Take someone who goes fast on a bicycle, very fast. Take the number off his back and the UCI rankings and put overflowing bags on his bike and handlebars, and give him 1000 kilometers to cover in one go. Here you have Mattia De Marchi's summary. Speed and resistance, competitive spirit and light-heartedness, fun and professionalism. A constant ambivalence.
Mattia is the boy who in one season travels 40,000 km and 450,000 m D+, 1300 hours in the saddle and a lot of sweat left on the road. Mattia has cycling in his blood and knows how to convey his passion to all those who meet him and are lucky enough - or have the legs - to pedal a few kilometers alongside him. A man with a visionary gaze and a concrete mind, he knows how to carry forward his ambitious projects, making himself loved by everyone and demonstrating day after day that there is nothing more satisfying than living in the name of one's passions.
After a debut in football, like most Italian kids, Mattia discovered cycling at the age of 9 and has never stopped pedaling since that day.
“What pushed me to go cycling was the fantastic image of my older cousins, who at Christmas lunch in 1999 were whizzing by on their little bicycles with helmets and onesies in the brightest colours, Power Rangers style. I immediately understood that that was the path I should have taken too." No, not the Power Ranger one, the cyclist one.
Mattia De Marchi tried to be a real cyclist, a Professional. Complete with a stage victory at the Tour of China wearing the Androni toys uniform in 2016.
«They have been two years full of satisfactions and disappointments, including a broken collarbone 30 days after my first victory in an international competition, and the unexpected call from Androni for an internship, the success as an intern, the phone call for a contract that never came, the thought of giving up everything, a new adventure in a continental team in Austria, a 2017 spent on planes and night trains to be able to go to the races. A mix of emotions, joys and moments of despair, a dream that didn't come true, but which gave me the opportunity to plan another one."
Mattia's dream of making cycling his job does not come true. Dark moments in which the bike almost becomes more of an enemy than a companion. Then, in the distance, a light. The invitation to an endurance race, the Ultracycling Dolomitica (675 km, 16,000 meters of altitude difference, 16 Dolomite passes). And Mattia gets back on the saddle to try this new long-distance experience.
“I started going out at any time of the day, discovering the charm of cycling at night, always taking different routes and it was there that I truly understood how exciting cycling can be”.
One kilometer leads to another and Mattia immediately finds himself at ease on very long distances, wins the famous Dolomite one and then begins to enjoy it.
He switches to dirt and gravel. He began participating in events such as the Atlas Mountain Race in Morocco: a self-sufficient race across the Atlas Mountains, with a route of over 1200 kilometres. Self-sufficiency means that you have to carry everything you need with you. And where, if not in bikepacking bags that allow you to have everything you need with you, organized in a functional, dry way, and – why not? – also aesthetically cool. Because for Mattia cycling is also aesthetics.
Also. Just as it is also ignorant, also extreme, and also relaxing. Like at Jeroboam 2021 , where instead of racing he loaded his bike with goodies and a grill to go and create a refreshment party along the route, to party with his friends from the Enough collective who were busy cycling the 300 km of the Brescia route.
For Mattia there are few really important things: friends, the bike, a bivouac where you can drink mulled wine after several kilometers in the saddle and... the SuperAttack.
“I couldn't do without the Attack. It repairs tires, attaches things and even heals wounds."
Mattia De Marchi is a friend of Miss Grape for this very reason, because for him there is no reason NOT to ride a bicycle. Every occasion, every mood is a right excuse or motivation to get on the bike and cover a few kilometres, which in his case can be quite a bit more than "a few". This is why his 3T Exploro is always fitted with loaded Miss Grape bags. Maybe you go out for a walk starting from and find yourself drinking a pivo.
“I see my future with my bike full of bikepacking bags, as if it were a camper to travel around the world. My main goal is to inspire more and more people to cycle, always. Whether it's to travel, to go to work or for a simple outing in the park. In Italy, unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly difficult and dangerous to cycle on the road. I sincerely hope that this situation improves and we begin to take inspiration from some countries not too far from us that greatly encourage the use of bicycles".