Badlands is a race with a capital G, a race that Mattia De Marchi won in 2021 riding a 3T equipped with Miss Grape bags. For the uninitiated, the route starts in Granada and crosses Europe's only desert. The Badlands formula is that of autonomous ultra-cycling, i.e. without support. The setting is Andalusia, Spain, with a backdrop of mountain ranges and deserts, reminiscent at times of the Rocky Mountains. A 760 km route with more than 16,000 metres of altitude difference that crosses the desert areas of Gorafe, Tabernas and Cabo de Gata, and climbs the highest pass in Europe (Pico de Veleta, 3,350 m). The first, in 2020, was won by a certain Lachlan Morton in 43 hours and change. Everyone else, from the second onwards, took at least 60 hours.
In this 2021 Mattia finished it in 45 hours and 53 minutes.
With him a series of Miss Grape bags that are also his general favourites.
"I used the Node 2Hwhich is housed on the top tube of the frame. It has two holes underneath and is only mounted (screwed) on frames that have the two-bolt mounting holes on the top tube. Small and compact, it is the bag that NEVER leaves my bike.
On the handlebars, not one but two bags, two small Buds. The Bud is attached between the handlebar bar and the stem by means of two Velcro straps and fixed to the fork head with a strap, so that the bag is stable. It has a light padding that not only protects the contents from minor impacts, but also acts as thermal insulation. It is suitable for carrying those small items that always need to be at hand, such as your camera or phone, but also for small snacks that are easy to reach even while cycling. It can be used individually or in pairs, placing them to the right and left of the handlebar stem. On the outside, there are two convenient nets that form two storage pockets. No more and no less than you really need.
The Internode FF Custom is the frame bag par excellence. Capacious thanks to the two possible litres, it is also extremely durable and designed not only for long journeys, but also for day trips and for those who use the bike daily as a means of urban transport. Placing the luggage in the middle of the bike improves the centre of gravity and that is what I love about it.
And finally, the saddle bag Cluster 7 Road Waterproofis a must-have for anyone going on a bike tour. An essential item for any bikepacking experience. It is the smallest model, but in its 7 litres it allows enough space for the essentials for 1200 km solo, but without cluttering up and weighing down the bike.