“Number 138, Mark Anolik, crosses the finish line in Fanano”. After hearing this sentence from the Appenninica MTB Stage Race speaker, Pierpaolo “Pippo” Marani’s eyes sparkled. Based in Fanano (Modena), the famous trail builder remembers that name well from the 1991 Mountain Bike World Championships in Il Ciocco, when Marani finished 35th in the Downhill Elite event, while his friend and rival from the USA finished just behind him, in 36th place.

The fate wanted that the two would meet again in a village in the Modena Apennines, exactly 30 years later, in 2021. In this case, destiny has a name: Appenninica MTB Stage Race.

I knew that Pippo was involved with Appenninica and that we could have an opportunity to meet again after many years. I am pleased it happened, also because it helped me to get back in touch with Giovanna Bonazzi, whom I have known for many years and worked with when she raced for the team I managed in 1997, Sintesi – Verlicchi”, said Mark Anolik.

The meeting between Mark Anolik and Pippo Marani was an opportunity to relive the atmosphere of those pioneering mountain biking days in the early 90s, of which both were protagonists. The adventurous spirit of the 90s is very similar to Appenninica’s spirit itself, the one that charmed so many participants on the Emilia-Romagna Apennines.

“The format of the race and the route caught my eye, because I lived in Prato when I competed for Diamond Back/Moustique, and I knew the Apennines. I recommend Appenninica to anyone who loves real, hard core mountain biking. There are all the ingredients, from one of the most beautiful areas to great food, friendly people and excellent organisation. A perfect mix that makes Appenninica one of the best events I have participated in almost 40 years of mountain biking”, Mark Anolik told.

And after a 40-year career, Mark Anolik still feels like riding. The American will also be at the start of the 2022 edition (4-10 September), because his strive for competition and desire to improve has remained the same.

“The experience of many years of racing helps you face the tough days, but I like the challenge of competing and I feel it makes me a better athlete” – ended Mark Anolik.