printed in Article for Bici da montagna.
I first heard about the 24H of Finale Mountain Bike Race in April of 2002 when I met the race director, Mauro Bertolotto, in Fruita Colorado (USA). I knew nothing about this race but I was excited to come to Italy and see if this race would be like the other 24-hour races in the United States. I never imagined how much fun I would have and how organized and professional the race would be.
When I arrived in Italy, Mauro and his staff set me up with a camping tent to set up at the expo area and I set about getting ready for the race. Then I was off to pre ride the race course. I found the race course to be more technical than many of our 24 hour race courses. I thought there would be little time to recover and rest as a solo racer. As it turned out I did not find the course too difficult or demanding.
I started my first several laps of the race feeling very comfortable and relaxed. I was riding faster than I had planned but knew I would slow down on the night laps, as I wanted to stay consistent with my lap times.
I was amazed with how many spectators stayed up throughout the night and cheered for me. The attention that I received kept me going throughout the race and helped motivate me every single lap. The fans in Italy are incredible.
I was so excited about the people yelling and cheering for me that my last lap was my most important. I wanted everyone to see me finish the 24 hours. Even a crash that broke my foot and left me with some pretty good cuts on my face could not stop me from finishing my 31st lap. I am so happy with this race that I plan to come back next year and see all of my new friends in Italy.
I would encourage anyone interested in 24 hour racing to participate in this event.