• Country

A First-Hand Account: Surviving Škoda Adventure, the Toughest Category of the Škoda Titan Desert Morocco

By Frantiska Blazkova

With the Škoda Titan Desert Morocco 2024 now over, we are delighted to bring you an insider ground report from the Škoda Adventure category. We got hold of Albert Guíluz Domènech, a former alpinist and triathlete, and current elite cyclist and overall extreme sports enthusiast, who gave us a primer on what it takes to be an “Adventurer” – to race in the desert for six days nearly unassisted with very few comforts, competing in the most intense version of the Škoda Titan Desert Morocco race.

Albert is a married father of two and an Engineering Manager living in Barcelona, Spain, whose main current focus is “the search of alternative races that involve endurance, self-sufficiency and incredible landscapes.” In this year’s Škoda Adventure, he ended up on the winner’s podium four times, on stages 3 through 6. In the following interview, Albert gave us a peek into the still-very-fresh experience.

How does an Engineering Manager from Barcelona get to extreme sports?

My attraction to extreme sports has been around for a long time. I started as an alpinist at the age of 17. Then I competed in long-distance triathlons for a few years and currently, I’m doing gravel and ultra-cycling. I’m lucky that I work for a company that supports me in this lifestyle. I have a lot of flexibility, and they provided me with a shower at the office, so I can do my workouts while I commute.


Zobrazit příspěvek na Instagramu


Příspěvek sdílený We Love Cycling (@wlcmagazine)

 In your sports career, you tried alpinism, Ironman triathlons, Gravel World Championships, and MTB. Did these help you prepare for the Škoda Adventure?

The Škoda Adventure combines the experiences I acquired over the years in all those disciplines. For example, I have used my alpinism knowledge to optimise my luggage, bivouac setup, and navigation skills. Furthermore, the Škoda Adventure route has a lot of gravel sections where you have to be technically skilled for fast riding. Also, I mounted aero-bars on my MTB, something that I have inherited from my triathlon years, because riding on flats with them feels fast.

Regarding the Škoda Adventure category, what draws you to the most extreme version of the Titan Desert, an already tough race, with minimal comforts and assistance?

So far, I participated in 2023 and 2024. I chose Škoda Adventure because, for me, it’s the purest way of riding a race like this. I feel skilled when the comfort is minimal, so I think it gives me an advantage over other riders. Most of them share the same motivations as me. They look for the most challenging way to live this out.

What was the biggest crisis that you faced so far?

This year, I suffered a UTI 10 days ahead of the Škoda Adventure, and only 5 days before the start, I underwent surgery. I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to finish even one stage because I was still taking antibiotics, but I felt stronger stage by stage and enjoyed each and every moment.


Zobrazit příspěvek na Instagramu


Příspěvek sdílený We Love Cycling (@wlcmagazine)

What is the hardest part of the utter self-reliance of the Škoda Adventure and how do you prepare for it?

Definitely the mechanical self-reliability. The Škoda Adventure demands of you a minimum level of mech skills but you also need to be prudent and not take unnecessary risks. Breaking something could cost you the race.

What would make you end the race? What level of discomfort would be too much for you in the Škoda Adventure?

A mechanical issue that I could not fix. I think that it is the only thing that would force me to drop out.

In terms of discomfort, I think it would be even more interesting if all the “Adventurers” would have to carry all our stuff on the bike instead of a box [transported by the organisers], like a bikepacking event. It would force us to optimise our luggage even more. The organisers should only provide food, water, showers, and the spot for the bivouac. Call me crazy…

You are allowed help only from other Adventurers in the race. What greatest “act of kindness” have you experienced in the Škoda Adventure?

The Škoda Adventure has its ranking, so those of us on top of it take it seriously as a race to win. On the other hand, our classification advocates camaraderie. On stage 4, when riding with the 1st and 2nd riders in the GC, I felt weak due to the antibiotics I was taking. They could have dropped me but instead, we agreed to ride together and get to the finish line. I appreciated that because it allowed me to consolidate my 3rd place in the GC.

Did you get to connect with other Adventurers and even become friends with some of them?

Last year, I participated in the Škoda Adventure for the first time, and I forged strong friendships with some of the riders with whom I shared the 6 stages. This year, two of them repeated the Škoda Adventure category and I had a great time racing against them but also sharing the after-stage time. As the category is limited to a few participants, at the end of the race, we all become friends, the coexistence is so good. There are no professional teams, team strategies or assistance. So, the best is to get along with the rest of the Adventurers.

Is there something you will do differently next year if you take on the Škoda Adventure again?

Not much, I think my strategy this year was correct; pack light, be reliable. I have enjoyed this way of living out the experience of the Škoda Titan Desert Morocco.