Marmo Botticino, fatigue, beers and DJ sets: in Brescia, two wheels go beyond performance

The sky in Brescia is grey, a colour that inspires fatigue and echoes cycling epics. The Marmöl Gravel starts out lashed by scattered raindrops, but warmed by human vapours and hot croissants. On a typical Sunday morning in the Lombardy winter, the clouds don’t disappear, but as the hours go by they show more and more clemency towards the many riders attracted by the Marble Route. They are long-time experts or novices to the gravel universe; above all, they are faithful followers of the convivial cycling philosophy. A unique philosophy, which goes beyond the concept of individual performance, focusing on the shared effort in a marvellous territory and on the celebration of a community that doesn’t need chronometers or podiums, but natural beauty, dialogues, DJ sets and all-embracing emotions. Because a different will is concentrated in these 70 kilometres of dusty roads, fairy-tale scenery and red cascades of colour: the will to have fun. Dancing unicorns and elite cyclists, renowned collectives and eccentric local characters… The fascinating and winding Brescian valleys, puncture after puncture, beer after beer, give space to everyone’s personality, and everyone becomes the protagonist of an event that began on the pedals and ended with dancing bodies and collective vibrations.

I can use three adjectives to describe this day: hard, beautiful and crazy,” says event organiser Niccolò Varanini, “I’ve always wanted to create an event that encapsulates my cycling philosophy, a philosophy that I share with my wife and my closest friends. Marmöl is a synthesis of winter cycling, where you can ride for hours and work really hard, but at the end you can find yourself eating, laughing and partying in a tavern with your fellow companions. This is my way of cycling. I love riding hard tracks and then ending up in settings like this. The Alpini are cooking for everyone and everyone is drinking and dancing despite being tired. People are having fun and that makes me feel good, once again I realise that cycling is much more than just painful performance. Fatigue is of course intrinsic to two wheels, but shared joy and fun are also an essential part of this movement. I’m proud that friends and riders came from all over Italy and had the chance to discover this wonderful territory. I started exploring these roads by chance and necessity. Until some time ago I lived in another area of Brescia, then I moved near here in order to live with my wife and, after overcoming my anxieties about an area that seemed off-limits, I got in touch with the Consortium of Botticino Marble Makers, who have supported this event since its genesis. So many people cross these places on foot, fortunately my friends and I were the first to do it on gravel. Now I’m happy that so many other people also have the opportunity to ride through these fantastic places thanks to Marmöl”

Here is a gallery of the pictures we took during the entire event, a visual summary of this gravel party.

Photo Credits: @Riccardo Romani
Text by: Gianmarco Pacione