Day 3: Taroudant – Tizi-N-Test
Average Speed: 15.4km/h
Before heading for the mountains I needed to hit an ATM and get some more sunscreen so I ended up cycling to parts of Taroudant that I hadn't seen last night since I only stayed in the centre. The town is surrounded by massive walls and palm trees.
The first part of the day was on a flat straight road through fruit farms and a few small villages. A few minutes after I split off the main road in the direction of Tizi-N-Test I noticed a turtle crossing the road in front of me. A motor bike coming from behind scared him into his shell. Luckily he had already made it to the other side so he wont get smashed by a wheel today.
The first few kilometres of Tizi-N-Test are on dirt roads with lots of hairpins. After a while the road conditions improve a lot but towards the top they road turns into a dirt track again with only enough width for 1 car and an open cliff edge to the side. On the open side there are stunning views of the Atlas mountains the whole way up the climb. Since there is a new road linking Taroudant and Marrakech there are very few cars on the road and the majority of traffic is made up of tourists and trucks carrying labourers shouting "Bonjour Monsieur". The gradient isn't too steep and is pretty consistent the whole way up the climb. I put the bike in a low gear and tried to get up the 25-30km slow and steady.
At the top of the climb is a sign with the altitude and some info on when the road was built. Behind the sign is a hotel and the owner Mustafa took my photo there. He asked if I was staying and I considered pressing on since I still had 2 more hours of daylight but staying at 2100 metres altitude looked like an experience that I couldn't miss. The only other guests were 2 Germans, Ralf and Martin, who are driving around Morocco for the week. Tomorrow will begin with a long, fun and freezing descent towards Asni.