Weekend Reading: Feeling Pura Vida After La Ruta!

“Pura Vida!” That’s the phrase you hear over and over from kids and grownups as you either zip by or creep past them during La Ruta de los Conquistadores. It’s a Costa Rican saying that literally means “pure life” but is used more as an expression of enjoying life and being happy. It’s a perfect way to describe my recent trip to Costa Rica for the 2013 La Ruta!

CTS Athletes always impress me with their determination and performances, but I was completely blown away by the team of CTS Athletes who conquered La Ruta this year. Athletes coached by CTS won FOUR categories in the race: Pua Mata won the Pro Women’s race, Marconi Duran and Alex Grant went 1-2 in the Pro Men’s race, Manny Prado won the Men 30-39 category, and Alfredo Peralta won the Men 40-49 category!

On top of putting athletes on top of four podiums, every one of the 28 CTS Athletes who started the race finished it. It’s one thing to have a 100% Finishing Rate with five people, but it’s something else to prepare and support 28 people through 3 days of extremely hard mountain biking without anyone dropping out from a mechanical, a crash, or a hydration/nutrition problem. For that I’m proud of the athletes first and foremost, but also I’m proud of the coaches who made sure they were physically and mentally prepared for La Ruta. And I’m proud of the professional support staff we had in Costa Rica for making sure everyone’s bikes, bodies, bellies, and brains were ready for each and every stage of the race.

Photo galleries from La Ruta: Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3.


  • Winter T.H.A.W Package: Train Hard and Win this winter with 3months of coaching, a Kinetic Road Machine 2.0 trainer, and Climbing Series DVD 3pack for $759.
  • 2014 USA Pro Challenge Race Experience: Stay tuned for news from the race early next week. Reserve your spot for this Bucket List event while you can!
  • CTS Triathlon School: Now taking reservations for Tri School! Come when you want, stay as long as you want. Lodging, chef-prepared meals, and dawn-to-dusk training with CTS Coaches!
  • Spring Training Camps: It’s not too early to reserve your spot at a CTS Spring Training Camp in Santa Ynez, Tucson, or Brevard!

Over the years, people have looked at the race support we provide at races like La Ruta, Trans Andes, Dirty Kanza 200, and the Leadville 100 and asked, “What’s so special about having someone there to hand me water?” The effectiveness of CTS Support is proven by the numbers. CTS-supported athletes have beaten the overall finishing rates at every single event we’ve gone to. It’s not about handing someone water. It’s about knowing what an athlete needs to eat, drink, hear, and pay attention to at every step of the journey. It’s about knowing how to keep athletes motivated when they’re struggling and how to keep them going when they’re at the top of their game.

The secret to supporting endurance athletes is realizing that sometimes they are the worst judges of what they actually need. In the midst of competition, athletes are very good at describing how they are feeling or what is happening. They’re like NASCAR drivers who can tell the crew chief how the car is handling on the track. But then the driver trusts the crew chief to make adjustments based on that feedback. That’s what an endurance athlete’s support crew does; we listen to and observe you as you arrive and use a mix of science and experience to get you back out on track with the tools and fuel to perform as well or better than when you came in.

If you’ve never had the opportunity to experience CTS Support at an event, I hope you’ll come to one of our camps or a race like Trans Andes, Dirty Kanza, or the Leadville 100. (The Leadville 100 Lottery opened a few days ago and for those of you who get an entry, CTS will again be on course to support our athletes in 2014.) You should see for yourself how much better you perform when you’re optimally supported.

A week later I’m still riding a “Pura Vida” high from La Ruta, which is why I’ve decided to send all new CTS Coaching signups between now and November 8 some La Ruta swag (two bags of La Ruta coffee, a La Ruta mug, and visor – pic). We’re calling it our “Pura Vida Celebration”. And you can even combine that with our new Winter T.H.A.W Package, which bundles 3 months of coaching with a Kinetic Road Machine 2.0 trainer and a Climbing Series DVD 3-pack for $759.

Congratulations to everyone who raced and finished La Ruta. The full list of CTS Athletes is below.


CTS Athletes who completed La Ruta:

2013 La Ruta de los Conquistadores Champions

Marconi Duran – Winner, Pro Men

Pua Mata – Winner, Pro Women

Manny Prado – Winner, 30-39 Men

Alfredo Peralta – Winner, 40-49 Men


Elites and Age Group Racers

Alex Grant – 2nd Place, Pro Men

Fernando Salazar – 4th, 40-49

Jane Rynbrandt – CTS Pro Coach – 5th, Pro Women

Rick D'Amico – 5th, 50+ Men

Jonathan Carballo – 6th, Pro Men

Harold Afaro – 7th, 40-49 Men

Alvaro Lang – 9th, 40-49 Men

Federico Amador – 11th, 40-49 Men

Rodrigo Herrera – 12th, 30-39 Men

Dennis Porras – 13th, Pro Men

Fernando Riveros – Colombian MTB XC Champion – 15th, Pro Men

Luis Jimenez – 15th, 40-49 Men

Dax Jaikel – 16th, Pro Men


Open Category Racers

April Herring – 8th, Open Women

Mark Stephany – 15th, Open Men

Brad Marshall – 18th, Open Men

Scott Rake – 28th, 40-49 Men

Tab Tollett – 54th, Open Men

Michael Talbert – 70th, Open Men

Chris Carmichael – 71st, Open Men

Ben Swenka – 82nd, Open Men

Mark Seaburg – 148th, Open Men

Faryar Shirzad – 149th, Open Men

Steve Phillips – 159th, Open Men


Have a Great Weekend,
Chris Carmichael
CEO/Head Coach
Carmichael Training Systems

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