The Atlas Mountain Race is rugged and very challenging course through the high Atlas and Anti-Atlas mountains of Morocco. In 2023 230 participants challenged the 830-mile route which featured a leg busting 72,000 ft of climbing. Below is a complete gear list which I pedaled and pushed to 12th place in a time of 5 days. To prepare for this event, I used LW Coaching’s pre-built 12 week 2–5 day bikepacking race training plan. You can get the same 12 week plan for $99 here.
Here is the core of the set up: Canyon Exceed (size L) with Shimano XTR 1×12 with 30T, Fox 34 SC 120mm fork with remote lock-out, Ergon SM Men Team saddle (size M/L), Ergon GS3-Small grips, Profile Design aerobars custom cut to length and tuned with Ergon GXR grips and Ergon CRT Arm Pads, K-Lite Bikepacker Ultra dynamo light, SPOT Tracker, Garmin eTrex 32x GPS, Maxxis Rekon Race 2.4 tires.
- Oveja Negra Bodega frame bag (size L) filled with 1.5 L bladder, body / self care items, small Topeak battery pack for charging phone and MP3 player, Toilet paper, bike repair items, paint stick for mud, Topeak Mountain DA G mini-pump, Passport, AMR brevet card and cash.
- Topeak BackLoader (size 6L) filled with Sportful SuperGiara bib shorts, Sportful Arm Warmers, Sportful Leg warmers, GORE Shake Dry hooded rain jacket, Outdoor Research Helium rain pants cut off mid-calf, Montbell Superior Down Jacket, Buff x2, Sportful warm gloves, Sportful wool socks, CEP compression socks.
- Topeak FastFuel Bag filled with 50 SPF sunscreen, Zinc chapstick, MP3 player, Black Diamond Flare Headlamp
- Topeak TopLoader filled with food
- Topeak FreeLoader x2 filled with food, spare AA and AAA batteries, FinishLine Wet Chain lube, Katadyn BeFree water filter
- Topeak FrontLoader filled with Big Agnes Pluton UL 40º sleeping bag, Big Agnes AXL Air Pillow, Montbell Down Pants, SOL Escape Bivvy. No sleeping pad was carried.
Not picture is a Apidura Hydration pack with a 1.5L bladder + 2 HydraPak UltraFlasks. Total water capacity for my full set up was 6 Liters. I never used or carried more than 3-4L at a time due to the unseasonably cooler temps.
On my body I had a Limar Air Stratos helmet with a Black Diamond headlamp zip tied to it, Sportful SuperGiara jersey and Bibs, Sportful Gel short finger gloves, SockGuy SGX wool socks and Pearl Izumi X-Alp Mesa shoes
Overall everything on this list worked perfectly. Knowing what I know now about the AMR environment and how cold it can truly get at night, I would change a few things. First, I would bring even warmer gloves. While my hands stayed mostly warm, I could be even more comfortable by simply upping the warmth rating of my gloves. I would also consider a switching out the Canyon Exceed hardtail for the 100mm full-suspension Canyon Lux. The course is relentless and choppy. No doubt a fast full-suspension would be more comfortable and faster in the long run. This was proven this year, by the overall winner pedaling a 120mm full-suspension to a winning time just under 4 days.
The Strava file from the race can be viewed at https://www.strava.com/activities/8530830382
Questions or comments on my gear choices or the event? Please post up a comment.