Gordon Wadsworth and his wife Emily Hairfield will be at the start of the 2021 Appenninica MTB Stage Race on September 12th, combining a sporting challenge with a holiday in Italy to discover the Apennines.
Appenninica MTB Stage Race could not happen anywhere else than on the Emilia-Romagna Apennines: the bind between the race and its territory goes far beyond its name. So, while many get to know the area while taking in the Appenninica challenge, it also happens that some people come to the race to make an exciting combination of adventure and a holiday. That’s the case of Gordon Wadsworth and Emily Hairfield from the United States, coming to Appenninica’s third edition from September 12th to 18th.
“We love events that match the local spirit and world-class riding and hospitality, and from what we have learned the Appenninica MTB has both in great measure. A sports event like Appenninica shows the heart and spirit of a territory, showcasing the culture and the history. When you see and experience a place, you also learn about people and their lives in a very special way. We may not leave Italians, but we will leave with a love of Italy. I am sure!” said Gordon Wadsworth.
Born in Roanoke, Virginia, Gordon Wadsworth took up mountain biking in his teenage and transferred his passion to his wife Emily. As a three-time winner of the US National Championships and five-time winner of the National Ultra Endurance Series Championships, Gordon competed in several international events. In recent years, his wife Emily and him have created the “race-cations” formula, combining the challenge of a stage race with a holiday.
“We love crafting “race-cations” with epic events as a starting point, where we get to experience the location at a very close level. The bike is a tremendous medium for the experience because we can hear, feel, smell, and taste things like no other way. After having completed the Appenninica, we hope to feel a little closer to the people and culture of Emilia Romagna and the areas we plan to travel through,” explained Gordon Wadsworth.
The US couple has already begun the build-up to a demanding stage race like Appenninica, with a training plan that includes long rides repeated for several days in a row. Over the past spring, Wadsworth also took part in the Trans-Sylvania Epic and Unbound XL, finishing both races in the top ten and confirming that he can be with the best at the Appenninica.
“Emily and I both love the stage race format because every day it has to be the “best day ever”. They are hard, of course, and that’s part of the appeal. By digging extremely deep, we learn about ourselves, challenge ourselves, and emerge the other side as different and better people. The community that an event like Appenninica builds is second to none. After the race, we both love sharing the experiences of the day, and sometimes those friendships grow across time and borders,” said Wadsworth.