The United States owes a lot of its cycling culture to Italy – from cycling vocabulary to some of its most sought-after brands.
But American mountain bike culture has returned the favor: Twenty-four-hour racing has made its way to Rome. My Italian language skills are non-existent, so I’ll just say this – the official 24 Ore di Roma Twitter account followed me and grabbed my interest. It was the first I’d heard about 24-hour mountain bike races in Italy.
Is this Italy’s first? I have no idea. But it appears the 24 Ore di Roma course actually does go through Rome and follows the format laid down by the original 24 Hours of Canaan – and replicated by … well, just about everyone with a 24-hour race.
As an American mountain bike enthusiast with a taste for long races, I feel a twinge of pride: A format once only the purview of mentally mutated mountain bike perverts has made it to one of the world’s iconic cities – in a country where bikes are beloved.
It makes me wonder how many 24-hour races are going on worldwide. But that’s fodder for a future post.
If you are a mountain biker of means, book your ticket and hotel. Pack your bike. The fun starts Sept. 14-16.
And if you do go, bring your goofiest 24-hour race loungewear, costumes and attitude. Show them how a citizen of the country that birthed 24-hour mountain bike races rolls at 3 a.m.
If anyone who reads this can set me straight about the 24 Ore di Roma and its history, I’d love to hear about it.