The Appenninica MTB Stage Race characters have plenty of stories to tell, either about life or sport. In 2021, Mark Leeper enjoyed a relaxing time in Castelnovo ne’ Monti at the end of a race week that he describes as “the best stage race I have ever done”

Cycling allows discovering places that remain stuck in the memory and heart. The purpose of Appenninica MTB Stage Race is to lift the veil on the Emilia-Romagna Apennines, its landscapes and beauty, showcasing them to the many athletes who each year participate in the stage race, scheduled in 2022 from September 4th to 10th.

Among them, some couldn’t resist the allure of the Apennines, and once the efforts of Appenninica were over, they didn’t hesitate to stay a few more days to enjoy it in a more relaxed and relaxing way. This was the case of Mark Leeper, a participant of the 2021 Appenninica MTB Stage Race coming from Hong Kong, who has found his wellbeing oasis in Castelnovo ne’ Monti.

Last year, I took the time to stay over in Castelnovo ne’ Monti after the Appenninica MTB Stage race, enjoying excellent food and convenient coffee shops for remote work with my laptop. All the riders need recovery time after such a challenging event. There’s nothing better than spending some extra few days in the final destination town rather than immediately returning home. Riding around Emilia Romagna at Appenninica showed me many different sides of this beautiful Italian region and made it worth another visit in the future”, said Mark Leeper. 

The Appenninica route crosses typical places in the Apennines of Emilia-Romagna, among villages and high-altitude ridges. After participating in several mountain bike stage races worldwide, Mark Leeper, like other participants, has fallen in love with the perfect mix of untouched landscapes and technical routes.

At Appenninica, you find more technical trails than in the Alps or the Dolomites. Such a beautiful combination of speed, flow and technical challenge is hard to findThe tough, steep and rocky route made Appenninica MTB the best multi-day mountain bike race I have ever done. For me, it was better than the Cape Epic, Swiss Epic, TransRockies and the BC Bike Race”, explained Mark Leeper, a rider with plenty of experience all over the World. 

The Happy Trail MTB ASD organizers have always committed to the family and convivial atmosphere during the race week. Over the years, this has enabled friendships and bonds to be forged among competitors, organizers, and insiders, creating a true Appenninica Family. In his experience in the Italian stage race, Mark Leeper also perceived this atmosphere.

The group of Appenninica MTB Stage Race starters is smaller in numbers, but the organizational team is truly excellent. These two aspects contribute to a very special atmosphere, enhanced by efficient logistics, excellent refreshments, and genuine hospitality. Every day there are many opportunities to meet up with other athletes in the race, especially over dinner. And I can’t wait to come back”, Mark Leeper commented.