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One week, one bike, one girl – Atlas Mountain Race

Quinda

One week, one bike, one girl – Atlas Mountain Race

Mountain Biking Collection by Quinda

10

Tours

76:25 h

754 mi

57,725 ft

Months have passed already since I made it to the finish in Sidi Rabat after cycling 1145 kilometres (711 miles) through the enchanted desert landscape of Morocco, part of the inaugural Atlas Mountain Race. There, I did it; my first ultra race with endless curves through the remarkable dusty terrain of the Moroccan mountains.

In preparation for the Atlas Mountain Race I was pretty sure that I had no idea what I’d be throwing myself into. I often found myself dreaming through all possible scenarios; preparing for the worst and thinking the days would be so long, yet in reality learnt the contrary, days felt short, the nights long and overall it was over in a fart! While thinking back to the memories I feel like I never find enough words to describe the experiences.

As the days to the start of the race came more close I found myself becoming hesitant. Did I come prepared enough, had I spent enough hours on the bike and would my skills get me through the rough terrain? Meeting other racers got me all wobbly thinking everyone seemed so cool, well prepared, yet so kind and apparently with similar concerns, how odd! It was easy to make new friends and felt quickly at home in this new community of strangers, that all have one thing in common; riding bikes.

To use Carrie’s phrase from ‘Sex and the City’; “I couldn’t help but wonder… could I have done better?” What if I didn’t have my period? What if I allowed myself to rest longer? What would the race look like if... But then again, isn’t that silly?

In all honesty I prefer to look back and feel nothing but grateful. It’s important to be content with any achievement, to be proud of this accomplishment and finishing within the time. Riding among so many strong other riders, encountering beautiful souls and being surrounded by such magnificent scenery is a treat in itself. Having the chance to do this in the first place is something to feel grateful about.

Now, if this Collection gets you so stoked to ride this route, but perhaps at a different pace and enjoy the riding to the fullest, then I do have some additional suggestions to get you the right set-up. For example as we discussed among us riders, would you take a mountain bike next time? Although I might have been stubborn to answer that with a no, because I am so in love with my bike and don’t want to regret that choice, if someone asked me again I’d say, you will be much more comfortable and enjoying the descents even better with a mountain bike! The timing was great as the winter had just passed, sleeping under the stars was great, and had my best night’s rest in the middle of nowhere on the soft sandy ground surrounded by thousands of stars. I’m also really glad I took my down pants. That way when I got so tired and very cold on long descents I could just ride in my sleep system.

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Atlas Mountain Race

720 mi

54,575 ft

55,950 ft

Last updated: December 8, 2021

Tours & Highlights

  • Marrakech prologue to Decathlon — Atlas Mountain Race

    00:55
    13.6 mi
    14.9 mph
    200 ft
    200 ft

    It wasn't my first time Morocco, nor my first time in the vibrant Marrakech. I had a long list of things to check out, hidden gems of galleries, small collabs and non-profit organisations that all make this world a better place.

    

    Though this time, I was hiding from the noisy, polluted streets and preferred

    by Quinda

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  • 124 mi
    -- mph
    14,650 ft
    11,200 ft

    It’s day one, close to 9 am and we are all waiting for Nelson Trees to give the sign, I’m among something like 180 participants that all seem to be just as nervous as I am. While there well aware, what little I knew about ultra races, although with as much prep as possible, there will inevitably be surprises

    by Quinda

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  • 14:12
    101 mi
    7.1 mph
    8,675 ft
    7,875 ft

    I couldn't catch much sleep overnight so I decided to start the second day early and ride into the darkness. The road was bumpy and sandy, and I was clinging to my handlebars more than I should, yet the bike was now my best friend and all the comfort I had.

    

    The second day was not my strongest as I got

    by Quinda

  • 12:40
    114 mi
    9.0 mph
    6,650 ft
    8,275 ft

    The stars were still out when I set off on day three. I ran out of water and felt thirsty while riding the next section. I recommend that you bring enough water and wait for sunrise to descend through the canyon. It's supposed to be beautiful but the only things I saw were the rocks on the road and the

    by Quinda

  • 10:10
    88.0 mi
    8.7 mph
    5,325 ft
    4,075 ft

    After Tazenakht the next stop is Cafe Ateman. I felt uncomfortable at the hotel, slept maybe for just an hour and took off again, with a little fear for dogs, but with enough energy riding the tarmac in the dark until dehydration symptoms presented themselves, forcing me to take another rest next to

    by Quinda

  • 02:39
    17.6 mi
    6.7 mph
    875 ft
    2,750 ft

    The memories of days 3, 4 and 5 are a blur, I’m not sure when or what happened exactly. The sun rose, set, days passed by, filled with dust, rocks and sand. Omelettes were eaten, dogs were chased or did they chase me? Memories of endless horizons, skies with a smiling galaxy and canyons full of lush

    by Quinda

  • 13:02
    94.6 mi
    7.3 mph
    8,000 ft
    7,300 ft

    I slept like a baby for 8 hours on the soft sand after getting food at the town, and started the day at sunrise while heading towards the colonial road. This beautiful hand-made road has a stunning view, but it was a challenge as the road is rough and steep.

    

    If you're heading this way, make sure you take

    by Quinda

  • 08:28
    75.3 mi
    8.9 mph
    3,600 ft
    4,150 ft

    On this section, I'd climbed out of the oasis riding beautiful trails and to get on a long tarmac stretch. This section is definitely challenging as there are no resupply points until Tagmout and it can get very hot and a bit boring too.

    

    Bring company, good music, enough to drink and make a stop in the

    by Quinda

  • 06:36
    59.1 mi
    8.9 mph
    5,925 ft
    7,050 ft

    My plan today was a mix of allowing many picnic stops and pushing on to the finish. Although ahead were plenty of climbs, which isn't exactly my strongest skill, the scenery was stunning, with several different landscapes including fields filled with cacti.

    

    It was the last night ride. The sun set and

    by Quinda

  • 07:44
    66.2 mi
    8.6 mph
    3,875 ft
    6,750 ft

    With love, care, and lots of bananas from the mosque (they were beyond generous and we stocked up) I was heading towards the ocean. The landscape changed from the red-coloured sand for dark and white rock formations, trees with climbing goats and fields with cactus fruits.

    

    I climbed the mountains of Souss

    by Quinda

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Questions and Comments

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    10
  • Distance
    754 mi
  • Duration
    76:25 h
  • Elevation
    57,725 ft

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One week, one bike, one girl – Atlas Mountain Race

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