The Badlands event, a 780-kilometer self-supported gravel race in Southern Spain, is a formidable challenge known for its grueling conditions. The 2023 edition saw 342 riders from 34 countries, including Tristan Cardew, who overcame extreme weather, physical ailments, and hallucinations to place 11th. His self-filmed documentary offers a raw and intimate glimpse into the harsh realities and triumphant moments of this race.
Cardew’s journey through mountains, deserts, and Europe’s only desert, totaling over 15,000 meters of climbing, is a testament to his resilience and determination. Despite facing torrential rain, scorching heat, and severe stomach issues, he persevered, finishing just a couple of hours behind the first woman, Cynthia Frazier, who set a new record for the event.
This documentary is not just a race recap; it’s an inspiring story of human endurance and the unyielding spirit of a cyclist pushing the limits. Tristan Cardew’s experience in the 2023 Badlands is a powerful reminder of why ultra-endurance cycling is as much about mental fortitude as it is about physical strength.