• Country

The Titans of the ŠKODA WE LOVE CYCLING TEAM: Meet Taha Ben Zaouia

By Joshua Donaldson

In each race, every single rider has a story to tell. During this year’s Titan Desert, we are charting the journeys of eight racers from all over the world who are tackling the race in Morocco. With a dearth of experience across many terrains, they all have their unique attributes to succeed on the sands.

Here, We Love Cycling speaks to Mohamed Taha Ben Zaouia, a Moroccan, who is just as excited to meet people and share stories as he is about the epic race. He tells We Love Cycling: “This is the first time I will ride 600 kilometres within a week with almost 6,000 metres of elevation, combined with desert temperatures and riding on the sand. “I don’t know exactly what to expect but I will, for sure, meet crazy people and have a lot of stories and anecdotes to share with my family and friends.”

There is no doubt that Taha will have many stories to share as he tackles the ŠKODA Titan Desert for the first time and he is making sure he is well prepared for the adventure. He added: “Preparations have been made for almost 4 months, and I’m mainly focusing on endurance rides with a weekly training averaging 12 hours.

“I try to combine bike, running and some resistance training. There has been no specific training for the desert neither the hot temperature, especially as the preparations were done in the winter season.”

With all this preparation, it is also no surprise to hear that Taha has also been thinking about the many challenges that he will need to overcome on the route if he is to be among those who will complete the six days of racing.

Listing those challenges, he explained: “Riding on the sand, the hot temperature, walks with my bike over my shoulders on top of the dunes, struggling with the navigation stage – those are some challenges that I’m expecting but, for sure, I will be surprised by other challenges that I’m not aware of.

“Having already experienced some marathons, ironmen, and cross country MTB courses, I wanted to get a bigger challenge, so I was excited when I heard that one of the most difficult MTB courses was happening in my own country.”

Taha lists that his biggest achievement is a continuous 200-km bike ride. If he completes this race, this will certainly beat that and then some, and with the months of preparation, we have no doubt that Taha will be crossing the ŠKODA Titan Desert’s finish line and return home to Marrakech with a huge sense of achievement.