Tristan makes us experience the journey through Spain from the inside.


3 friends around a table with a big plate of dough, no beer this time. 

It’s 9:20 p.m. It is Friday April 21, 2023.

A form of worry and excitement in their eyes makes me realize even more that in 3 hours we will be at the start of Desertus Bikus n°2.

This edition will be very different from the previous one. This year I have lots of friends by my side on the starting line. In their speeches and their looks I find the Tristan of last year who was attacking his first ultra race. 

Despite the experience gained last year and during TPR, I am terrified. The storm is falling on the La Course Delivery depot and I am constantly telling myself that I don't want to suffer. 

The problem is that when you leave at midnight to cross Spain from North to South you have to do violence. 

For me, the start of a race like that is not at the time of the countdown. 

It starts well before. 

Roughly speaking, the Désertus Bikus is a Bike Rally-Raid crossing Spain independently and without assistance. 

From Anglet to Nerja.

Each competitor is responsible for plotting their route, with the obligation to pass through 4 Checkpoints and these are located in desert areas.

This winter I did little riding, a lot of running, a little work but a lot of reflection on my motivations for doing this race. 

I conclude that I want to have fun, not suffer too much but above all take part in quite a friend's first ultra race. My objective is therefore set, it will be not to arrive 2 days after them, and on a misunderstanding, to do a little better than the previous edition. 

Change of bike, this time I'm going with my 2.11 steel, carbon fork, carbon wheels and 35cm tires mounted Tubeless. Big review of this one at Popular Cycling and I'm crossing my fingers that I won't have to touch anything until Nerja because I'm really not good at it. 

We worked on the trace between Dirty Kids around lots of pizzas a few months before. Tristan Lombart has the same route as me. Piwi, Joani, Robin and others choose different options. 

From the start to Desertios de Monegros (CP1) my route displays 324km for 3470m of positive altitude difference. 

After big hugs and messages of encouragement between friends, at some point you have to leave even if the storm hits the Basque Country. 

12:01 a.m. the 200 participants get on their bicycles.

We try to start between Sales Gosses but at the exit of the first turn, I only have Tristan and the rain with me. 

A good National that we know well over 60km to begin with, red lights in front of us. Many of us have chosen to cross the Pyrenees via Ibañeta. The kms pass, I'm soaked to the bone and  I just hope it doesn't last as long as last year.

After 4 hours of suffering, we have made good progress, a long descent passing through Roncevault, the ground is dry, I am still with Tristan. 

We embark on a magnificent gravel track and Joani appears at that moment. It makes me laugh, we meet up with friends in the middle of the night. Everyone is having a hard time but happy to be there. The sun rises, it feels good, it wakes you up. 

At the foot of a village a group forms, there must be 6 of us, but Joani signals to us that her trail is to the left, we continue to climb, hoping to find a café open as soon as possible. 

Freezing, I find myself in front of a can dispenser. A coke, a cigarette, a real breakfast of champions.

The rain gives way to the wind and my front derailleur starts to act up. 

200km after the start, I am still with Tris. Front derailleur out of order, I try to keep smiling until I find one  open bar and see what we can do. 

A Plato combinado plus 3 cafés con leche, Tristan is always by my side. He suggests I take a look at my derailleur. Conclusion, broken derailleur cable. Of course, I don't have any spare parts. I wouldn't even know how to change it anyway... 

Tristan the savior takes one out of his bag for me. He is a mechanic at Popular and he knows my bike better than I do. 

In the time of a cigarette he fixes it for me perfectly. It will last until Nerja. 

We have around 120km left to reach CP1 and the rain is returning. Tris has legs of fire and I can't keep up with her. 

I meet Elise with whom I share a stretch of road, a bakery approaching in a small village. We both stop, she for 5 minutes to refuel, me for a good half hour because I'm really not efficient. 

I leave last and I see a wallet. It's the one Tris, I recognize him. Having left a little earlier, I call him and tell him to calm down to give it back and avoid a long round trip. 

So without really wanting to we continue the road, Elise, Tris and I until CP1. 

Arriving in this magnificent desert area, I found Yvan, the organizer of this quagmire. 

At the same time Thibault Sambourg, another Dirty Kid, is taking his micro nap there, Tristan Lombart is refueling. 

For me a cigarette and off I go. 

Objective, Saragoza 100km away, where I hope to find a bed in a dormitory. 

Tris passes me again around 5 p.m. and he also has a bed in his sights in Zaragoza. He calls me once there and tells me that he has reserved a bed for me. 

