Race course

Appenninica MTB Parmigiano Reggiano Stage Race takes place over 7 consecutive days along the Apennine Mountains.

For 2020, the racecourse rolls down from the high mountains on the province of Bologna and reaches the plane of the province of Parma. As you keep reading, you’ll understand that…it’s not a downhill stroll.

Stay tuned as we publish the 7 stages at the beginning of November complete with descriptions and elevation charts. Each stage is announced every 3 days on the Stages page but do follow our Facebook and Instagram pages for the previews.

The route follows, where possible, the MTB trail of the Alta Via dei Parchi straddling the watershed with Tuscany.

It includes the provinces of Bologna, Modena, Reggio Emilia, Parma as well as National and Regional Parks along the Alta Via.

The 150 riders will cover about 450 km for a total elevation gain of approximately 16.000 m. Only after crossing the finish line of the last kilometer can the participants wear the coveted finisher medal.

The Race Villages are set up in small and medium-size villages scattered along the route throughout the Apennines.  They will be very near the trails or at short distance to better serve the race logistics. What’s more important is that they are authentic and charming towns that are eager to host us. One of the goals of Appenninica is to afford visibility for the territory as an outdoor destination. 

At the moment, the following stage locations are confirmed:


The terrain is very varied and, with the exception of the trails created in the area of the Cimone Bike Park, is all natural trails, forest roads and, for some short connective sections secondary paved roads.

Past riders have called it “real mountain biking” and you’ll have to find out for yourselves what they meant. A full suspension bike is best suited for this course.

As indicated by the elevation gain, the course has steep sections both uphill and downhill but almost all of them rideable by trained athletes with good skills.

The queen stage of over 105 km is true test of endurance and tactic and you will need to pace your effort well.  It will be a course on par with the most famous ultra-endurance races in the world such as Cape Epic and TransAlp.

From a naturalistic point of view, the route crosses parks and forests, it faces some river crossing, and runs along alpine-like lakes. The ridge trails are surrounded by spectacular mountains views. Century-old beech and chestnut forests will enchant you. We are committed to creating an event respectful of the environment that hosts it.

The average altitude is between 800 and 1.400 m with peaks at 2.100 m. The first 3 stages are at higher attitude while the second part of the route sees lower altitudes and less sparse vegetation.

The route is ancient and has seen the Middle Ages, welcomed pilgrims, and the Partisan Resistance has used it during World War II. Fairies and gnomes could be right around the next tree.

Basically, we planned a route that is a postcard for the European mountain range best suited to outdoor activities: the Apennines. We then added some special ingredients that you only find here: extraordinary cuisine and warmth of the people without forgetting the atmosphere of conviviality for which Emilia Romagna is known and proud.

Go to the 2019 Video Story

Appenninica Low Impact

Particular attention will be given to mitigate to the maximum the environmental impact of our passage in the land. A specific protocol “Appenninica Low Impact” will be drawn up with concrete actions before, during and after the race. In addition to referring to the existing rules of the trail and the code of behavior IMBA (International Mountain Bicycling Association), the organizers of the Appenninica are part of a table of representatives of the Parks in order to experience the land with the least possible impact. The CAI regional section of Emilia Romagna will be invited to be part of the working group that will draft the protocol “Appenninica Low Impact”. In 2014, the organizers of the Appenninica along with ASD Happy Trail MTB have opened the Italian branch of IMBA. Since them IMBA Italy has trained hundreds of people on the importance of sustainable trails, techniques of creating and maintaining trails to limit erosion, respecting its natural characteristics and mitigate conflicts with all users. The protocol will be based on scientific studies collected by IMBA on the impact of mountain biking on trails.