Playing Bag-Tetris with Marc

Marc Pantscharowitsch (@m_psch) is lining up at the Atlas Mountain Race this February and took a moment to fill us in on some of his preparations and planning for the race. Have a read and give him a follow for a inside look at the AMR!

What inspired you to participate in the Atlas Mountain Race?

I’d like to discover new types of landscapes by exploring Northern Africa, which I visited once many years ago. I also wanted to venture into warmer territory during the cold European winter days. Therefore, an adventure in February sounded great. Consequently, a friend and I decided to participate in the Atlas Mountain Race. Having already completed the Silk Road Mountain Race in 2022, I believe Nelson and his team do a fantastic job organizing such events, and I want to continue participating in their Race Circus.

How did you prepare yourself physically and mentally for such a challenging race?

For mental preparation, I can rely on some experience as I’ve raced in similar events before (SRMR, Trans Balkan Race, Alptraum Bike Challenge). To prepare physically, I do regular strength training to stay strong and daily yoga for flexibility and some mental relief. Cycling-specific training is conducted in collaboration with my coach, Daniel Hochleitner.

What specific challenges do you anticipate facing during the race, considering the terrain and conditions?

Dry weather and relatively low temperatures compared to what I am used to from where I live and previous races. Resupply will be a challenge, but especially the water supply will be scarce.

Can you share any strategies or tactics you plan to use during the race?

I somehow try to balance competitive riding with the pure pleasure of an adventure. Riding my bike far every day is great, but I also want to enjoy this trip to Morocco. I think I can do best without stressing out on performance too much and trying to stay calm.

How do you approach bike setup and gear choices for an endurance event like this?

It was difficult to choose between my Sour Purple Haze gravel bike and the Sour Pasta Party hardtail. In the end, I chose comfort over speed to sustain long days in the saddle and opted for the Pasta Party. My goal is to pack as lightly and accessibly as possible. I don’t want to have a heavy bike, nor do I want to struggle too much with Bag-Tetris when handling basics.

What role does nutrition play in your race strategy, especially during long, demanding rides?

This is a relatively important topic for me. I am convinced that performance correlates with the proper amount of the right foods. The good thing is, I have quite a solid stomach. So, I will rely heavily on local food options rather than bringing a lot of sports nutrition with me.

How do you manage fatigue and stay motivated during such a lengthy race?

On the one hand, I am very stubborn, and on the other, I can lose myself in thoughts quite easily. This combination helps me make time fly by (generally). But of course, there will be some low points. Hence, I have my Spotify packed with playlists that my friends curated especially for me to listen to while riding my bike.

What aspects of the Atlas Mountain Race course are you most excited about?

The fact of being down south in Africa is the main highlight itself. The landscape, especially the high contrast between dry desert landscapes and moist green oasis got me hooked.

Have you encountered any unexpected obstacles or difficulties during your training, and how did you overcome them?

Don’t think this was unexpected, but the holiday feast was not really helping to gain fitness ;-). Overcoming is still in progress.

How do you strike a balance between pushing your limits and staying within your capabilities during the race?

I am quite a numbers guy and rely on my power data. Most important for me is trying to focus and staying in the moment.

And lastly, what’s your bike setup like?

This Sour Pasta Party was built by Radplatz Vienna in, you guessed it, Vienna!

  • Frame – Sour Pasta Party, size large with custom graphics and fade!
  • Groupset – SRAM GX Eagle 1×12 with a Truvativ Descendent crankset and Garbaruk cassette.
  • Wheels – Duke rims laced to a SON 28 dynamo hub up front and DT Swiss hub out back.
  • Cockpit – Beast carbon bars and a Ritchey carbon seatpost for extra comfort.
  • Bags – Wit Slingers custom frame bag, Tailfin rack and Tailfin top tube bag, and Revelate Pronghorn handlebar harness.

Below is a selection of photos taken by Marc during his adventure at the Silk Road Mountain Race in 2022, which he did on his Sour Purple Haze, and his Sour Pasta Party that he’s bringing to the Atlas Mountain Race!

Follow Marc’s AMR adventures on his Instagram account, right here!