As Chris Carmichael, a few CTS Coaches, and 10 CTS Athletes gather in Costa Rica for the start of the La Ruta de los Conquistadores mountain bike race, it seems like a good time to get some insight into the challenge that lays before them. Check out this overview that Dain Zaffke posted over at Bikemag.com
La Ruta de los Conquistadores—the epic stage race across Costa Rica—is set to start in just a few days and endurance junkies across the globe are getting nervous. The four-day event packs a punch with nearly 12,000-meters of climbing in about 250 miles. That doesn’t sound so bad, right? After all, everyone knows that La Ruta is mostly run at sea level on a bunch of fire roads. Right?
Well, not quite. That’s 12,000-meters of climbing, not feet. The first stage alone boasts nearly 14,000 feet of climbing. And a large chunk of that elevation gain is achieved by scampering up slopes too muddy and too steep to ride as the course goes straight up the gut of a tropical rainforest. In between these climbs are impossibly steep, slippery descents that send high-posters off trail and into the palm trees, and then there are long stretches of flat fireroad on river rock with the consistency of stone baseballs. It’s too much climbing, too much flat ground and so much descending that your arms hurt worse than your legs. And that’s just day one.