The Atlas Mountain Race or AMR is a unsupported bikepacking race through Morocco. The AMR will be held for the first time in February 2020 and if you look at the figures and facts of this race, it quickly becomes clear: the AMR is one of the toughest races of its kind!
After all, the Atlas Mountain Race Route leads 1,145 kilometers through Morocco and there is the High Atlas and the Anti-Atlas to overcome! Find out all information about the AMR and the Atlas Mountain Race Route in this article.
Atlas Mountain Race Report – Media, Videos, Podcasts
The Atlas Mountain Race is sure to get comprehensive media coverage as well. For example, there is an official podcast for the Silk Road Mountain Race (same organizer). During the races there were regularly published episodes worth hearing about the race and with background information – I expect something similar with the AMR.
The Official Atlas Mountain Race Video Teaser gives a good impression of the course to be expected:
Atlas Mountain Race Route
The Atlas Mountain Race Route is particularly challenging, with 1,145 kilometres to cover. Starting in Marrakech, then crossing the High Atlas and the Anti Atlas, the destination is a small hostel south of Agadir and right on the Atlantic Ocean. There are three manned checkpoints on the route in Telouet, Aguinane and Ait Mansour. Here the participants have to get their brevet card stamped.
As the race will be held in Morocco in February, expect the competitors to be temperatures of about zero to +30 degrees Celsius. For about 20 000 meters of altitude provides, among other things, the crossing of the High Atlas as well as the Antitlas. The total of 1,145 kilometres of the first edition have to be negotiated on sandy tracks and stony paths. Some of the trails will, according to the official Race Manual, also not be passable. Wearing is then the order of the day.
The organizer of the Atlas Mountain Race is a scene-stealer: Nelson Trees is also the organizer of the Silk Road Mountain Race, considered the toughest bikepacking race in the world.
The organizer himself says about the route, which will route:
“rough, remote and beautiful, with every kilometre well earned. There will sometimes be great distances between resupply points and some walking will be required.”Atlas Mountain Race, Race Manual Issue 0
Three factors are particularly challenging at the track:
- The supply situation: On several sections of the race there are hardly any possibilities to supply oneself with water or food. Participants must therefore have an appropriately large supply of food and water on the bike. Also, the risk of getting food poisoning should be considered and could mean elimination from the race
- The challenging route: From dry stone desert to snow-covered passes, everything is here.
- The temperatures: As mentioned above, the temperatures in Morocco at this time of year are zero to about +30 degrees.
Due to the distances, food and drink have to be transported in larger quantities on the bike. In addition, participants must have appropriate clothing and camping equipment for the rough conditions in Morocco. Considering this, the kit list of many riders is more likely to be medium-heavy than ultra-light.
All this sounds demanding? The finisher party at the Atlas Mountain Race is on the evening of the 8th day after the start of the race 😉 If you want to reach the finisher party, you have to ride at least 143 kilometers and an average of 2,500 meters of altitude per day.
Atlas Mountain Race participants and winners
The Atlas Mountain Race will be held for the first time in 2020. Presumably the race will be very popular even in its first edition. After all, the organizer is a well-known one in the scene: Nelson Trees has already created a legendary race with the Silk Road Mountain Race and knows how to market an event of this class.
This section will be added as soon as the field of participants and the winner of the race is determined.
Atlas Mountain Race Bikes
Let’s take a look at the Atlas Mountain Race participants and their bikes. A race of this nature attracts interesting riders from a variety of backgrounds. In addition, it is always a yardstick and shows what is currently feasible in the bicycle industry. In any case, the race will put drivers and material to the test.
Magnus Heller aka Roadbike.Party rides a standert ground floor
Magnus goes with a Standert ground floor gravel bike. The frame of his bike is made of steel. The fork is a Columbus Futura Cross made of carbon.
His gravel bike should weigh around 9.5 kilos completely and is thus pleasantly light. When it comes to camping equipment, Magnus relies on a bivy backpack and thus also relies on lightweight equipment.
For wheels, the standard is 650b and the width is 47mm. In the race manual the organizer recommended at least 2.0 inch wide tires but Roadbike.Party will rock it 😉
By the way, Magnus has upgraded the bike with the latest Shimano GRX Di2 gears. Bikepacking bags use a mix of Ortlieb Bikepacking bags and Pro Discover Bikepacking bags (top tube bag).
Martin Moschek Rides A Salsa Fargo Ti
Martin rides a Salsa Fargo Ti with 2.25 inch wide Vittoria Mezcal wheels in the Atlas Mountain Race. He put the tires on tubeless in the process. The frame of his Salsa Fargo Ti is made of titanium and for the fork he relies on the Bikepacking carbon fork Salsa Firestarter 110 Deluxe. By the way, his Salsa Fargo Ti replaces the Bombtrack Beyond 1 on him.
Martin put a lot of thought into the 1×12 shifting: In the front he rides a Shimano XT crank (FC-M8000 B1) with 32 teeth. For the expected steep climbs it has a Sunrace 11-50 cassette in the rear. The Road chainring makes it compatible with the Shiftmate 9 to the installed MTB cassette rear. A really interesting build and a great bikepacking bike.
