A Tough Desert Cycling Race: Can You Really Prepare for It?

By Frantiska Blazkova

About 600 km on a bike over six days under the unforgiving Moroccan sun and among constantly shifting Saharan dunes – that’s the gist of the ŠKODA Titan Desert race, bound to take place between 8th and 13th May 2022. If you want to challenge yourself and discover (and probably exhaust) your limits, it is something to look into. However, it’s no ordinary sporting event but one that requires expert insight. That’s why we asked Filip Adel who already went through it once and is readying, if he could share essential pre-race and prep advice with us.

Adel currently races for the Superior Team, is a Vice-Champion of the Czech Republic in MTB Marathon 2021, winner of the Czech Republic MTB Marathon 2020 and a Czech national MTB Marathon member, and many more. Besides the abovementioned Titan Desert, he also took part in the African Cape Epic race, so he knows what a hard day in the saddle looks like – and what not to underestimate while getting ready for it.

As Adel is used to training hard year-round, his physical preparation wasn’t somehow tailored but he highlighted that one must get ready for the pervasive dry Moroccan heat and that it would probably be beneficial to arrive a day or two sooner to acclimatise. “I didn’t have specific preparation, my start was cooked up quite quickly, so I approached it like any other race. I try to keep in high form all year round so that applies to this race as well,” he added. Pertaining to metal preparation, Adel’s stance was clear: “In my case, it’s basically 100% physical preparation. I dare to say that the race will toughen you up mentally but you can’t really prepare for it.”

Roughly one hundred kilometres a day in the desert is no joke even to the matadors of Titan Desert. Luckily, the community of about 700 annual racers is close knit and they don’t shy away from giving advice. What was the most valuable one Adel received? “Probably to do not forget to take sunscreen and eye drops,” he reminisces and adds that while the nights in the huge shared racers’ bivouac are full of support and camaraderie, it’s every biker for themselves during the day. “You can rely on no one during the race. It’s an individuals’ race. If it gets really tough, it’s on the organisers.”

Do not miss our exclusive coverage of the ŠKODA Titan Desert as we will be able to supply you with the freshest news thanks to the on-site support crews in ŠKODA cars and, last but not least, riders like Filip Adel who will be sharing their experience with you day by day.