Marmöl Gravel philosophy is encapsulated in the testimonies of its protagonists

Marmöl faces have sweat and colours, grimaces and smiles, sighs and sounds. They are mouths that communicate and eyes that admire. They are legs that push and hands that flutter. Carnival or New Year’s Eve, in the end there is no difference, because the vibrations this event generates are reminiscent of those of a long-awaited celebration, of an atypical and special day, capable of releasing emotional sparks and creating indelible memories. Cycling among the Botticino quarries finds its essence and spreads it among believers who have come from all over, ready to explore sensations that manage to be both individual and collective. Because Marmöl is exploration. Territorial exploration. Self-exploration. An exploration of the gravel community.

Rider or artist, photographer or anaesthetist, along the Via del Marmo any kind of categorisation or status loses its meaning, because cycling is sublimated into a pasta and beans, a beer, a Spice Girls song. This is Marmöl, these are its faces and these are their testimonies.

Mattia De Marchi (rider – enough cycling collective)

“When we ride in Italy, we tend to trivialise our surroundings, because every day we can admire beautiful places. Events like Marmöl serve this purpose, they allow us to discover scenery like the Via del Marmo that we would probably have struggled to explore on our own. I like being competitive and pushing, but in these situations, among these quarries, I can really enjoy the bike and the people around it. I need these days, these moments of celebration that I won’t forget: they will give me strength when I find myself cycling without anyone around somewhere in the world… There was a time when cycling for me was just competitive. Today things have changed and, paradoxically, I go faster than before because I enjoy it. I feel lucky and I am happy that almost all the members of my Enough collective are here. On days like this everyone has their role during and, above all, after the ride”

Emanuele Molari (bikepacker)

“Cycling is synonymous with fun, although it is often not a foregone equation. Time and pace don’t count when you have the chance to see incredible places. Fun is the real victory, that’s my thought. I’m from Brescia, but I was not familiar with the Botticino area. When you manage to penetrate this area and cycle through these quarries, you are overwhelmed by the beauty and grandeur of these crazy places. And they are so close to my home…. I travel a lot on two wheels, but I prefer to do it with other people. If I travel alone, I get tired within two to three weeks: I need a beer and a chat, whether with a stranger I meet on the road or with a friend. And Marmöl is the perfect place to experience these feelings”

Cento Canesio (writer / painter / cyclist)

“I have a daily relationship with my bicycle. I use it to go to work appointments, to go to the grocery store, this summer I will use it to get to Croatia… I always have my gearbox in my bag. As an artist I feel that two wheels are somehow connected to my inspiration. Because cycling makes your mind feel good and allows you to observe an infinity of details. I had never been to these areas, thanks to Marmöl I had the chance to discover an environment I didn’t know and to observe these valleys. In one section of the track everything suddenly turned yellow, the quarries surrounded me, I felt like I had changed glasses…. A real colour explosion. I am not new to the community factor, as I have a bike polo background. It seems almost obvious to me, but the fact that a cross-community is being created around the gravel movement is extremely cool”

Chiara Redaschi (rider and photographer – enough cycling collective)

“It’s my first time here and I’m regretting not having my camera with me…. I would have stopped at every corner. Today, however, I came to ride and decided to enjoy the event completely, leaving the lens alone. Marmöl is the basis of contemporary cycling, it has a vital importance, it manages to convey the most precious values of two wheels. So many of my friends only ride on the road, they only think about the workout and the time, but cycling is much more than that. Today our collective had a lot of mechanical problems and a lot of punctures, but we were together, we faced everything laughing and joking. I’m also pleased to see a large representation of women, I’m sincerely glad, because so many of these girls have recently discovered the gravel universe and also thanks to events like this they will continue to ride”

Federico Damiani (rider and Team Manager – enough cycling collective)

“We’ve known Niccolò and the Marmöl organisation for a long time. We enjoy riding together, we have the same philosophy. We’re usually involved in competitive events, but days like this one make us realise how limiting races dedicated only to results are. If we only experience cycling through the lens of competition, the sport inevitably loses its value. I believe that cycling is a means to enhance human capabilities and to discover new territories. It’s a cultural tool. That’s why our collective is organising an event in Veneto on the trail of the First World War… It’s great when cycling becomes a way to discover something different and to be together. Gravel is evolving more and more, many institutions like the UCI are taking an interest in its progress. It’s up to us to be present at as many events as possible: it’s the only way to give this movement the right direction”

Steve Ude (professional MTB instructor / former pro MTB rider)

“I have a past and a present in MTB. Although two wheels are the same, the situation here is completely different. The gravel world has a strong sense of community, which an event like Marmöl manages to manifest and unleash. I chatted the whole day, enjoyed beautiful scenery and took a million photos…. Sure, I often felt under-paced, but during the ride I never thought about personal performance. I talked to so many people, exchanged opinions and admired the quarries. Exploration is the central theme of cycling, it’s its essence. Here I was dazzled by crazy light changes, I went from the forest to hypnotic red quarries: I enjoyed a wonderful experience. And I think it is increasingly necessary to experience two wheels like this, for me as well as for all those who are learning about them at this time in history. I hope that the MTB universe understands this too”

Photo Credits: @Riccardo Romani
Text by: Gianmarco Pacione