Martin also has a mix of Ortlieb bikepacking bags and the Pro Discover top tube bag on his bike.
Check out his very readable blog post to learn even more about his Salsa Fargo kit for the Pedaled Atlas Mountain Race.
Tobias Koepplinger rides with Martin as a pair and also has a Salsa Fargo
Tobias Koepplinger rides as a pair with Martin Moschek. Together, the two are Cap 214. Accordingly, there’s sure to be plenty to admire from the pair during the race under the hashtags #AMR2020cap214A and #AMR2020cap214B.
While Martin is mostly using Ortlieb bikepacking bags at the start, Tobi relies on a combination of Apidura frame bag and Ortlieb Seat Pack. The handlebar caster also appears to be from Ortlieb and his top tube bag is from Pro Discover.
Tobi’s Salsa Fargo is made of Aluminim and probably doesn’t have the new carbon fork Salsa Firestarter 110 Deluxe installed yet. He probably rides with a rigid aluminium fork. I have not yet been able to find out exactly what equipment his bike has.
Check out Tobi’s Instagram profile for yourself and get an idea of his bike.
Torsten Frank rides a Rose Thrill Hill XC Full Suspension Mountain Bike
Torsten Frank has bought a new bike especially for the Pedaled Atlas Mountain Race and goes (or rides) interesting ways: His choice is a Rose Thrill Hill Cross Country Fully with 100mm travel..
With this full MTB he should be safe and comfortable at the Atlas Mountain Race: In the front he has a Fox Float 32 Step-Cast Factory fork and in the rear a Fox Float DPS Factory shock with 100mm travel each. The tires used are Maxxis Ikon Skinwall EXO TR 3C with 29×2.2 inches. The total weight of the bike should probably be around 11.8 kilos. For an XC Fully, the weight is absolutely fine.
In his very detailed blog post on trank.de – the blog he explains more thoughts on bike selection and what bikepacking specific adjustments he made to the bike.
Nico rides a Squidbikes Gravtron prototype
More fancy Atlas Mountain Race Bikes
View this post on Instagram
Nostalgia! As I’m preparing for @atlasmountainrace, I took some time today to look back on my various bikepacking rigs over the years. I like thinking back on what worked well, what didn’t work, and what might work in the future. Here are a few bike and bag setups that have served me well over the years, but it is by no means exhaustive. Soma Wolverine! My first ‘gravel’ bike and my intro to bikepacking. The good: capable bike, Viscacha saddlebag is great, and I learned a lot with this rig. The bad: slow, heavy frame, road gearing was limiting, not great tire clearance. Fat bike: This was a demo bike for a short overnighter with a friend last winter (thanks @projectbikebend ). I’ve never owned a fat bike but want to pick one up this winter. The bad: my water froze. Next time no bottles. This is essentially what I rode at @silkroadmountainrace in 2018. The good: Cutthroat is amazing. Super low gearing (32×11-46). The bad: framebag was awful (zippers broke, pocket delaminated), flippy pads on the aerobars were annoying, Salsa Cradle was too heavy Iberica Traversa 2019 setup. The good: PD Carbon aerobars. DCF Framebag. Ethirteen 9-46 cassette! Dynamo wheel & light setup. The bad: Feedbag placement, Anything Cages didn’t get used, Egress pocket sagged. Custom bike: basically a titanium Cutthroat with some tweaks. The Cutthroat had some pretty ugly gouges in it after IT, so I splurged for this. The good: TITANIUM. Switched to a Pika saddlebag as my gear got smaller and more dialed. Fork mounted water bottles. The bad: Salsa top-tube bag didn’t hold up. Current setup! The good: new MagTank bolt-on top tube bag. @cushcore The bad: RaceKing Protection tires leak air and I can’t seem to get them to seal. At first I thought it was something to do with the CushCore, but it turns out that the tires are full of pinholes that just will NOT SEAL even with 6+oz of sealant…. So I’ll be switching back to Maxxis Ikons for #amr2020
Atlas Mountain Race Registration
The interest in the Atlas Mountain Race is already high at the first edition. As mentioned, the organizer also hosts the Silk Road Mountain Race. So there is a justifiably high expectation for the race. In addition, the organiser has a wealth of marketing experience and can draw on a network of contacts and sponsors.
Atlas Mountain Race Registration: The Atlas Mountain Race does not admit everyone! All interested parties must go through an extensive application process. First you may read the Atlas Mountain Race – Race Manual (Instructions). The document describes the rules of the bikepacking race.
An online questionnaire then asks detailed questions about the Atlas Mountain Race and bikepacking expedition experience.
For example, it queries:
- Motivation questions
- Experience in (high) mountains as well as in lonely areas with unclear supply situation
With the questions you want to make clear to the participants what you are getting into. With the answers the organizer probably wants to make a certain preselection among the participants.
All entries will be carefully reviewed and lucky riders will be notified by the organizer via email.
Atlas Mountain Race registration opens in the third quarter of the year. All interested parties should monitor the AMR’s website and its social media channels.