice of experts.

This year, company founder Chris Carmichael is going big, and getting in on the fun himself, with a multi-month training camp that concludes with racing La Ruta de los Conquistadores, the brutally challenging mountain bike stage race in Costa Rica.

“I’m turning 50 this year, our company is celebrating its 10th anniversary, and doing La Ruta seemed like a good way to celebrate,” Carmichael said.

La Ruta is a four-day slugfest through the mountainous jungle. Many riders take more than 9 hours to finish some stages, and cumulative climbing some days hits 15,000 feet. Some of the course is on pavement, but much is on dirt. Or at least the off-road trails are dirt when it’s dry. In past editions, thick mud forced many riders to forge along on foot, and many a drivetrain took a beating.

CTS is selling 10 slots into the La Ruta package for $10,000. But money alone won’t get you in — you have to be selected, too. CTS expects more applicants than it has open slots, so the coaching company will be screening applications and will then request that finalists submit a video application.

For those with the legs and the wallet to make the cut, CTS has seven months of training, a bike fit, a recon camp to Costa Rica with 2009 La Ruta winner Manny Prado, two camps in Colorado Springs, full support at the race and more.

The first camp includes lactate threshold and VO2 Max testing, nutritional analysis, a 3D bike fit and a lot of riding. The second camp focuses on longer rides and skill building for climbing and descending technique. And the 6-day trip to Costa Rica will put riders on most of the course for reconnaissance, plus include all accommodations, meals, massage, etc.

Find out more at

FILED UNDER: La Ruta de los Conquistadores / MTB / News TAGS: / /

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