The MTB world is divided in two: the competition part and the amateurs one. Apparently, the same happens in any sport but that’s not the case. Often MTB amateurs don’t know anything about racing. Probably racing or just chilling out in the countryside are very different stories, in fact the riding technique is a huge factor: you can’t race if your technique is bad. However, it is a fact that after Paola Pezzo’s years, MTB became a very popular sport, although not a mainstream phenomenon. We’d love to know more about racers’ life today and so we spoke to a big name in the sport: Marco Aurelio Fontana, many times Italian Champion, Olympic bronze medal in London and much more.

Movimentore: Your achievements speak for you, but numbers are just the end of the story. You began racing early in life, then you’ve grown up, matured, changed lifestyle, friends, made up a family. How Fontana as a child lived the bike and how he lives the bike today?

Fontana: Many things change in life, but my attitude to riding changed very little. As it was when I was a child, riding is much fun, a lot of healthy competition. I still love riding at the front, but I certainly value more sharing the experience now. As a child I liked riding with my brother and getting older with my friends, but now I fully understand the deep meaning of sharing a beautiful experience. So I appreciate more riding out with people, now.

MTB Fontana WorldCup Cairns

M: In MTB the racing season is very intense. I bet focusing on goals only would make you freaking out: how do you balance things?

F: I usually I schedule the entire season, identifying top form phases, holidays, relaxing weekends and days when I am unreachable. The elite athlete life is much more stressful now than 10 years ago. In fact, competitions are the same, but stress factors increased a lot. Social medias, interviews, photo and video shoots increased dramatically and I consider them part of my job. Setting boundaries and goals is very important to me: I want to reach my goals, but I need my path to be smooth and beautiful, I need it hard but rewarding. From a more general point of view, it isn’t all about winning. I want to share my passion and raise emotions in people. I can’t see how you can deal with life if you think at results only.

M: I found the Fontana Diaries on the Red Bull site: the memories of a trip on trails between friends. It was a good idea, would you do it again?

F: Wasn’t that cool? Sure I would, but next time with no cameras! The project was about showing the beauty of places “in the backyard”, so we had to film, take pictures and register everything. We wanted to show people they don’t need to go to Whistler to live the sport. However, should I do it again tomorrow, I’d like to be free in a bike-friend only experience.

M: Do you train on your own or you have some sparring partners?

F: I often train alone, although sometimes I train with other athletes in specific circumstances (training camps, or programmed training sessions with competitors). Playing competition with others during training is thrilling and stimulating, it’s definitely a positive thing. You put your friends under observation and assess how they ride, where they push and gain, where they lose ground. It’s about sharing as well.

M: You mentioned friendship, I guess many friends of yours take part to the MTB world. Do you have any friend who doesn’t understand anything about cycling?

F: Nice one! Yes, Davide Rizzi: a very close friend who didn’t understand anything about cycling until recently… because I eventually resulted contagious! I have been infected with the virus of classic morbikes and cars, though…

M: Did you ever wonder what would you do if you weren’t a pro rider?

F: The pilot, definitely. On cars or motorbikes, I don’t have a preference, but I’d have certainly tried the pilot career.

M: If I say, point-blank, #roadtorio what happens in your mind?

F: I visualize the finish line and a round medal. Deep inside me there’s much more, but point-blank is all I can think about.

M: Thank you so much and good luck!

F: Cheers buddy!

Foto Credit: Michele Mondini

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