During the Covid pandemic, sales of bikes have risen exponentially, with more and more people seeking the freedom and adventure that cycling brings. Riding our bikes takes us back to days of childhood, gives us the opportunity to explore new challenges and new places. And, if you’re looking for real adventure in spectacular surroundings in the future, then there’s only 1 Trans Alp race.
The Jeroboam Franciacorta 300km is Beauty and the Beast, gravel riding redefined between the shores of lake Iseo and Lake Garda. Spectacular riding and views awaited us, but not without earning them via some hefty climbing.
It’s the final stages of the Atlas Mountain Race in the heat of Morocco. Scott and Mitch have adjusted well, but the riding is tough, thankfully through epic scenery. Follow their riding as they complete one of the toughest bikepacking adventures.
The Cascade de Tizgui sounded idyllic for an early morning food stop, but the river was a trickle and the café not yet open! A few of us had come together by this point, all looking forward to the momentary pause. The way out was a steep hike-a-bike up the access steps, arms feeling almost useless at lugging the loaded bike after days on the trail.
From mountain passes to the sea, following a route far from the tourist trail, discovering the more remote parts of Morocco’s backcountry. The Atlas Mountain Race resonates all the creativity of the minds behind the now infamous Silk Road Mountain Race. As with the SRMR, wise planning and a sense of being able to deal with remote riding would count just as much as physical ability, although the temperatures turned out to be warmer than predicted – a nice bonus.
Yesterday’s journey to my first crack at a UCI Marathon Series started about fifteen years ago, after seeing Miguel Martinez solo to a marathon win on Eurosport, having ditched his punctured back tyre and ‘rimming it’ from about 5km out. I’d been an armchair fan of Cape Epic and loved the footage of the dust covered athletes racing MTB’s in dramatic landscapes. I’m in my fifties. I still want to be that man. Tragic I know.
Over the last thirty five years of cycle racing, I’ve often considered my peers and their contentment at riding the same disciplines, indeed the same races, year in year out. Each to their own and all that, but it’s not for me. It’s probably a Myers-Briggs personality thing. Firstly, I like new experiences; secondly, as a very average amateur athlete, I have never really found a discipline that has offered fame and fortune. Riding the same races over and over again holds little appeal.