I needed some time to let this adventure sink in.
Badlands did not disappoint.
It was hard and challenging.
The region in southern Spain is beautiful.
The riders at the start line were impressive.
It was tough to find food and water.
It was an unforgettable 750 kilometres (466 mi) ride with 16,000 metres (52,500 ft) of altitude in 60 hours and 42 minutes. It was my first event of this kind and I didn't know what I was getting myself into. It was brutally hot. The course had challenging climbs, but the descents also demanded everything from me.
I saw landscapes that I wouldn't have expected to see in Europe. I learned what my body can endure and where its limits perhaps lie. I’ve never had to push myself to my physical and mental limits as much as I did on Badlands. I've experienced a lot as a professional cyclist, but nothing compares to this. Also, I was also prouder of my performance after this than after any other race.
I didn't win, I didn't manage to do the whole distance at once without sleeping, but I still feel happy.
My respect goes to all the participants because they are all winners. I now know why this type of event has a different vibe than road races – it's about pushing your personal limits and reaching your own goals. I've enjoyed racing and competing with some of the best athletes in this segment.
Gravel is really anything you want it to be!
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Last updated: December 3, 2021
As soon as I was at the start of the race, it was clear: This is something special! The atmosphere was just brilliant and the first kilometers out of town were accompanied by the rising sun with magical light. Everything together made for a little too much motivation, so that I tackled the race too quickly…
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