The Appenninici – Jeremy Mahot: mountain bike as a social message

Many stories of sports and life can be found among the Appenninica MTB Stage Race riders. Jeremy Mahot took up mountain biking during the Covid period as an antidote to the death of a close friend, and in 2022 he concluded Appenninica to raise awareness about the problem of depression

There are many motivations for someone to take up a sport. Some develop a passion early on and others approach it with time. Those who do it to get physically fit and those who do it to find inner peace, to take their mind off life’s everyday problems.

Appenninica MTB Stage Race 2022 finisher Jeremy Mahot was introduced to mountain biking during the hard months of the Covid quarantine when gyms were closed, and one could only get an hour of airtime to play outdoor sports. Before then, he had never played this sport, but love was at first sight.

It was a bad time, and a friend invited me to mountain biking. Unfortunately, not long after I started, another close friend lost his life due to depression caused by a concussion. He could no longer find peace with himself. At that moment, mountain biking saved my life, and I felt a duty to tell everyone about the positive impact this sport can have on a person’s life, as well as the social interaction with other bikers”, says Jeremy Mahot.


To testify to this, Jeremy Mahot got into mountain bike stage racing, participating in and completing the Bike Transalp in 2021. From there, the idea of sharing his adventures on social media and a blog, explaining why he was doing it and showing how everyone can achieve a goal if they want to, even finding the motivation to get through the darkest moments.

I want to make people aware that concussion is a major trauma, not to be taken lightly, because it can bring problems such as depression, irritability, and lack of concentration. Talking is a great help to vent. I want everyone to understand that so many things can help to feel good. You have to be willing to put yourself out there. Within the circles of Mtb fans, you can find people willing to talk and listen”, explains the French rider based on the United Kingdom.

On his journey-testimony, Jeremy Mahot crossed paths with Appenninica MTB Stage Race, finding that sense of family and community he sought.

I enjoyed Apenninica for the beautiful scenery and host cities, and it reinforced my belief that the Mtb community is unique. I now have friends all over the world with whom I talk regularly. I will go back in the future because the family atmosphere is unique. I left alone and returned with many brothers and sisters with whom I shared an experience”, he says.

From Castelnovo to Vidiciatico, Appenninica 2023 promises thrills and spills

Organizers have unveiled the route for the 2023 Appenninica MTB Stage Race, scheduled for September 4-9, which features six stages measuring 400 km and 14 thousand meters of elevation gain. In addition to Castelnovo ne’ Monti and Vidiciatico, stage venues include Fanano and the new Fiumalbo

Race organizers have promised that “reducing the format of one stage will not make the race any easier.” This promise has largely been fulfilled, judging from a first look at the 2023 Appenninica MTB Stage Race route.

Riders will have to conquer 400 kilometres and 14,000 meters of climbing over the course of six stages to earn the finisher’s medal of the 2023 edition, scheduled for Sept. 4-9, 2023. The Emilia-Romagna Apennines will be the judges of an epic challenge among enchanted landscapes, Apennine ridges, and beautiful Italian towns.

Same as last year, the stage race will start from Castelnovo ne’ Monti, in the shadow of the Pietra di Bismantova. Returning stage venues include Fanano, a historic passage in the Appenninica MTB Stage Race and Vidiciatico, a hamlet in Lizzano in Belvedere that will host the grand finale, same as it did in 2022. New for 2023 is Fiumalbo, a historic village in the Modena Apennines located on the border with Tuscany.

The new format allows us to spread out the challenges better than in years past. The Queen Stage, scheduled for the second day, is slightly shorter and less challenging than before, but the following two days will compel racers to manage their efforts. The result is a demanding middle part of the race, with 400 kms and 14 thousand meters of total elevation gain,” explained Milena Bettocchi and Beppe Salerno, co-organizers of the Appenninica MTB Stage Race.


The start is set for Monday, September 4, from Castelnovo ne’ Monti with 56 km and 1,800 meters of climbing beginning at the foot of the Pietra di Bismantova and traversing the lands of Matilda di Canossa. Compared to 2022, the La Matildica route has been further improved, with alternating climbs and descents that aren’t long, but they are challenging.

