I know it's been a few weeks since I last wrote. ; )
It was this time last month when I sent the last issue, a week later I flew out to Marrakesh and started the Atlas Mountain Race (more about that below!). It took me nearly 7 days to complete it and two days after that, I flew to Florida for my 11th trip there. There I stay carfree & ride the #Terncouch all over. Whew!
After a long week in Florida, on the heels of such a gnarly ultra-endurance race in the desert and albeit successfully working remotely as I do each time, when I arrived back in Amsterdam a week ago: I had lots of catching up to do!
The whole Twotone team has been bustling on all fronts the past 4 weeks. We were also preparing for two big events here in The Netherlands & Germany. The one in Germany (at the same time & location of the now canceled Cycling World Düsseldorf), has now, due to the developments related to the Coronavirus, also been cancelled.
Our Dutch event will be much smaller and literally in the middle of a forrest. So, we're still doing it & I can tell you more about it next week! :D
What I'm trying to say is: despite the brutal race, airports, timezones, and deadline after deadline, I'm grateful to feel fine. : ) I think after adventures, travels and challenges like I've had in the past month, its easy to agree: there's no wealth like health! (hat tip Rob Quirk for the rhyme, though he attributed it to Adeline of Mercredi Bikes. Bummed not to see you both soon at Bespoked – yet another cancelled event on the the calendar)
As always, thank you for reading,
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Atlas Mountain Race Recaps
Both the imagery & editorial opportunity are courtesy of @stefanhaehnel.
Before I left for Morocco, Sara Luijters of Amsterdam daily paper Het Parool, interviewed Kristy & me about races like Silk Road and Atlas, the reasons why and what, back in Kyrgyzstan in 2018, made me cry.
The article is in Dutch but can google translated or done via DeepL.
I really liked Lian's sentiment here and it inspired my personal interpretation for my Radavist article above.
11 More Atlas Mountain angles from around the web:
- Marc Lehman & Alexander Bethge of Team Terrible Heaven penned this riveting account for Granfondo Mag
- Tom Jamieson's Atlas Mountain Race Photo Essay on the Brooks England blog
- Will Armitage recounts overcoming adversity to complete the race.
- Christian Meier led the race out the gate. He describes his race effort here.
- Ondřej from Chimp Bars has been posting great highlights
- Jenny Tough's reflections, like this one, have been supurb.
- All of Jackie's recent posts have chronicled her experiences out there. They're entertaining but also candidly convey the sheer struggle she, and all racers, faced to complete the race.
- Check out Chiara's drawings from the race. I love these!
- Stephen Fitzgerald of rodeo-labs.com has shared some wonderful stories and beautiful photos.
- My friend Stefano did the official podcast, reach it via the link in his bio.
- Of course, the #AMR2020 tag is rife with inspiration & awe-inspiring images.
My friend Hagbard aka Robert Krügel made it to Kolektif a few weeks ago (while I was in Florida) and shared highlights of, in my opinion, a very worthy successor to the Berliner Fahhradschau. Wish I coulda joined!
Twotone interviewed some well-known cyclists from around the world to learn about how they prepare for the warmer riding season ahead during these colder months.
Ampler Bikes expands service partner network in Germany with The Netherlands & Switzerland on the horizon
Ampler Bikes is matching consumer demand by expanding its service partner program. We're excited to be helping them partner with some local Amsterdam shops next!
There was a special stop on the route of the race that lead you off the main road, well gravel village road, into a dried river bed ravine. At night, it seemed insane to expect that in a few hundred meters, according to the race manual, that a man named Omar may be waiting with tea and perhaps food.
The instructions were to text him. I was riding with a few other racers as the sun set. We sent the number listed as Omar's a heads up that we were coming. No reply.
Ultimately, others in our rag tag & momentary peloton hesitated at the mouth of the gorge. I stubbornly charged on with a Portuguese racer and Michiel Rotgans' (who had scratched) partner, Pierre. Pierre was in disbelief & dead-set on not missing Omar. He turned back.
Stumbling over rocks in the dark, my fellow racer from Portugal saw the candles first. Amazing! In what seemed similar to the hut that Yoda taught Luke how to use the force in on Dagobah; a waterfall oasis existed here. I even spotted a bight yellow frog somehow transplanted, it seemed, from the Amazon.
Omar treated us to tea, stories and music. The music, I later learned, was from Tinariwen and the song I recorded him playing was Amassakoul 'n' Tenere. The lyrics are below. I read them a few days after the race and they kinda blew my mind.
Other racers finally arrived, slammed a tea and carried on. I took my time and refuelled on food I had with me, tea, more tea and even coffee. After that, I rode through the entire night. It was surreal.
I'll never forget the (extra) time I spent at Omar's!