Last February, a small group of women took the start in the Atlas Mountain Race, an unsupported single-stage race of 1150 km through the Moroccan Atlas. These ultra races seem all so extreme and out of reach. But are they? What inspired these women to take on such a challenge? And what was the initial spark that motivated them to go bikepacking? Time for a quick update with Quinda, Andrea and Kirsten to learn how they enjoyed the race, what motivated them and why even us ‘mortals’ would be able to go on a bikepacking adventure.

Part 1: Andrea Seiermann, Heidelberg, Germany

How do you look back on yourAMR adventure, has that changed much after almost 6 months? 

AMR feels like lightyears away after only six months. As after most crazy adventures, my memories of the painful and dark moments are fading more quickly than those of the joy and beauty of it. With everything that changed in my life and the world in the last six months, I’m now even more grateful for having had the chance to go on such an incredible adventure.

What would you do differently next time? 

If I ride AMR again, I would put more effort into finding ice cream on the route – riding 1200km with zero ice cream is very sad! On a more serious note: I would of course make a few tweaks to my gear, you always find small things to improve. But more importantly, I would try to be less influenced by what other riders around me are doing and saying. It’s always good to learn from other riders’ experience and knowledge, but it’s more important to listen to yourself and trust your own judgement.

What was your motivation to participate? 

When the announcement for AMR came up, it was exactly the right adventure at the right moment for me. I wanted to explore new landscapes and immediately fell in love with the Atlas Mountains when I saw the race trailer. But I was also looking for a challenge that I could grow and learn from. When I was struggling to keep up training during the winter, another motivation surprisingly came around: on the initial starting list, there were shockingly few women – so I thought I had to make a point in showing that girls can do this, too.

What was your motivation to do your first bikepacking trip?

Before I started road cycling and eventually bikepacking, I was cycle touring in a ‘traditional’ five-pannier setup. I came to bikepacking to bring together the exploration and adventure of touring with the speed of a lighter set-up that also allows you to go further. The attraction of bikepacking to me probably comes down to a sense of freedom and empowerment from being self-sufficient on your bike and constantly surprising yourself by the distances you can cover.

So, now I have no more excuses to stay off the bike so I’ll be heading out, off to the lake 🙂

All the best from Heidelberg, Andrea

Follow Andrea here: @cakenger
All photo’s by Kenton Gilchrist: @blade9films

Read also Kristen’s and Quinda’s story.

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