With practically no time to settle into race mode on Tuesday, September 5, it’s already time to take on the Mountain Queen Stage. Compared to past editions, the stage is shorter (89 km) but no less challenging with 3200 meters of climbing before reaching the finish line in Fiumalbo.

No time to rest because on Wednesday, September 6, a loop around Fiumalbo will again put racers under pressure. The Tuscany “Incipit” is the newest development for the 2023 edition, with a gradual advance into Tuscany inside the Abetone ski area, 79 km long with 2700 meters of climbing.

Monte Cimone is the big star in the fourth stage on Thursday, Sept. 7, from Fiumalbo to Fanano. There will be three climbs that day along the 57-kilometer route of the Cimone Challenge with 2300 meters of climbing to test the athletes’ legs once again.

For those who like the Appenninica MTB Stage Race’s approach to mountain biking, the stage slated for Friday, September 8, from Fanano to Vidiciatico will be the perfect manifesto. Appenninica Distilled with its 54 km and 2,500 meters of climbing is a combination of everything the Italian stage race has to offer: long and rideable climbs, technical descents, and wonderful views.

The grand finale is booked for Saturday, September 9 on the Monte Pizzo, with start and finish in Vidiciatico, a hamlet in the municipality of Lizzano in Belvedere. Same as last year, the technical 37 kilometres with 1750 meters of climbing will declare the final verdict.


After the tremendous success of the Early Bird registration phase, which sold out in just 15 days, it’s now possible to register in the “Regular Registration” phase until May 31, 2023. Same as in the last four editions, organizers have confirmed the solo format and have limited entries to a maximum of 150 participants to avoid overcrowding on the trails and to ensure a high standard of quality in providing support to all participants.


Stage 1 – La Matildica – 56 km and 1800 m of elevation gain

Monday, September 4: Castelnovo ne’ Monti – Castelnovo ne’ Monti

Stage 2 – Mountain Queen – 89 km and 3200 m of elevation gain
Tuesday, September 5: Castelnovo ne’ Monti – Fiumalbo

Stage 3 – Tuscany “Incipit” – 79 km and 2700 m of elevation gain
Wednesday, September 6: Fiumalbo – Fiumalbo

Stage 4 – Cimone Challenge – 57 km and 2300 m of elevation gain
Thursday, September 7: Fiumalbo – Fanano

Stage 5 – Appenninica Distilled – 54 km and 2500 m of elevation gain
Friday, September 8: Fanano – Vidiciatico

Stage 6 – Monte Pizzo – 37 km and 1750 m of elevation gain
Saturday, September 9: Vidiciatico – Vidiciatico

The Appenninici – From Argentina to Italy: Sergio Coratolo in search of his roots

Many stories of sports and life can be found among the Appenninica MTB Stage Race riders. In 2022, Sergio Coratolo combined the stage race in the Emilia-Romagna Apennines with a trip to Sicily, discovering the places of his ancestors
Some people participate in Appenninica MTB Stage Race to experience something out of the ordinary, some to discover new places and some to win a challenge against themselves. And there are those who, like Sergio Coratolo, have extended their journey to Italy from Argentina after the mountain bike stage race to discover their roots.

Sergio Coratolo’s grandfather was a native of Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily. Having decided to cross the ocean for Appenninica, he went to discover the places where his family came from, albeit this wasn’t his first time in Italy.

“I had already been to Italy, I had visited the Alps and Riva del Garda, and before arriving in Bologna for Appenninica I was in Rome with my wife. After finishing the race last September, I spent a few days in Castellammare del Golfo, where my grandfather was born, to discover the places of his childhood. On occasion, I also made a video for my father, who was never lucky enough to be able to go there”, said Coratolo.

Embellished by this romantic appendix, the Appenninica MTB Stage Race experience will also remain in the Argentinean’s heart for giving him a chance to discover the beautiful scenery of the Emilia-Romagna Apennines.

“I learned about Appenninica MTB Stage Race on the web, and since I had already been to the Alps and the Pyrenees, I said this would be an opportunity to know the Apennines. With an Italian passport, I will gladly come to Italy when I can. I’m trying to visit as much as possible”, explained Coratolo.

The Italian stage race experience has been promoted with full marks by Sergio Coratolo, who promises to return.

