In 1986, a small group of Colorado motorcyclists tried to ride as many mountain passes as they could over four days. Since then, “compressing as many passes as possible into the classic four-day motorcycle getaway became an obsession,” said founding Route Master John Metzger of Boulder, who has organized annual Pass Rides ever since.
In his quest to develop a universal criterion for this evolving form of sport-touring, Metzger was first drawn to the Iron Butt approach, “but soon realized that fatigue-riddled riding at high speed at night in a straight line on Interstates wasn’t my cup of tea. For me, it’s all about making turns.”
In 2006, Metzger celebrated 20 years of Pass Rides by organizing the first Cinquantapassi ride (50 passes). Moto-journalist extraordinaire Brian Catterson took part, documenting the Rocky Mountain adventure in his article, “The Accidental Tourist,” Motorcyclist Magazine, November ’06. After a Ducati-sponsored junket to Italy and Slovenia for the enduro-style Centopassi in ’07, Metzger and riding buddies Paul DiMarchi and Jon Simisky (who owned Northern Colorado BMW-Ducati at the time) created a fusion of past approaches to establish a new format – the Motomarathon.
“The Motomarathon is about riding as many twisties as possible, along the most scenic routes, all day long, for four days,” explained Metzger. “Through a series of self-recorded checkpoints using digital or cell phone cameras, riders attempt 400- to 500-mile routes each day. They have 24 hours to finish, so there’s plenty of time to complete the routes within posted speed limits.”
Metzger formed The Motomarathon Association as the sanctioning body for this new sport, and its inaugural Colorado Motomarathon will take place June 12-15. Routes will remain secret until the evening before each day’s ride.
“Just finishing is what this ride is about, not speed,” said Metzger. “We envision a series of organized Motomarathons around the country, giving riders the chance to ‘chase points’ by participating in as many events as they can, with an overall annual award given to individuals and teams.”
Ducati North America will sponsor this year’s event. “The state-of-the-art machines for this kind of mountain riding are Ducati’s Multistrada, Hypermotard and Monster,” said Michael Lock, CEO of Ducati North America. “These bikes were built for Motomarathon, and we’re very excited to help support this highest form of sport-touring.”
Ducati’s “Hyper Truck,” or the famous Duc Truck, will join the event, doling out demo rides to prospective Ducati-mounted pass riders. “Carving corners all day long over majestic mountain passes is what these bike are all about,” said Metzger. “We’re honored to have Ducati become involved in forming this new street-legal sport that seems to be attracting and challenging a growing number of today’s more experienced riders.”
To join the Association and sign up for the Colorado Motomarathon, please visit www.motomarathon.com.