Industry NewsRace

Premier MTB and Gravel Events Acquired by Life Time and Spartan

Acquisitions seen for La Ruta De Los Conquistadores Mountain Bike Race and the Crusher in the Tusher Gravel Race

Its acquisition Thursday it would appear. Today two premier off road endurance cycling events were purchased by large event production companies, continuing a recent trend for off road endurance events.

Life Time events acquire Utah’s Crusher in the Tushar gravel race. The Crusher joins the Life Time family of events including the Leadville Trail 100 MTB, and Leadville Endurance Series, the Chequamegon MTB Festival in Wisconsin, and the Grand Daddy of gravel, the Dirty Kanza.

La Ruta De Los Conquistadores 3 Day MTB race in Costa Rica is perhaps the more intriguing acquisition with the buyer being Spartan Race. This one is particularly interesting as Spartan Race founder, Joe De Sena started out racing XTERRA and IRONMAN triathlon and adventure sport events before determining he wanted something with a more extreme challenge.

Last year Spartan began adding Spartan Trail running events to their repertoire. With the acquisitions of La Ruta one can only wonder if perhaps Joe has an eye toward off road triathlon?

Find the official press releases below:

La Ruta

Storied La Ruta De Los Conquistadores Mountain Bike Race Enters Strategic Partnership with Spartan to Expand the Event and Global Footprint
Acquisition by the World’s Largest Endurance Brand will Grow the Original Multi-Day
MTB Race In Its Home of Costa Rica and Beyond

BOSTON, MASS. (December 5, 2019) – Following the 27th annual La Ruta De Los Conquistadores multi-day mountain bike race, which traverses Costa Rica coast to coast, from Pacific to Atlantic over a three day-period, Spartan and organizers of the historic race have announced a partnership between the two endurance brands. Under the terms of the agreement, Spartan, the world’s largest obstacle race and endurance brand will acquire the La Ruta event and brand, while current founders and organizers Roman and Florencia Urbina will continue to operate the main event. This further marks Spartan’s expansion into new avenues of sport and fitness.

“From the day I set out to follow the steps of the Spanish Conquistadors – Juan de Cavallón, Perafán de Rivera and Juan Vásquez de Coronado more than 27 years ago, La Ruta has organically grown into the event it is today, and we’re excited to work Spartan to continue the tradition while taking the event to the next level,” said Roman Urbina. “Similar to La Ruta, Spartan is an authentic brand that turned into a global movement and we could not ask for a better partnership.”

As part of the acquisition and partnership Spartan will work closely with the La Ruta Founders to bring the format of the three-day adventure Mountain Bike Race, to regions across the world – something the brand is familiar with having grown from one event in Burlington, VT with 700 attendees to a global phenomenon with 250 events on six contents and more than one million annual participants. Future plans will also turn the flagship La Ruta event into a gated championship, with a pre-qualification feeder system through brand’s global events. The 2020 event will be the last with open registration.

The partnership is another move for Spartan to expand and grow its business outside of obstacle course events, as it launched a traditional trail running series in 2019, Spartan Trail, which is expanding across the globe as well.

“As we expand Spartan to all avenues of fitness and endurance sports, mountain biking is a natural fit, and beyond that, La Ruta has built an incredible event that shares our values for grit and determination,” said Spartan founder and CEO Joe De Sena. “Roman and Florencia have created one of the toughest endurance events on the planet, and we can’t wait to share their vision with the world. Much like we did with the introduction of Spartan Trail, we look forward to bring the Spartan community together with La Ruta’s and the global mountain biking community to introduce and grow each through shared passion and experiences.”

La Ruta began when Roman Urbina, an elite Costa Rican athlete and adventurer gathered a group of 17 friends to retrace the steps of the three conquistadores who, in the 1560’s began a 20-year journey through the beautiful and treacherous mountains of Costa Rica. When it was done, Roman emerged more convinced than ever that hard challenges can engender truth, understanding, and self-knowledge that can push anyone to greatness. Determined that such a trip had to be turned into an annual epic event, he created La Ruta and the rest is history.