“I think I will come back to Appenninica. I enjoyed the experience. It is physically demanding but enjoyable because it allows you to meet new people and have a fulfilling experience”, said the Argentinian rider.

There is still so much Italy to discover, after all.

6 Stages Enough?

If you ask us, an MTB stage race should have no fewer than 5 stages and no more than 8. Ideally, it should take place on a mountain range. Hey, it’s the name of the sport: mountain biking. Mountains represent the ultimate adventure challenge: you against the mountain. You against your limit.

If you are racing mostly others. and not your own demons, you are not racing our kind of race. We dreamed, thought, designed Appenninica to be the race in which you find that aspect.
It’s not about the clock, or at least not only, but it’s mostly about being under test. You test yourself in a deep way, physically and mentally.

A football match lasts 90 minutes; a marathon is 42.195 km long. Our sport is different: when it comes to UCI Marathon events, riders face racecourses between 60 and 160 km. Meanwhile, UCI states that stage races run for “four days or more and feature at least one long-distance stage covering the minimum length of an XCM event, i.e., 60km”.

Granted that UCI’s formats are arbitrary, yet widely accepted, MTB stage racing is and should be shaped by the vision of the organizers who are the ones who know the territory and trails best.

We have downsized from 7 to 6 stages for 2023. We have good reasons, but honestly there’s no perfect answer and for sure there’s no one right answer to the question “how many stages should Appenninica run?”. And the feedback was sometimes positive, sometimes doubtful. The decision was NOT taken lightly but we had our own vision to follow.

Appenninica is hard. If the weather does not cooperate, it can be brutal. 2019 – boiling hot – and 2021 – with a very wet Queen stage – put everyone to the test. There is no lack of climbing and long technical sections at Appenninica and that will be unchanged. We have so many alternatives to propose to riders, so many trails that we can ensure a race that is always different, but complete at the same time: tough, enjoyable, technical, fast, and of course panoramic. All those features will be in the race equally.

At the end of each stage, we see you, we talk to you, we gather feedback. We even notice the unsaid. We know that you want a tough race, and we keep it as such. When we had mercy and shortened a stage in the second part of the week, your bodies thanked us.

Logistics – another impacting aspect.
We have not hidden the fact that 6 is better than 7 logistically, because many of our riders make it to Italy from other continents. It makes sense to try to fit the race + some recovery + flights within a working week. If you have days to spare, you are in Italy!

These are some of the reasons why we say: six is enough and plenty.

Appenninica registrations start with a bang: 50 Early Bird spots already sold out

The first days of registrations for the 2023 edition (September 4-9) recorded an immediate success, selling out the whole early-bird contingent in just a week. The organizers offer another opportunity: 20 more early-bird slots to be claimed by December 18th

The crave for the Appenninica MTB Stage Race is sky-high. There are still ten months to go until the event scheduled from September 4th to 9th, 2023, but it took just one week to burn through the 50 spots made available by the organisation for the Early Bird Registration phase. After the first registration slot opened on December 1st, the race numbers available at a reduced price quickly vanished.

As per tradition, the A.S.D. Happy Trail MTB launch the registrations with a special offer to allow those who have already planned their 2023 season to claim their spot for the challenge on the Emilia-Romagna Apennines at the best possible price. An opportunity seized by fifty riders from all over the world (Netherlands and United States in first place), also highlighting the global appeal achieved by the Appenninica MTB Stage Race.

We are thrilled to have reached the sell-out of the first registration phase in a short time. This result is the consequence of the constant growth in recent years, which has made the event known almost all over the world. To help those who were surprised by such quick progression, we have decided to offer additional slots at the Early Bird price for a limited period”, explained the organizers of Appenninica MTB Stage Race, Milena Bettocchi and Beppe Salerno.

The Early Bird Registration will be extended until Sunday 18 December, with additional 20 places at a special price. A unique opportunity for the many mountain bike fans who want to try an epic six-stage challenge along the Emilia-Romagna Apennines. Appenninica is a full-service race, and the entry fee includes not only the race number but also accommodations, meals, transfers between the stages, and other services.

After the 20 additional Early Bird slots at €1,090 have sold out, the Regular Registration phase will starts, at a fee of €1,290.