Arriving at the hotel I learned that they were wrong and that it was full.

And yeah! A Saturday evening in a big city is not the best option for ultra racing. 

So we find a park, we inflate our mattresses and I eat a large bocadillo lomo queso. I really want to sleep but too many critters are flying around me and people walking nearby. 

We therefore decided to extend the day by a few miles to find shelter a little further from the city.

Small village approaching, it's 10 p.m. so it's been a good day without sleeping. 420km on the clock, no knee pain, never seen before. 

I slip into my sleeping bag, I have my very very reliable guy next to me. I set an alarm at 2:30 a.m. 

The alarm rings, I open my eyes with difficulty and I see Anais and Mathieu in front of me. Friends from the country who are there to produce a film about Tristan Lombart. 

We start our day in the middle of the night and after 5km I no longer see Tris. 

I then told myself that this was probably the last time I would see Tristan before the finish line. 

That suits me, these are experiences that you want to live alone, for yourself. It's important to ride at your own pace, I've understood this well in the past. 

I feel good on my bike, no pain. In the early morning, it was very cold but it was not raining. From 6 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. is generally when I have the most trouble, I often feel sleepy and that's the time when it's the coldest. 

As for the course, it’s climbing, my friend! 

At the switch, I cross villages, nothing open. I see a bus shelter and Tris sleeping soundly, the Wahoo tells me 0 degrees. 

20km after a slightly larger town, gas station on the right, I turn on the indicator.

3 cafés con leche, I empty the shelves of the station. I take a break and take the time to call my brother who is on a bike trip to New Zealand. 

I started cycling thanks to him, we are very close, we share the same passions. He tells me that he is impressed by my progress the day before. 

It energizes me for the day. A message to my darling to reassure her, then a voice to Julien Gravaud so as not to lose our TPR habits. 

I have CP2 in my sights, it doesn't seem that far away on the map but the headwind is acting up. Straight gravel line along a highway, everything we love!

We yo-yo all day with Tris, he suffers from bad knees, for my part physically I'm fine but mentally it's poor on the other hand. 

I arrive at CP2 at the end of the day exhausted. 5km before, I took an express gas station break, didn't smoke a cigarette and I ate my ice cream on my saddle. Express ravito. 

3km of slightly steep descent, I will smoke my cigarette with my feet in the water of Rio Dulce, location of CP2. 

Magnificent little path, I am surrounded by trees and Thibault makes the junction. He tells me, he is here to suffer. It's 6 p.m. I'm starting to get tired, the sun has been beating down all day. I'm not here to suffer. 

“If I find a town during sunset. I stop, I eat and I take a hotel. »

Briuega below, I leave Thibault who wants to ride all night. I come across Elise who tells me that the wind will continue until 12 a.m. - 1 a.m. 

It’s 9 p.m. I book a hotel next to the restaurant.

A good shower, very important. I have irritation between my legs. 

But I have a smile!

I watch the Live Tracking before sleeping and I see that Joani is 20km behind me. I call him and tell him I have a bed available for him. 

He's struggling, puncture after puncture, no more inner tube. 

“Go ahead, I’ll be there, as quickly as possible. Do you have an inner tube to help me out? »


The meeting at 1 a.m. to leave with Elise and another guy, I don't think about it anymore. 

We will leave around 2:30 a.m. after Jo has changed her inner tube. 

The first 100 kilometers of this new day are free. A few sprints to outrun dogs, a stop-it to dodge deer. But the night goes relatively well. I have legs and I don't suffer too much at the end of the night. Joani is petrified from the cold, we make a quick detour to have a big breakfast. 

You have to be active because the day before I did a little less than 300km. 

Around 10 a.m., Joani makes a detour to a bike store to stock up on inner tubes. 

The rest of the day is simple, hard but you know the rules. You move forward and shut your mouth. 

Sometimes you sing French punk, often you rap and yes you have to keep busy on these big straights east of Madrid. 

The heat coming off the asphalt and the beating sun make my nose bleed. 

My jersey, bags and face are full of it. 

20 minutes on the bike to stop this. 

I arrive in a quite charming town, a beautiful square and a rather classy bar-restaurant. 

I'm at the end of my strength so I settle down, I open the wattsapp group of friends on Désertus. Thibault a few kilometers further stopped to take a hotel and told us that we could join him. Not negligible.

It's 6 p.m., I'm blown away, I arrive in this guest room, what joy. I did a day of 280km for little D+ but the wind was too violent to continue. 

