What inspired you to participate in the Atlas Mountain Race?
I’ve been a dotwatcher of Nelson’s races for a while, and taking part myself is something I’ve always wanted to do. However, it was my friend, Leanne Bentley, who took part last year, who inspired me to give it a go. We rode the last iteration of the Steppenwolf from Berlin together last year and got to chat about it over a few days. So, thanks for the encouragement, Leanne!
How did you prepare yourself physically and mentally for such a challenging race?
I went to the Atlas Mountains last year with a group of friends (coincidentally while the race was happening) where we did some of the route. Here I was able to see how special the landscape is, but also get a good idea of some of the terrain. So, knowing a little bit what to expect has given me a bit of confidence.
Where I live, in Berlin, I’ve been chasing any elevation I can and have also been doing a lot of rides at night, trying to get used to the fact that I’ll be doing a lot riding in darkness. I am starting to appreciate how different it is.
What specific challenges do you anticipate facing during the race, considering the terrain and conditions?
Last time I was in Morocco, I had no mechanical issues at all, and knowing my luck, everything will change in the race. So, I’m trying to mentally and physically prepare for some roadside repairs.
Can you share any strategies or tactics you plan to use during the race?
Eat, eat, eat… Sleep, sleep, sleep.
How do you approach bike setup and gear choices for an endurance event like this?
This is a hard one to find the balance between lightweight and reliability, and I think this time I’ll be leaning more towards the reliability side. Being light is obviously great but means nothing if I’m not moving. So I’ll be bringing some slightly heavier and hardy gear with me.
What role does nutrition play in your race strategy, especially during long, demanding rides?
Food is of course the fuel to keep the wheels turning but also I am excited to try some foods I don’t normally have access to. I’m going to take the Gail Brown approach and bring a small tupperware that I can carry some more substantial and varied food with me and I move.
How do you manage fatigue and stay motivated during such a lengthy race?
This one is a tough one… My secret weapon is hopefully going to that Giant Swan album from last year.
What aspects of the Atlas Mountain Race course are you most excited about?
All of it… Although I might be eating my words later…
And lastly, what’s your bike setup like?
- Frame – Sour Pasta Party, size large , 120mm SiD fork
- Groupset – Shimano XT 1×12
- Wheels – DT Swiss rims laced to a SON 28 dynamo hub up front and Hope Pro 5 hub out back.
- Cockpit – Thomson bars with Ergon GS1 grips and SQ Lab inner bar ends
- Bags – NIB Workshop custom frame bag, Tailfin top tube bag, and Revelate Pronghorn handlebar harness.
- Lighting: kLite MTB dynamo light