16 March 2023

Good news: Badlands is back!

Images by Jaunan Barros

September will see the start of one of the hardest and most coveted bikepacking challenges. once again we will be official sponsor of the event.

Badlands is Europe’s wildest off-road backpacking challenge and one of the most coveted by long distance riders, as confirmed by being sold out once again this year. Amongst all the ultracycling events Badlands has a unique attraction. After all it’s not every day that you can pedal for almost 800 kilometres through some of the most remote, picturesque and demanding locations in the continent, such as the wild coast of the Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park, the splendid forests of the Sierra de Huétor and the deserts of Gorafe and Tabernas, the only true deserts in mainland Europe.
The event, created to be a personal challenge and collective adventure, was born from a deep love for the bicycle. With such a premise we couldn’t fail to be involved. In fact we’re back this year as sponsor of the fourth edition, which will be held in September. In 2021 our Rapid Red Carbon, which hadn’t be launched yet, recorded the fastest time in the men’s and women’s categories.

© Juanan Barros

Deserts, forests and windswept coasts: a unique route
Badlands is held in southern Andalusia, an area with demanding natural challenges thanks to its deserts and tough mountain passes. The upcoming edition will start on 3 September 2023, in Granada, with the start and finish line in front of the Alhambra. The riders will have to complete a loop of 800 km with more than 16,000 metres of climbing, unsupported, and guided only by their GPS track file.
The bare stats only tell half the story. The unique landscape that the riders will travel through, 85% of which off road, will provide the rest. As well as all the climbing the race is rendered even more challenging by temperatures that can fluctuate from 0° to 40°C.
A challenge that attracts a growing number of riders from all over the world. The first edition in 2020 saw 116 riders take the start, 193 in 2021 and 281 last year, when the fastest rider to reach the finish line was the German Sebastian Breuer, in just over 43 hours. In the tradition of bikepacking events, there is no prize for the fastest rider, only the honour of being first. After all Badlands is not a race, it’s a personal challenge against the clock and not against other riders.


© Juanan Barros
First rule: leave no trace, apart from (virtuous) footprints
Not only history and nature. Every year Badlands returns to also honour the memory of Mike Hall. The organisers were inspired by the philosophy of the British cyclists, one of the strongest ultracycling riders ever and the pioneer of this sport. They wanted to bring the inspiration behind the birth of the Transcontinental Race, founded by Mike Hall, to the Iberian peninsula. The riders must follow three simple rules above all: self-reliance, no drafting and respect nature. No trace must be left of their passing but only, if possible, virtuous footprints.
This is a fundamental aspect of the race. Cycling and sustainability often go hand in hand, even more so at Badlands with the Rewild project. The aim of the project is to focus on the real environmental impact of events such as these and try to compensate for all those inevitable emissions. How? By investing in concrete activities to leave as inheritance: reforesting, restoring ecosystems and fighting the depopulation of rural areas.
This is why we at Fulcrum were so attracted by Badlands and decided to once again step in as official sponsor. With renewed enthusiasm and by increasing our support we are ready to help the passion and professionalism of the organisers with our products and our philosophy. After all we firmly believe in the evolution of the bicycle, not only as a sport, but as a precious ally in a journey of self-discovery and personal growth.
© Juanan Barros