I'm Italian born and raised in Rome, the eternal city. Living far from the mountains, in a big city, where football and motorsports are the main and only focus, is hard. In a country with such beautiful mountains and breathtaking trails, it is agony waiting the whole year just for those two weeks of holiday during the summer.
Since we do not have an iconic history in mountain biking, especially in downhill, or famous athletes, you end up playing football and supporting Valentino Rossi. I haven't forgotten Paola Pezzo of course, but I was just 9 years old when she won her Olympic Gold Medal. That was more than 20 years ago and millennials probably have never even heard about her victories.
Last year I finally decided that RedBull TV, YouTube and Pinkbike weren't enough to feed my love for knobby tires and I took a train to Val di Sole (actually from Rome was three trains for a total 9-hour trip). It was so AMAZING that I came back again this year. Last year was amazing not just because it was Italy. I'm sure any other UCI Downhill World Cup venue would have had the same effect on me.
Walking through the pits, watching the mechanics setting bikes, seeing the humble riders just a few meters away from you preparing to race, thousands of people coming all the way up to north Italy just to walk down the track, cheering and making noise for the love of the sport.
Downhilll is still different from other mainstream-sport worlds. You can easily stand at the finish line watching the last riders coming down the track on the screen next to the Athertons, and that's awesome.
So this year I decided to come back, driving all the way up from Milan, just for the race day.
The rolling chains, the fork and shock sounds, the chainsaws, was all I came for.
Descending the track, changing position one rider a time, cheering and sharing moments with the fans made my day.
I wanted to enjoy the show, and contribute as much as I could for every mountain bike lover around the globe who devours any piece of video, picture or content around the web to feed their passion.
I took few shots, hoping it will be good enough to satisfy those who were unable to attend this round.
Dedicated to my friend Aiden, that last year came all the way from London, for the same purpose. To our passion, against all boundaries and limits.