Gritty, dirty and dusty gravel rides test the mettle – and a rider’s equipment – like no other type of riding. Self-supported endurance races push that challenge to the extreme, and the experience was cranked up to 11 at this year’s inaugural Atlas Mountain Race in Morocco.
On Saturday, 15th February 2020, 190 gravel riders from all around the world lined up for the grand depart in Marrakech. Ahead of them were around 1145km and 20,000m of climbing, unsupported, over some of the toughest terrains on earth, intent on reaching the finish at Sidi Rabat. One of those brave entrants was former professional Christian Meier, aboard his special-edition Mad Max-inspired gravel bike – called the ‘All Terrain Exploration Rig’, or A.T.E.R., which was armed with our premium components, and CeramicSpeed’s well-known high-performance.
We worked with Meier – a Grand Tour veteran and who now runs The Service Course – in 2019 in preparation for what organisers call the ‘world’s premier gravel grinder’, Dirty Kanza. Meier finished 97th out of 870, a fine effort and an interesting experience where the former Canadian national champion put his body, mind and our CeramicSpeed components to the test on a hot and dusty 200-mile gravel test in Kansas.
Now in North Africa, Meier needed every ounce of gravel efficiency in his new Marrakech challenge. That’s why his bike was loaded with our products; the challenging conditions of the race were the perfect scenario for the CeramicSpeed signature durability. The A.T.E.R. is a custom-made Belle Cycle gravel bike, built specifically for the demands of the Atlas Mountain Race. Meier and Barcelona-based painter Kilian Ramirez were inspired by The War Rig from the Mad Max film, to paint his customised gravel bike in a beaten-up, rusty ‘rat bike’ finish, topped off by a skull headbadge.