The inaugural edition of PEdALED Atlas Mountain Race is officially in the books, and after yesterday’s celebration party of finishing the race, most of the riders are somewhere on their way home right now. Everyone with their own stories, experience & different plans for the future, because these four stamps we collected were real heavy!
Here’s my story. This wasn’t only the inaugural AMR in Morocco, for me it was the first ultra-racing experience where i packed my Bombtrack Beyond+ ADV bike with all the necessary stuff for the race (FYI this is my firsts mountain bike i ever had and I received it only two months before the race, so i was more than excited to try it out). I`ve had really little bike-packing experience so far, therefore- lots of heavy decisions on how to complete & pack my bike and my gear, so in the end I went for:
- H+SON Hydra wheels with a TFHPC Dynamo hub up front that powers a Exposure Revo light;
- Eagle 12-speed groupset with a 36T chainring;
- Brooks Cambium C15 saddle;
- Ergon grips;
- Mitas Scylla Tubeless 29 x 2.25” tires, that worked out more than perfect, as i finished my race without any flat tire (the tubeless sealant lived up to it`s name).
- Custom frame bag made with love by the man with golden hands behind PESA Customs;
- Restrap saddle bag and bar bag strapped to the front, plus 2x snack packs from WOHO;
- GoPro HERO8 Black camera to capture my adventure and the amazing landscapes;
- Wahoo ELEMNT Roam to keep me from getting lost;
- Voile Straps to keep everything together;
- HJC FURION 2.0 helmet to keep my head cool’n’safe.
So. All set and ready to go-the weight of my bike&gear before the start was around 28kg (water and snacks included)! Yeah, I know it’s f****** HEAVY, but I’m doing this without any expectations, so lets rock it..
On February 15th, 9:00am more than 180 riders are full of optimism and ready to hit the 1145km fixed route from Marrakesh, through the Moroccan Atlas taking them through the Anti-Atlas and towards Agadir on the Atlantic coast towards the finish!
Day one was fast with smooth tarmac in the beginning, turning into a nice gravel that brought us straight to the highest point of the race – Telouet Pass at 2600m. When I reached the descent part, it was damn rocky and loose, so it was more like an advanced down-hill hiking experience with carrying the precious 28kg of my bike and stuff… After this hell of a descent the CP1 was around the corner- first stamp, first hot meal, first chat with other riders, but the clock doesn’t stop, so neither do I… back on track! Suddenly the daylight was switched off, the temperature drops significantly and it’s time for some warmer clothes. Lights on. I shred it through the night…at some point the romantic dude in me kicks in, as I’ve never seen such a starlit sky (goose-bumps all over my body, might as well be the fatigue talking..). After a bit more than 200km, 14h 21min of moving time and 10’784 calories burned it felt like a perfect time to set up my tent and get some rest! My plan was to sleep 3hours which turned out to be 5hours, so most of the riders were already back on route while I was still stretching my legs in tent- what a shame, I thought…
“Komoot was the route planner for this event and glad they had already on the app the weather forecast that you can see through the course how is going to be, I might have check that 10 times over the morning to see it it was changing a bit. I was confident I would be fine with a merino jersey long sleeves, some bib shorts (obviously haha) and I took a rain jacket for the beginning and then took it off twenty minutes into the event. There was a checkpoint for clothes so in case you where to wet or sweaty you will be able to change yourself. I was excited on that start line it was meant to be an epic day and that’s all I had in my head.
The race started after 9 km through the main road and with a lead car, I was feeling good and I went and tried to stay in the front group for as much as I could. As the first 100km where pretty much uphill and some strong side wind I decided to slow down into the first split, it was a good pace and some nice people around so I stick to them until the strong wind hit me and some uphills so I was not able to continue with that group. Over that the landscape was changing every 10km, some nice rocky hills, a bit of green fluo and some of the multiple river crossings, it was stunning.
As soon as that 100km half way through where approaching I think me and a lot of other riders had in mind that the wind was going to be then, tail wind and also adding the downhill was just the most pleasant time of the day, and yes, there we go after the 4th river crossing a nice descent with some snaking roads, also most of them washed out with the most severe washboarding I have ever experienced, seriously, it was like holding a jackhammer. we touched down to one of the first road sections, but there was a head wind, actually it was head wind all the last 50km, which I spent completely alone. When I knew that the end was coming I put on some music on my phone did the last 20 km with some great tunes and sort of dancing against the wind and completed what it would be one of the most difficult but beautiful races I’ve ever done.
At the Lava venue, everybody was stoked the vibes where hi and people couldn’t believe how stunning this place was, the time is coming already for next year’s one! See you all there…”