Well, how was the scouting this year?
Simply incredible. First, to see that there are still so many places to discover, Almería and Granada is really endless. But most of all, experiencing life there on a normal day and interacting with the locals is really special.

You always say that the villages and their people are very important in Badlands
Absolutely. Plus, most of them already know about Badlands. There are a lot of cyclists who ride the route year-round, and I have to say that it’s an area that’s far from traditional tourism, which they like. Also, many locals have stories about the event, such as giving the riders water or food, or even bringing them home to sleep… it’s just amazing!!

It sounds like fun!
It is, although there is a lot of work that goes into it. It’s not just about getting lost in the countryside with your bikepacks, but it also requires many hours on the computer – before and after – and weeks away from home. I estimate that for every kilometre I added to the track, I had to explore and discard three..

What is the most difficult thing about designing the route?
I think you always have to have a global vision. You can find a spectacular section, but maybe it just does not fit with everything that comes after or before it. For example, I’m love with a very special place in La Alpujarra, Alboloduy. I have some beautiful routes around this unique village, but it’s not easy to link them with the route in a natural way.

Is there anything else we should know?
During the rides, I test the ground to find the clayiest parts in case it rains heavily. Also, I always have to keep in mind the fountains, access in case of emergency, or detours for the following cars and the best spots for photographers and filmmakers.

What tools do you use to design the route?
Komoot for searching references, planning and designing the tracks. But also Google Earth to see all the tracks that I am exploring at the same time and to play with them in 3D.

So, the big question: what’s new this year?
We always try to change about 10-15% of the track and add new parts without changing the essentials. This year, it’s the Sierra de Huétor and especially Tabernas. The Tabernas desert will be crossed by a completely new and spectacular rambla. In addition, the route will go to Cabo de Gata, in the east of the Sierra de Alhamilla, and will pass through one of the most beautiful villages of the region, Lucainena de las Torres. Also, other two small villages will be included in the route, Hinojares and Darrícal, in La Alpujarra.