Hello again, fellow cycling enthusiasts! Pawel Milkowski here, and I’m back to share the thrilling and unpredictable journey of our Badlands ultracycling race adventure in Spain. In my previous post, I introduced you to our preparation phase and the fantastic 3T Racemax Exploro bikes that were set to be our trusty companions in this grueling race. Now, let’s dive into the race itself, along with a few unforgettable pre-race experiences.
Before the Badlands race even began, Karol and I arrived in Granada three days early. Our goal was to acclimate ourselves to the scorching Spanish heat, ensure our bikes were perfectly tuned, and take a moment to relax before the epic challenge ahead. However, one pre-race adventure deserves special mention.
Conquering Pico Veleta
The day before the race, we embarked on an extraordinary journey – the conquest of Pico Veleta, the longest road climb in Europe, towering at over 3,300 meters above sea level. It was a grueling and challenging climb that truly put our 3T Racemax bikes to the test. Ascending and descending this majestic peak allowed us to familiarize ourselves with the bikes’ capabilities under extreme conditions, and it was an experience we won’t soon forget.
A Sleepless Night and Challenging Weather
Unfortunately, the night before the race, sleep eluded me. The anxiety and anticipation of the race weighed heavily on my mind. As the sun began to rise on the starting day, I couldn’t shake the feeling of unease. It wasn’t the ideal start we had envisioned. However, that wasn’t the only curveball the Badlands race threw our way. The weather on the first day was far from ideal. Heavy rain plagued us for half the day, making the terrain slippery and challenging. To add to the adversity, strong winds carried a relentless stream of sand, creating an additional obstacle for us to contend with. It was a true test of our resilience and determination.
The High-Speed Start
Despite the challenging weather conditions, we joined the top group at the starting line, and the pace was relentless right from the get-go. However, as the race progressed, the combination of the bad weather and my lingering nausea created a disconnection between my body and my brain. It was a challenging situation to navigate.
A Necessary Break
Recognizing that my condition was deteriorating, we made a tough call after the first day. We decided to stop for a quick rest, hoping it would help me recover. Unfortunately, sleep continued to elude me, even though I began to feel slightly better.
Pushing Through the Night
The following day, we pressed on, riding through the night until 3 am when we reached Almeria. It was there that I finally found some much-needed sleep. This brief respite allowed me to regain some strength and clarity.
The Final Push
On the last day of the race, we were determined to make up for lost ground. Starting as far back as 23rd place, we launched into a relentless pursuit of our competitors. Our 3T Racemax bikes proved to be true champions, especially during the challenging gravel descents. The tires provided exceptional grip, allowing us to fly down the terrain with confidence.
Victory on the Horizon
Our tenacity paid off, and we steadily climbed the ranks. With sheer determination, we managed to secure the 10th place, narrowly winning it by just a few minutes at the finish line. It was a heart-pounding conclusion to a race filled with unexpected twists and turns.
The Remarkable Role of Our Bikes
Throughout the race, our 3T Racemax bikes were our steadfast allies. Even during the most treacherous gravel descents, the tires held firm, and the bikes performed flawlessly, allowing us to navigate the challenging terrain with ease.
The Power of Trust and Teamwork
In the world of ultracycling, trust in your partner is invaluable. Karol and I share not only a deep friendship but also an unspoken understanding of how to support each other during the toughest moments. While Karol may have the physical strength, our partnership thrives on teamwork. We complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses seamlessly, relying on trust and cooperation to navigate the challenging terrain. In the Badlands race, where every pedal stroke counts, knowing that we could depend on each other was a game-changer. It’s a testament to the significance of camaraderie and collaboration in the world of cycling, where the bond between teammates can make all the difference in the world.
Our Badlands ultracycling race adventure was an emotional rollercoaster, filled with highs and lows. While the race didn’t go exactly as planned, the experience and the relentless pursuit of our goals were invaluable. We’re incredibly proud of our 10th-place finish, and we owe a significant part of our success to the incredible 3T Racemax Exploro bikes. They proved to be more than up to the task, showcasing their outstanding performance in the most demanding conditions. Thank you for following along on this incredible journey, and stay tuned for more cycling adventures ahead!