By Jenny, Pure Mountains founder and guide.

What’s a Komoot Women’s Rally?

In April, my friend Tatiana and I joined ultra-endurance rider Lael Wilcox and 70 other women for the Komoot Women’s Badlands Rally.

Komoot says these rallies are “adventure cycling events for women…who want to take on a big cycling challenge in a supportive environment. The rallies aim to connect, unite and break down the barriers in adventure cycling by making adventures by bike more accessible to women.” Sounds like a great idea!

The Badlands Gravel Route

The Komoot and Badlands teams put together a 681km route through the wilds of Eastern Andalucía in Spain (not very far from Pure Mountains). It was based on the venerated Badlands ultracycling race course “The wildest gravel challenge in Europe”, but a bit shorter and with “only” 12,000m of climbing. Riders could follow as much or as little of the route as they wished.

The Rally Report

What an adventure! The route took us through stunning scenery: starting in the city of Granada, then through forests, badlands, deserts, endless beautiful mountains, and wild coastal paths. Riding my bike all day, every day for a week, with nothing to worry about except climbing and descending, eating and sleeping. It was like being in Wonderland.

I did also have to worry about stuffing all my kit into my slightly inadequate seat rocket each morning. Next time I would invest in a pannier and rack setup.  We were riding hardtail mountain bikes, as were several other riders, though most people were on gravel bikes. I was happy to be on a mountain bike. It made riding the rough and sandy parts of the route enjoyable.

We had some storms early on, which rather dispersed the group. The organisers suggested some shortcuts and a rest day. We took some of the shortcuts, re-routed slightly, using the invaluable Komoot route planner, and ploughed on. Partly because we didn’t want to stop and partly because we had booked hotels / AirBnBs, which were an absolute boon at the end of each exhausting day! A table, chair, bed, shower and washing machine: simple pleasures!

It was very satisfying to find we were able to ride long, consecutive days and to keep smiling (most of the time).


Highlights for me were:

  • Discovering new landscapes and villages and fitting them together with those I already knew from running Pure Mountains gravel tours. Komoot was a brilliant tool for this, though it did, puzzlingly, reroute us mid-ride one or twice.
  • The hypnotic joy of endless hours of pedalling, with all the highs and lows that entails.
  • Riding with a good friend, making decisions together, laughing, talking endless nonsense and discussing whether we would ever take on the “real” Badlands (eight days was not long enough to resolve this question…).
  • Finally doing the rally, after weeks of packing dilemmas. Yes, I did need all that stuff!

Thank Yous

Thank you to Badlands for dreaming up this adventure concept and generously sharing it with us; to Komoot for organising and funding the rally; to the team on the ground who kept the show on the road (it must have been like herding cats) and to my fellow riders who made it such an experience.

Pure Mountains Gravel Tours

If you like the look of this ride, you’ll love the fully-supported Pure Mountains Two Deserts Gravel Tour.  It covers a lot of the same ground, but we take care of everything for you and carry your luggage!

Gravel bikes outside Gorafe Desert bar
Bikepackers in Spanish plaza
Group of women bikepackers near Gorafe
Gravel riding in Badlands
Two gravel riders in desert dry river bed
Coffee on bar terrace in Spain