#RoadToStelvio2022: Federico conquered the Stelvio Pass in his Aria wheelchair
48 hairpin turns, 25 kilometres and more than 8 hours... In a wheelchair: this is the wheelchair challenge in numbers achieved by Federico Rossi in his Aria Speciale on 24 September 2022.
The Stelvio Pass, the highest paved mountain pass in Italy
The Stelvio Pass is one of the most famous and challenging roads for cyclists, and its Cima Coppi is the highest point of the Giro d'Italia, one of the world's most important cycling races. The Stelvio has always been the scene of some of the Giro's most epic challenges, featuring the various Pantani, Simoni, Bartali and Coppi, after whom the summit is named.
In this case, we're not talking about a cycling tale, but this is the story of Federico Rossi, a parathlete from Vicenza, who reached the summit of Stelvio with only the strength of his arms.
On Saturday, 24 September, Federico's challenge took place, accompanied by Giada, his girlfriend, and his parents, who supported him throughout the more than 25-kilometre route.
At 7 a.m. on the dot, the start time was set, not a race against time, but a personal challenge to overcome his limits.
After more than eight hours, with sleet towards the end, Federico conquered all 48 hairpin bends of the famous pass one by one.
But this challenge starts from much further back...
Federico Rossi has always been passionate about sports, playing martial arts and cycling during childhood. But one of his greatest passions was the mountains, passed down from his parents during their hiking weekends.
But, his life changed dramatically at 14 years old: due to a viral infection that damaged his bone marrow, he lost the use of his legs and started a new life.
The beginning was not easy: the paralysis affected the entire body, but after a long period of rehabilitation, he regained mobility in his arms and abdomen, except for his legs.
This is how the relationship with the wheelchair started, a love-hate relationship that now has found a peaceful resolution.
#RoadToStelvio2022: how Federico's challenge began
His passion for the mountains always remained alive, and the desire to challenge himself to overcome his limits, setting himself the goal of reaching peaks that no one before had ever made in a wheelchair.
Two years ago, he began training both in the gym and on the road. Federico alternated between the two types of training to avoid stressing his tendons and muscles.
There were several specific exercises in the gym and uphill tests in the wheelchair. Over time, Federico learned to listen to his body in detail, understanding when it was time to push or stop.
He was increasingly aware of how important it was to define everything down to the smallest detail.
Aria for Federico Rossi, in search of perfection
Mens sana in corpore sano.
Federico has always been careful about all details, from nutrition to rest.
But, for this challenge, he also needed the right aid to support him in the most reliable and high-performance way possible.
Therefore, he came to Aria to propose his project and find the right partner to complete his preparation for the challenge.
We immediately liked the idea of taking Aria as high as possible, so we decided to get involved in Federico's challenge by providing the lightest and smoother wheelchair possible.
Together with Stefano, Federico studied the best set-up for our Speciale, the lightest Aria wheelchair at only 3.9 kg.
Coincidences don't happen by chance: at that time, we were testing a pair of carbon wheels provided by the French company Corima. Therefore, we proposed to Corima to support Federico in his challenge, and they immediately joined the initiative.
In this way, Federico was ready for the challenge in every detail, from his condition to the technical equipment.
Next challenge: go higher and higher!
The excitement for the challenge accomplished, the massive support received, and the desire to inspire people to overcome their own limits: all these factors made him think of new exciting challenges.
In fact, when Federico reached the summit, he declared: "I'm already thinking about the new challenge".
Thank you, Federico... And see you at the next #wheelchairchallenge!
Watch the video to listen to his words and live the epic moments of his challenge