The first edition of the PEdALED Atlas Mountain Race, which kicks off on 15th February, will follow a 1145 kilometre route through Morocco, with roughly 20,000 meters of climbing. It will take riders from Marrakech to Sidi Rabat, a village south of Agadir on the Atlantic coast.
The route winds its way through the remote mountain landscapes of the Atlas and Anti-Atlas mountains. Riders will need to get a stamp in their brevet cards at each of the three staffed checkpoints at Telouet, Aguinane and Ait Mansour before reaching the finish line.
The race takes place essentially entirely on unpaved roads where possible. It's rough, remote and beautiful, with every kilometre well earned. There will sometimes be great distances between resupply points and some walking will be required.
Experiencing the incredible landscapes of the Moroccan Atlas as well as the warmth and hospitality of its people will surely be an experience that will leave a lasting impression on anyone who takes part.
Find out more at atlasmountainrace.cc.
The race will again begin in Marrakech, at the Hotel Mogador Kasbah and Spa. this is the same location where registration will also take place. Located in the Southeast of …
After leaving CP1 behind, riders will head east on a short section of tarmac before going off road again as they make their way through red earth villages near Anmiter. They’ll then head into the foothills of the Atlas and past Ouarzazate’s impressive solar power station. A man-made beacon that can be seen from miles around.
Once they reach the main road near Imassine, they'll be able to restock on supplies and maybe have a hot meal at one of the restaurants at the crossroads.
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This next section is wild and remote, and stunningly beautiful. For SRMR veterans, there is even a river crossing! There will be some pushing to make it up to the summit of the plateau but once up there, it's well worth the effort. This old colonial piste, built atop a network of canyons is sure to be one of the highlights of the race.
Past Afra, the going gets a bit easier in terms of elevation, with the route finding its way through a network of disjointed tracks among the hills. It's sandy at times but generally rideable. Eventually, riders will reach the waterfall at Tizgui and its permanent resident, Omar. He’ll certainly invite everyone for tea in this little oasis, lost in the Moroccan hills. If you call ahead, he can actually have some food prepared too but you'll likely lose a lot of time as it is prepared...
The route then briefly re-joins the main road (the other option was around 20km of hike-a-bike…), riders will be able to resupply at Ait Saoun before heading back into the mountains for the next remote stretch to Tazknakht. It’s all dusty pistes and endless mountain vistas during this section of the race.
Taznakht is one of the bigger towns on route, there are guest houses and restaurants and shops; everything you’ll need to refresh before heading back out onto the piste. Riders will then continue west, taking detours to avoid the main road and find more unspoilt back country gravel tracks.
They will then head south, eventually reaching Aguinane, a palmery hidden in an enclosed valley. The road down into the village is another highlight of the route. You’ll certainly be happy that you’re heading down rather than up, this vertiginous path. It’s technically a paved road in places, although the rough concrete surface may have you wishing you were back on gravel. We will change the exact location of the Checkpoint but it will be at one of the local guesthouses in the valley.
On their way out of Aguinane valley, riders will be treated to a short stretch of tarmac before heading off-road once more. The piste gets rough here and there will …
After Issafen, riders head into another remote section, there is also very little resupply in this whole area. Do treat this section with caution and make sure you don’t get caught short with supplies. It will take longer than expected.
When you do finally make it through, you’ll come out in the Ait Mansour palmery, another green oasis in a land of arid rock and stone. We have moved the Checkpoint from the actual palmery, on to Tafraoute, the nearest town with more amenities for a proper resupply. We have yet to choose the exact location of the Checkpoint but it will be at one of the hotels in town.
After Tafraoute, riders will have some relatively long sections of tarmac that will speed things up, before being sent off on some pistes that have been paved with concrete. Again, …