For more information and to register visit:

With more than 250 events across more than 40 countries on six continents, Spartan is the world’s largest obstacle race (OCR) and endurance brand. Providing transformation through sport, Spartan attracts more than one million annual participants across all fitness levels, from beginners to elite. More than five million participants have finished Spartan events, creating a lifestyle that extends beyond races including health and wellness products, training and nutrition programs, and popular media content, which has made OCR one of the fastest growing sports in the world. Spartan events feature races at various distances, Stadion and Sprint: 3-mile/5-km and 20 Obstacles; Super: 8-mi/13-km and 25 Obstacles; Beast: 13-mi/21-km and 30 Obstacles; and Ultra: 30-mi/50-km and 60 obstacles. Visit for more information and registration.

Crusher in the Tushar

Dearest Crusher,

I write today with news! It’s BIG news. It’s exciting news. It’s good news.

But, before I spill the proverbial frijoles, I want you all to know that this news comes as the culmination of extensive soul-searching, counsel and consensus within our family. It was a decision that was not made in haste and was arrived at with one goal in mind: securing the future and legacy of The Crusher for many years to come.

With that said, can I get a drum-roll please…. It’s with great excitement that I’m proud to announce that Crusher in the Tushar will be joining the Life Time family of events!

I’m sure many of you are already familiar with the Life Time name for their role in producing such venerable events as the Leadville Trail 100 MTB in Colorado, the Chequamegon MTB Festival in Wisconsin, and more recently, the Dirty Kanza in Kansas. And with tremendous pride, the Crusher will join that distinguished list.

Delving into all of the “ins and outs” of the decision making process that went into this would take far too long to do here (I’ll do that soon in a more accommodating format. Stay tuned), but I will offer this: Before arriving at this decision, I was invited by Kimo Seymour, Life Time’s Senior Vice President of Media & Events, out to Colorado shortly after this year’s Crusher to get a feel for how they do things at the Leadville Trail 100 MTB. I went not only to observe, but also to participate in the race itself (my legs still hurt!) to get a feel for how the “rubber meets the road.” While there, I was able to meet Life Time’s Founder and CEO, Bahram Akradi, and I quickly learned he wasn’t in Leadville just to shake hands and kiss babies. He was there chasing his “Big Buckle,” a distinction reserved for those having finished 10 LT100’s, which he did! I also learned that Kimo was racing that weekend to keep his own Leadville streak alive as the current holder for the record of most consecutive finishes under 8 hours, which subsequently now stands at 13.

That said, I had quite a few “takeaways” from Leadville, and the one that stood out the most is that these are people with a true passion for cycling. They don’t just talk the talk. They walk the walk. But, what really cemented the experience for me was seeing firsthand the amount of philanthropic and community enrichment that Life Time initiates within its host communities. These are good people doing good things. The upshot is that I left Leadville knowing that a partnership with Life Time will not only enrich the event for our riders, but it will also enrich the greater community.

I know some of you might be wondering why this partnership and why now? Well, to be perfectly honest, even ol’ Tbird has only so much strength, energy and bandwidth to work with. Don’t get me wrong. The Crusher is what gets me out of bed in the morning, but it also keeps me up plenty of nights, too. I believe this partnership will bring a wealth of experience and resources that will enable the Crusher to march confidently into its second decade on strong legs. To put it another way, it’s akin to that ice-cold Coke hand-up at the top of the Col ‘d Crush that carries you to finish.

Now, before I sign-off here, I want you all to know that the heart and soul of Crusher is here to stay. I’m not going anywhere. I will remain at the helm as Crusher’s Event Director with Mrs. Crusher by my side. We will never forget our humble roots, and rest assured, we will continue to C*R*U*S*H you for years to come. Who knows, I might even be able to get out there and join you on the bike one of these years.

I hope to see you in July!

As ever, -Tbird


Jimmy Archer

Founder and Editor at Jimmy has been a professional athlete for over 18 years as a runner, cyclist, mountain biker, cross country skier, and primarily, triathlete. Jimmy has a degree in exercise science from the University of Colorado and is a USA Triathlon and USA Cycling certified coach. Jimmy became a freelance writer in 2000 while competing and covering the ITU Winter Triathlon World Championship. Since that time Jimmy has been head editor at two magazines, been published in numerous publications within the endurance sport, recreation, and travel segments. Currently Jimmy is competing professionally in off-road multisport. In his spare time Jimmy passionately follows Formula 1, Moto GP, and is an avid cook.

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