Hors Catégorie rider Stuart Dun has been cycling through the Moroccan desert on the inaugural Atlas Mountain Race. Here’s what he had to say...

The Atlas Mountain Race is a 1145km unsupported bike packing race starting in Marrakesh with 20,000m of climbing over the High Atlas and then through the Anti Atlas to finish up in Sidi Rbat on the coast.

The first day I found to be the hardest 12 hours I had spent on a bike, climbing 3,140m topping out at 2,500m to get over Telouet Pass and then hike a bike down the other side to the first checkpoint. …

The Tuscany Trail is a 543 km (9000m elevation) self-supported bike packing route from North to South of Tuscany.

Starting in Massa, it traverses across some of the region’s most scenic tourist hotspots such as Lucca, Florence and Siena, before finishing down on the coast in Capalbio.

The route is mostly off-road and varied to say the least — incorporating single track, the infamous strade bianche white gravel roads, vineyards and as it turned out, includes some serious climbing and technical descents.


Never having done a multi-day bike packing event before I was unsure of what to expect, but was looking forward to cycling around the Tuscan countryside with the sun on my back and tasting the delicacies the region has to offer. …

When you work in a communications type role (by this I mean, a role where you utilise social and traditional media channels as part of your employment) scrolling through various tweets, Facebook and insta posts can become a chore and a bore. It is work and something you have to do therefore it becomes forced and less ‘fun’.

I have multiple accounts and handles or avatars that require constant switching between. The odd post under the wrong identity occasionally happens as a result. And I am paranoid about this happening (no one wants to post a selfie of themselves in the beach from a work account, or worse).

In the past I’ve used Hootsuite to track activity across all channels on a handy dashboard of ever updating live information, but I found combining personal with work accounts distracting, and led to spending too much time looking at friends’ posts when I was supposed to be monitoring political news and current affairs (as that’s my job). …


Katie Turbitt

Public affairs and policy. Cycling enthusiast and part-time racer. Rider with Hors Catégorie CC. Lives in Scotland.

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