This Collection is the result of a trip to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco made between Christmas and New Year by four friends. The idea was to explore some sections of the Atlas Mountain Race route for 2020, and to stitch them together into something that was achievable for mere mortals — as a holiday — bearing in mind the conditions in December regarding daylight and temperatures.I arrived a little earlier, so there is a nice warm-up ride in and around Marrakesh, followed by the main bulk of the route. We had planned to ride for nine days but only rode eight days of the planned route — after two rear mech breaks, we were forced to take a bus at the end of day 7 and to opt for a flat ride to the finish in Sidi Rabat on day 8.The route is based on the Atlas Mountain Race 2020 (#AMR2020), but cuts out some of its most easterly sections. We also took some cool but accessible alternative routes and shortcuts to the official AMR route. This made it easier for us to find accommodation and made the distances manageable in the shorter winter days and without night riding.There are some very challenging gravel sections in the Collection, so it should not be undertaken without being prepared, but in saying that, there are some good "rescue" points with public transport links, should you need to bail.You'll note that I have left out the planned route(s) from Issafen through to Sidi Rabat, these are public and available on komoot via my profile called:8.1 Issafn to Tafraoute (Long) komoot.com/tour/103253128
8.2 Issafn to Tafraoute (Medium) komoot.com/tour/103253177
8.3 Issafn to Tafraoute (Short) komoot.com/tour/96295969
9 Tafraoute to Sidi Rabat (Short) Road komoot.com/tour/103253420I've also included the singlespeed mayhem of the bail-out ride from Taroudant to Sidi Rabat on the flat, featuring tortoise exploits..
The acclimatisation and cycle tourist day. I arrived ahead of the rest of the group and rode in and around Marrakesh for a couple of days. I really enjoyed the gravel and the views of the mountains on this ride, it was a real contrast to riding through the Medina and the alleyways of the old city, playing with the traffic and being a city cycle tourist.
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The easy day. Here in the Collection is where we started to deviate from the AMR route. We took a recovery day rolling along the quiet main road to Ouarzazate, until getting onto the mud and gravel for the highlight of the day — the road into and stay in Oasis Fint.
The colonial piste day. Virtually the entire ride is spent on a French Colonial era engineered piste, with a gradual gradient, but in places terrible surfaces. There's some hike-a-bike and fun to be had for all! The highlight is basically the entire piste section, up and down. Amazing geology, exposed roads, but don't get carried away and miss the turn to finish the piste before Issafn.
The bail out day. Quickly planned recovery day after having a second bike which needed to be 'single-speeded'. It's flat, the roads are straight and there is lots of sand towards the end when it rejoins the AMR2020 route to the finish in Sidi Rabat. The highlight is reaching the sea, and the beach, do try to catch the sunset.