Yes, yes. It’s Unbound gravel week but we’re quite ready for another great event that’s starting on Friday. If you think you will only need to see the live broadcast from Kansas, think better. There’s gonna be a dot moving around the Balkans as well.

Manuel will be at the start line of the new, super cool, super hyped Trans Balkan Race which is one of the events we’re so much looking forward to for so many reasons. First is that it’s an unsupported, single stage, off-road race of 1356 km and 27K D+.

Many other things make it very interesting indeed. The place, of course. Balkans are so close that the start is in Sesana, just a few meters away from the Italian Border, and so far away that little we know about their culture and even less about its cycling and bikepacking potential.

The route is a tough one for sure – you can just check the ratio between length and elevation gain to get an idea. Its remoteness makes it even more interesting: a lot of natural parks and animals and way less contacts with civilization and resupplies. It’s not gonna be a walk in the park for sure, but such routes are the ones leaving you with the best memories and the unforgettable experiences.

Add to the mix the different currencies among countries, the cell phone roaming not working in Bosnia and Montenegro, the borders and the “leftovers” of the war that happened about thirty years ago.

There are two checkpoints on route and four countries to cross before getting to Risan: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina and Montenegro.

Talking about the setup, it’s a classic light and fast Manuel’s of course. He will be riding the new 3T Racemax Ultra for the occasion, with one of our favorite adventure setups. Fulcrum Rapid Red 3 650b and Pirelli Cinturato Gravel M 650×50. Campagnolo Ekar 38 – 10/44.

Considering water resupply is one of the main issues, Manuel will be wearing a hydration pack carring 2L and two Elite Fly bottles 750 for a total capacity of 3,5 L. Bags are really essential, with a Miss Grape Cluster 7 in the bag, an Internode, a Node and a Moon in front. Just a bivy bag and one emergency blanket for the night.

For the full kit list we just asked him to share his notes and we didn’t notice anything weird, except the presence of a pair of latex gloves. Such a professional!

What else can we say? Well, we just leave you with the link for the live tracking and we just can’t wait to see that dot starting its journey through the Balkans!

Photo credits: Luca Petrinka – / @damianifed