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 Kristen 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 3: Quinda Verheul, Rotterdam, Netherlands

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

At first I was reliving every specific moment of the race, it all felt very intense, over time it became more a blur, the pain faded and all I was left with were the giggles on the absurdness, the crazy beautiful sceneries and a collection of new friends.

So while the tough rough bits fade away, it starts to ache to have such an event again, something to train for. 

But we are living in crazy times now so thinking back of the possibility to travel to Morocco or anywhere really by plane without going into quarantine seems strange. Having the AMR as a warm memory in the back of my mind, hoping to soon have better times. 

What would you do differently next time? 

I just thought of bringing Red Bull. Coffee was rarely found in the dessert.

As AMR was my first race there are plenty of things I learned and would change for next time. For example bring a hardtail with suspension fork and more water, also I would rest more especially when I was feeling weak and ill. Let the body recover and trust your own instinct. 

What was your motivation to participate? 

What I had seen of the Silk Road Mountain Race was simply breathtaking and so rough at the same time. I also wanted to do such an event to explore my limits, and while the plan got more serious the trailer of Atlas Mountain Race peaked around. I was then immediately sold and was sure that I wanted to be part of it.

What was your motivation to do your first bikepacking trip?

The love of self-sufficient travel by foot or bike is something I really enjoy. I had done backpacking trips from a young age and in 2017 I had the plan to travel longer around Europe with just a bike. At that time I owned a race bike and placed a rack on the back to be able to carry two panniers. I still regret that choice, but what did I know? That trip turned into a couple of months touring, and not much later I learned about the way more aerodynamic set up, but also all the different choices in bikes and gears. Things got out of hand now didn’t they! To narrow it down all you need is  something rideable and strap some bags on and you are free. 

Quinda

Follow Quinda here: @avoidthevoid
All photo’s by Kenton Gilchrist: @blade9films

Read also Andrea’s and Kristen’s story.