Bicycle Touring Morocco – Part 2
I decided to take a break from my Morocco bicycle tour and run a marathon in the exotic city of Marrakech. To get to Marrakech from the coast, I had to cycle 190 miles from the small surf town of Taghazout, traversing the incredible Atlas Mountain range. Unfortunately, I drastically underestimated the amount of recovery time I would need after that ride.
Running the Marrakech Marathon
I arrived in Marrakech two days earlier. Now, I find myself toeing the start line at the Marrakech Marathon at 5:45 am.
The starting gun fires, and I am off. It didn’t take long before I realized it was going to be a painfully long day. I was only 2-miles into the 26.2 when my upper thighs were severely cramped. It was so painful, running became impossible. By the third mile, I was in dead last place.
I’ve run dozens of marathons in my life, along with numerous ultra running races. Some up to 100-miles, yet I have never experienced any pain like this in my thighs. It was brutal.
I had a decision to make. I could quit, stop the excruciating pain immediately, return to my hotel and rest, or I could walk the remaining miles. I decided to walk.
Not only did I decide to finish, but I also wanted to do it within the 5-hour and 30-minute cutoff. Which meant I would have to jog occasionally.
The day wore on. I eventually was able to accept the pain. I kept moving as quickly as possible, continually staring at my watch.
It was not a fun day. I’ll spare you the details, but after 5-hours and 24-minutes, I finished the race. It wasn’t pretty, but I got it done.
After the Marrakech Marathon, I needed a day of rest before continuing my Morocco bicycle tour. I spent the day walking and exploring the walled city. I said it before in a previous post, but it’s worth mentioning again. Marrakech is a magical place.
The narrow alleys of Marrakech are endless. With something to see around every corner. There are 1,000’s of shops selling everything imaginable. Food choices range from high-end steakhouses to small food carts, along with everything in between.
While in Marrakech, I got a little adventurous with my food choices. In the main square of Jemaa El-Fna, I tried steamed freshwater snails and lamb brains. In a dim back alley, I discovered the best fish sandwich I had ever eaten. As much as I enjoyed so many new flavor and meals during my stay, I left Marrakech, knowing I barely scratched the surface.
I visited a traditional Moroccan bathhouse called a hamman. Let’s say it was quite an experience.
Bicycle Touring Marrakech to Casablanca
After almost a week in Marrakech, it was time to head back to Casablanca. Roughly a 150-miles, the plan was to break the ride up into three days.
That first day my legs ached, but it felt great to be back on the road bicycle touring. I pedaled along, enjoying the rolling hills of the countryside and
I spent a pleasant night in Ben Guerir and in the morning enjoyed another day of cycling. At the end of that day, I found a hotel room in the bustling town of Settat.
On the final day of my Moroccan bicycle tour, I took it slow. I had been out on the road for over a month. I hated for it to end.
As I merged into the heavy traffic of Casablanca for my final miles, the reality that such a wonderful journey was coming to an end. I wasn’t sad. It was such an amazing experience. The country is remarkably beautiful. The Moroccan people are so warm and kind. They made me feel so welcome in their country. I knew I’d be back.
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