Tris joins us a few minutes later. Time to do some shopping for the evening and leave full of food for the next day. 

I buy anything and everything. We devour it all while taking stock of our race.

Our desire to put an end to this shit is felt. 

A good night of 4 hours of sleep and we will leave around 2:30 a.m. or 3 a.m.

After 50km, Tris is on the verge of falling asleep on the bike… 

He stops at the side of the road for a micro nap.

I continue towards Ubeda with a big breakfast as motivation. 

A good pass awaits me before that. 

So I get back to my TPR reflexes and spend a good hour on the phone with my brother and my mother.

That reassures, he encourages me and tells me that Joani is about ten kilometers ahead. 

I like the roads, it climbs more than the first 1000 kilometers so it reminded me of my Basque Country. 

That suits me better, you go up, you go down, you have to be patient! 

But the higher you climb, the more beautiful it is.

After another nosebleed in a firecracker at 15% average, I keep smiling and head straight towards CP3. I've been dreading it since I registered.

I almost didn't do this race when I saw that this famous Gorafe desert was still on the program. Last year I got lost, chased by dogs in the middle of the night, crossed a river and saw nothing of the landscape since I passed it around 4am. 

This year I'm doing it around 2 p.m. and it's not the best idea either. 

I finally join Joani at the entrance to the desert. At this time it's a heatwave in Spain and my GPS tells me 40 degrees... 

After a few meters of pushing the bike, Antoine and his sidekick are there to photograph us. It's good to see familiar faces. 

This year I'm hot but I don't get lost.

Gorafe is magnificent! 

Arriving at CP3, Sam from the organization is there to welcome us, also on his bike.

A motorhome from Switzerland at the checkpoint will serve as our supply. 

I'm waiting for Joani who had a flat a few minutes before and we'll leave with a Dutchman to get out of this oven.

Sam tells us that the next village is 40km away. 

No choice, you have to go, CP4 is 150km away. 

Arriving in the small village of Huelago, we stop for a long time but we need it. 

It orders sodas and coffees in pairs. 

Bocadillos that are the size of our arms. 

I allow myself 2 cigarettes, I have time anyway, this year I don't want to arrive in Nerja in the middle of the night. 

The road is pleasant, good humor is present in our group of 3. 

We agree to stay together until CP4, the sun is setting, we are tired but it is still more reassuring to ride together at night. 

The barking of dogs resonates in the middle of the olive fields. After a few bumps in Gravel you can feel sleepy. 

We stop, we each find a bench and I activate an alarm for a 20-minute micro nap. 

The alarm rings and we have 2 hours left to drive to Iznajar, the location of CP4. 

Magnificent little town perched on the edge of a lake. 

CP4 is at the very top of the town and going up there is a small shelter for a 2 hour sleeping bag.

Waking up around 5 a.m. is complicated, I'm fed up but the Mediterranean Sea is only 100km away. The goal of arriving for lunch at the restaurant  galvanizes us. 

Our trio is heading straight south. After a small mistake along the way, we stopped at a café to stock up on calories.

What an adventure, in a few hours we will be done with this Desertus. 

After a last pass we finally see the Mediterranean Sea…  what a relief.

I'm next to my friend Joani. I wanted to do this race to share moments with my friends. Without doing it on purpose I would have ridden, eaten, slept with them. The real life of an ultra cyclist. 

After 30km of following the coast under the sun we arrive at the DB finish line. 

Once again I'm emotional to finish it but it will never replace the feeling of elation you feel the first time.

But this year it's different, I'll be able to enjoy restaurants, liters of beer and large packets of cigarettes with my friends. That's what I was looking for. 

By finishing in 108 hours and 21 minutes I placed 27th tied with Joani and Jur. A better place than in the first edition. But the primary objective was to have fun without suffering too much, which was the case. To see Tristan Lombart arrive only 3 hours after us, knowing that he had one hell of a lot of trouble makes me proud of my friends. Robin who arrives the next day, his legs smashed by his fall in the same place as Tris, after 8 punctures. Piwi same struggles, Sharky who finishes with his first ultra. All of them, to name just a few, have achieved a great feat which is to put an end to this fucking race. 

Yvan, the organizer, made me dig deep within myself, even mentally. But this time, I finished the adventure without pain in my knees, back or neck. The day after my arrival, I validate my registration for the TPR N•3 which I hope to do with my brother, as a pair. 

To be continued… 


Tristan Janmart, a Bad Kid. 

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