Sabina Edwards shares her experience of this year’s Volpaia Race 2019 in the beautiful Chianti region of Italy. We also take the opportunity to hear from Stef Cree and Zack Leader of 3223 Racing about Gravity Bike racing and the World Championship.
Three days of freerides and races in the wonderful location of Volpaia in the heart of Chianti, Italy. As well as offering freeride for all disciplines, this event included the IIDA Inline World Cup, the Gravity Bike World Championship, the FISR Inline Championship as well the Italian FISR Championship races for both downhill skateboard and luge. Quite a lot of responsibility for one man, Riccardo Aldinucci.
After 10 years of trying, Riccardo finally realised his dream; to create a race in Tuscany, near his home. Ten long years of trying and failing to gain permission to close the road. Then he finds this amazing hill near Radda in Chianti, with a start point in the tiny hamlet of Volpaia. The authorities and institutions caught his vision, put faith in his project and, after a test run in October 2018, accepted the race and gave him the permissions needed to get this show on the road!
He worked stoically to achieve an amazing and well-run event. Next year, Riccardo hopes to change the date to nearer summer (it rained most of the 3 days of the event!) and is also looking to apply for IDF accreditation.
I was in Spain as part of our ‘let’s run away and live in a van for a bit’ tour of Europe, when I realised that my plan to attend a few of the ‘Euro Tour’ downhill events wasn’t likely to happen. We’d stayed too long in the south of Portugal and Spain and, with other commitments preventing us from getting back to the north in time, I turned to Facebook – that font of all knowledge – in the desperate hope of finding something I could attend. How relieved was I, then, to come across Riccardo’s event – Volpaia International Race & Freeride 2019 was happening a week or so after we were planning to get to Italy. Serendipity!
Volpaia is a tiny hamlet which sits on the hill overlooking the vast and beautiful Chianti vinyards. With, I understand, only around 24 inhabitants this village is, nevertheless, steeped in history and home to important viticultural families. We had little time to investigate the village but did partake of an tasty lunch at the fabulous restaurant, La Boggeta di Volpaia.
With your ticket for the race and freeride, you received free camping in Radda in Chianti, at the bottom of the hill and near the La Loggia del Chianti restaurant which was offering a 10Euro menu each mealtime for the riders. Of course, no event is complete without a party with live music.
Sk8bites were available on day one for parts and sustenance was catered for with fresh, chunky bread sarnies of salami or prosciutto and a bar serving up with best local brew!
We arrived on Thursday evening at La Loggia del Chianti, it was raining. We hung about the bar, a beer each, reading until Riccardo arrived and set-up for registration. Once all that was done we drove up to Volpaia to park for the night. Camping was free for the riders down in the stadium grounds in Radda but in the van we would have had to park in the carpark and either drive off early or pay. Volpaia had a free carpark and it was right next to La Boggia and only a few meters from the start of the track. Much more convenient!
Friday was freeride day. This was the only thing I could affort on the tight budget we have whilst travelling. But that’s fine. Still newish to the luge, and no way was I hitting that road on my skateboard, it was good to just enjoy the ride, fairly confident I wouldn’t hurt myself too much.
During our few days in Italy we have been somewhat appalled at the conditions of the roads – they are really bad! So I was delighted to see that this hill was actually in fairly good nick. There was a dodgy bit near the bottom but that was easily avoided and the lumpy bits just made it a little more fun when, at speed, you literally took off! That being the reason I wasn’t using the skateboard – oh, yeah, and the fact I still can’t stop properly!
Longboard Girls Crew Italy were in attendance and shredding the hill! It was super cool to meet them and be inspired by them!