There are just six months to go until the second edition of the Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race, and the countdown has started. From July 19th to 25th, 2020, the Emilian Apennines will welcome mountain bikers from all over the world for a seven-day MTB race. This is no gentle tour through Italy, hard work will be needed to earn the cherished finisher’s medal. The Italian Apennines are still largely unexplored by the MTB world, but they hold many challenges, and excellent rewards.
From the first edition, the organisers chose for a demanding course, putting a strain on the riders’ capabilities, but also giving them every chance to realise what they are surrounded from: a breathtaking landscape and a typical Italian atmosphere, which make Appenninica a truly unique experience.
Appenninica MTB is said to be not just a race, but also a real adventure to discover the territory, your own limits, the authentic values that can be found in living a week fully immersed in the “big family” of Appenninica. A challenging and intense race that will be remembered beyond the final result, just like the Cape Epic.
The course and stages at Appenninica MTB
The route primarily follows the MTB trail of the Alta Via dei Parchi that leads all over to Tuscany, touching the provinces of Bologna, Modena, Reggio Emilia and Parma. The route is 460 kilometres over 7 days, with steep climbs and technical descents, for an elevation gain of about 16000m.
On Sunday July 19th, the start and the finish of the stage will be in the spa town of Porretta Terme (Bologna), with 43 challenging kilometres and the climb of Mount Piella to conquer, on top of which the beautiful scenery of the Reno valley will open for the riders.
On Monday July 20th stage 2 travels from Porretta Terme to Fanano (Modena) over 65 kilometres, featuring the ascent to the Passo dello Strofinatoio, then passing alongside Scaffaiolo Lake, to continue with the Passo della Croce Arcana, the Passo del Colombino and the descent along the mythical CAI 425 trail.
The third stage on Tuesday July 21st presents 50 kilometres with a start and finish line in Fanano: it will offer some of the best scenery of the week, with the majestic chestnut woods to frame the first part of the race, before facing highly-entertaining trails, with technical descents, and expansive views from the ridgelines.
The next day, on Wednesday, July 22nd, it is time for the “Queen Stage”, from Fanano to Castelnovo ne’ Monti (Reggio Emilia) for a total of 105 kilometres and over 4000 metres of climbing. Passo del Saltello, Passo di San Pellegrino, Passo delle Radici, Passo del Giovarello and Passo della Cisa will be the climbs on the menu, making for an epic day.
On Thursday, July 23rd, Castelnovo ne’ Monti will host the start and the finish of the fifth stage (50 kilometres), taking place by the banks of the Calamone Lake in the first part, and in the nearbies of the Pietra of Bismantova massif in the second, for a rippling race full of ups and downs.
From Castelnovo ne’ Monti the riders will go to Noceto (Parma) for the 105-km-long sixth stage on Friday, July 24th, and leaving behind the Apennine chain and diving into the Po Valley, with rivers and valleys for company all day.
This great week of racing will end with the Noceto-Noceto stage, on Saturday, July 25th, with 40 kilometres in the background of the Boschi di Carrega park, that is sure to be remembered for the ride through the courtyards of historical villas, home to Maria Luigia (duchess of Parma and Napoleon’s wife).
For full details on the stages, head to the race website.
Race solo or in pairs
As in the first edition, it is possible to participate in the Apenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race both individually– men and women – and in pairs, with three different options: men, women and mixed.
In order not to overcrowd the trails, many of which ride through regional and national parks, and to ensure the highest level of quality to all the athletes during and after the race, the organisers chose for a closed number of maximum 150 registered athletes.
Like all the main MTB stage events, such as Cape Epic, Apenninica MTB Stage Race is a full-service race: from meals to accommodation, from refreshments to mechanical assistance in the race, from out-of-race transport to technical equipment and medical assistance, every aspect is guaranteed by the organisation at the highest levels of quality. Further services are available for athletes on request, from hotel accommodation to the bike setup after the race, or even the massages after the effort.
In addition, in collaboration with Tourissimo – Active Travel in Italy, Apenninica offers packages for those willing to accompany the bikers without racing, with the possibility to move easily and discover the beauty and atmosphere of the Emilian Apennines.
Want to see what Scott Cornish thought about the event in 2019? Read his account right here.
Entries are open now, and entry fees go up at the end of February.