Never stop learning and discovering new things, even if you are an Olympic and World Cross Country champion, thus rightfully included in the list of mountain bike legends. Despite his professional career ending a few years ago, Miguel Martinez still enjoys pinning a bib on his back: racing continues to be part of his life, and in 2023 he couldn’t resist the temptation called Appenninica MTB Stage Race.
“Cycling and mountain biking represent freedom for me, a balanced way of living. It’s a chance to do something completely different from, for example, sitting in front of a computer. To me, the bike is everything. I need it, like air“, explains the French champion, Miguel Martinez.
The gold medallist in Cross Country at the Sydney 2000 Olympics participated in Appenninica 2023 with the Piraz Coaching Academy’s Mirko Pirazzoli team. The Frenchman has already raced in Italy in the past, and he knows Emilia-Romagna also for his past as road cyclist with Mapei. However, the Emilia-Romagna Apennines trails have been a pleasant discovery to him.
“Appenninica is a challenging race, being on the bike every day for a week is not easy, but mentally, it’s a panacea. Every day, you see a different route and spectacular landscapes. It can start with an asphalt climb before entering the woods, followed by a technical descent. It keeps changing”, says Miguel Martinez.
After the experience of Appenninica in 2023, Miguel Martinez was officially charmed by the mountain bike stage race routes, the familiar atmosphere and the optimal organization of A.S.D. Happy Trail MTB.
“It was the first time in Appenninica. I’ve been following it for a couple of years, and Mirko Pirazzoli (Team manager, ed.) has recommended it to me several times, telling me it was worth experiencing it. September is the right time: the weather and temperatures here are perfect. I enjoyed it and would recommend it to everyone because it’s a real surprise. In terms of organization, Appenninica MTB Stage Race has nothing to envy to Cape Epic: everything is designed to make you feel good and just think about having fun on the bike. It’s a family that works to the fullest to make you feel as comfortable as possible“, says Miguel Martinez.
And if a World and Olympic champion says so, you can trust it.