MOLVENO FOR OCR LOVERS – Alessandro Bettega, President Molveno Holiday
Ciao Alessandro, thank you for taking your time for this interview. Maybe you can introduce yourself quickly to our followers?
My name is Alessandro Bettega, I am 40 years old, and I am the owner of one of the oldest hotels (family-owned) in the region, which is over 120 years old. I am also since now 7 years the president of the Tourism & Hospitality Board “Molveno Holiday”.
Molveno Holiday supports most of the local activities linked to tourism field like accommodation facilities, artisans, commercial activities, restaurants, cableway, Sitm, the City to organize events and push the marketing campaigns for them. I am a rally driver by passion, although I competed as a professional until 2009 in the World Junior Rally Championship.
Molveno is the birthplace of the X-WARRIOR obstacle race. What did you expect when facing the idea of a natural obstacle race for the first time?
When I first met the X-WARRIOR team and approached the idea of a natural obstacle race it was clear that this would perfectly fit to us. We could show and promote our natural beauties, and the landscape, the lakes, the shores, the forest, the mountains.
Molveno is in a natural reserve which make us very much care about nature and sustainability.
Since the first edition X-WARRIOR developed a lot. Where do you see the race now compared to the very first year – and maybe also compared to other trail run or other OCR events?
Together we developed the race constantly over the years. We are now able to build new spectacular obstacles for athletes and spectators. We still have room for further improvement; since the very beginning athletes and spectators have always been highly appreciated – which is for us the most important thing.
It is also difficult to compare it to regular trail running events or other obstacle events as X-Warrior is unique.
Molveno is also recognized for its stunning landscape which gets smoothly integrated in the racetrack. Is there any obstacle on which you are proud of?
I think we have a lot of unique obstacle. I like the natural river, to approach with the current against, the big rope, the so-called WATER FALLL CLIMB that comes off the clip and the big wooden triangle, the MOLVENO PYRAMID at the shore.
The high number of natural obstacles of course also requires a lot of safety measures. Tell us how you keep all participants safe and why this aspect of the race is so important to you?
It is simple! We want that the athletes participate in the race without thinking about their safety. They should enjoy the trails and the obstacles completely. As a rally-driver I also know how important safety is and how mentally this aspect influences the athlete.
Therefore, our safety and security plan are developed by experts: doctors, paramedics and the fire fighters.
Not only the landscape makes the X-WARRIOR in Molveno so special but also the combination of waterfalls, floating bridge, Europe’s longest monkey bar etc. How do you develop those ideas together with the X-WARRIOR team and how do you then bring them to life?
All the ideas are created in the beginning by the X-WARRIOR team and then discussed. As the whole team is so creative, we mostly must limit the ideas and concepts and agree to focus on the most important ones. Of course, our let´s say world-class obstacles the longest TARZAN SWING as well as the MONSTER MONKEY BAR are impressive and we are proud of them.
Stefano, Gianni and the local team in Molveno will take those ideas and built the obstacles. At the beginning we had of course no experience here but over the years we improved a lot. Also, a lot of retired workers here in Molveno supported us with wood carving, etc. and used their skills to support us. With such a strong team everything ran smoothly.
Molveno Team is made of many people. How many are involved in the preparation and how many are usually on the race day? We assume that there are some unique personalities who come together to create the race.
We have two persons in charge for everything and then small teams from 4 to 10 people. But we also have huge support from the local community here in Molveno and companies also allow us to ask their workers for support.
My role is to support our Team and to create a confident working atmosphere. I would like to point out that, during the race day, the indispensable presence and collaboration of the entire group of volunteers, about 50 young people from Molveno and neighboring villages, who help us during the delicate moment of the competition; it would be impossible to organize this type of event without this kind of support. All our volunteers come from various associations in the surrounding area.
Besides the X-WARRIOR, Molveno is also an outdoor-sports paradise all year round – from winter sports to hiking, mountain biking and watersports. Maybe you can give our readers some advice how to spend two or three days after the race in the area?
Easy! You can do a lot of things around here. Two or three days is of course not enough to discovery everything here, but still a good start. The first day after the race I would spend the day at the lake to relax a little bit. Maybe walk or run for recovery around the lake (it’s a approx. 12km distance) in the morning and look at the stunning views and landscape. There you can stop at the Fortini di Napoleno for a quick lunch, be back to Molveno at the early afternoon and rent of the newest electric boats there. They are totally quiet and so enjoy the lake in the silence and relax. After that little boat trip, you can stop at the L’Aquilone for some local ice cream.
In the evening I would walk the in the city center and the pedestrian area, checking out the local bars, have a typical aperitif (Spritz!) and then enjoy the dinner in the hotels/apartments or restaurants. And normally after dinner there will be some live music in the city center.
For the second day I would rent a mountain bike and explore Altopiano Della Paganella, which is full of trails with a focus on Enduro and All-Mountain conditions – but you can also find a downhill area there. There is also a very easy trail for kids and beginners in Molveno. You can stop at one of the “rifugios” (mountain cabins) to have some lunch and then continue. In the evening I would relax in the lake or public swimming pool with the fun park for kids and then of course go for a walk in the city center and have some good food.
On the third day you can get up early and start for a hiking tour, e.g., to reach the Rifugio Croz Dell’Altissimo in the heart of the Brenta Dolomiti mountains and have a lunch there. In the afternoon you can push your adrenaline and try paragliding with one of the local guides.
Italy is the country of good taste, famous all over the world. Where can athletes get the best food and coffee before and especially after the race? Any recommendations?
There are some restaurants and shelters where you can just stop by and have a little break with coffee and food. All of them are good so, it is hard to pick one or two. Anyway, you won’t be disappointed. If you want just a drink, Imperia, La Botte or Cinastic bars are the right places.
Your father was a successful and well-known rally driver, and you share the same passion. Do you have any special plans for this year?
I will participate at the Italian Race Day Championship. It’s an event organized by Pirelli where you drive mostly on gravel roads and I will race there with a Skoda R5 rally car. And in 2022 I have some big plans and try to fulfill my big dream and participate in the Dakar Rally. It is still a secret, but I am working on it.
How much did your father influence you – not only on the rally sports, but also on the passion of sports off the beaten track?
Unfortunately, my father passed away when I was only four years old, but I think he influenced me a lot mostly through our common DNA. Throughout my childhood the videos and pictures at home also remembered me what rally sport is about. Growing up without a father I have always tried to be independent as a child, which then of course built and sharpened my character.
Did this also influence you on giving the X-WARRIOR the chance to start in Molveno, was the race concept is also close to nature, completely off-road and a tough challenge for all participants?
Yes, I think I am a competitive person, and it was a challenge to organize the race for the first time here in Molveno. So, it become important for me personally as I am always looking for new challenges.
Now looking some months ahead, what would you like to see on the 15th and 16th of May 2021 after that tough year of 2020?
I just would like to see the race taking place in Molveno this year and meet all athletes again– that’s all.
Thank you for your time. We are really looking forward to meeting you, your team and the X-Warrior team, mid of May.