Joergen at the Atlas Mountain Race

The Atlas Mountain Race (AMR) is set for its third edition, after being delayed for years during the pandemic, and barring anything catastrophic (knock on wood!), I’ll be on the start line. This won’t be my first time riding the AMR, but that doesn’t detract much from the challenge or adventure. Sure, this time ‘round I’ll have a little bit better lay of the land, but nonetheless it’s still a long way to ride, and in that time anything can happen.

Having been born and raised in a less populated region of the USA, my need for wide open spaces is pretty much engrained at this point in my life. Living in the Netherlands, there is neither wide, open nor space, and Morocco serves as a nearby medicine for my desert-fever. Although called the “Atlas Mountain” Race, the AMR takes place largely in the Anti-Atlas mountain range, a chain of desert-mountains separating the southern part of Morocco and the Sahara desert. Mountains jutting up and out of the flat sandy expanses of the desert are my favourite flavour of mountains, so I’m of course stoked to get back “out there”

Having ridden the AMR previously, but also having ridden bikes in Morocco before that even, I can focus on packing items that will help with previous struggles, snacks, powdered breakfast mix, and electrolytes make up a large percentage of my pack for February and will hopefully help cover shortcomings in 2020. I’ll have a small pile of 50g ISO-drink powder, and several days worth of a Quickstart Breakfast from Andrew Skurka. Food was one of my biggest struggles in 2020, so I’ve taken a few small steps to help delay the struggle, at least.

Among the most important choices is the equipment that is most easily destroyed, and at the same time most important to be able to ride; in other words tires and wheels. Schwalbe dared me to ride a pair of their tires for the race, and after plenty of kilometers “testing” them, I’m keen to put these “Super Ground” tires through their paces. I’ve leaned more towards a more aggressive profile for my tires, I’m slow anyway, but at least this way I can actually enjoy the descents!

I built some Duke Lucky Jack rims with a Hope hub out back and a SON dynamo up front. The SON hub is on its third bike and hasn’t skipped a beat. The Duke rims are light and strong, and just to be sure, I’ll be running a Cushcore insert.

A kLite Ultra MTB setup lights the way and charges my powerbank as I go on. The AMR is a great race for dynamo’s because the average speed is high enough to produce enough electricity to run all the things. The kLite front light pumps out a blinding 1300 lumens and that is supplemented by a 1000 lumen headlamp for those tricky descents where varying speeds and front wheel lock-ups will temporarily turn the dynamo light off… physics is physics!

Nonetheless, the kLite makes it so that a headlamp is nearly optional in a race like this, and in any case lowers the need to kick on a battery light. Rad!