Motomarathon moves to Winter Park
September 1, 2016
The 8th annual Motomarathon will take place beginning at Winter Park Resort from September 9-12.
The Motomarathon is an endurance tour that takes place throughout Colorado's mountain passes over four days. Each day will start and end at Winter Park Resort. The Motomarathon is not just a ride through the park: it takes a skilled rider, long rides each day and many mountain passes to be competitive.
Criteria for the Motomarathon requires long distance, multiday sport touring. According to the Motomarathon website, the four-day tour is designed for highly experienced motorcycle riders who seek to explore the "twistiest" roads with the best scenery around the state. The planned routes are kept secret until the evening before the tour begins. Riders then have 24 hours to complete the route between start/stop points, using digital or cell phone cameras to photograph their assigned badge numbers with designated landmarks and checkpoints in the background. Motomarathon officials will record the checkpoints at the end of each day and will maintain standings of total accumulated checkpoints. Riders can earn credit for any and all days of any official event. The purpose of the checkpoints is to assure that each rider has completed the route without taking any shortcuts. Riders accumulate points through checkpoints during each competition and throughout their lifetime of participation. Each day begins and ends in Winter Park, and competitors travel 300-400 miles per day.
Adam Gosey, a Grand County resident and board member of the East Grand Fire District, has been riding in the Motomarathon since it became an official event in 2008. Gosey has been riding motorcycles since he was about fourteen, and now likes the challenge of endurance riding over Colorado's strenuous mountain passes. Gosey said he likes how the event draws a crowd from all across the country. He also enjoys seeing the same faces come back in addition to new ones each year. Gosey is pleased with the event now beginning in Winter Park because it makes it easy for him to attend. According to the Motomarathon website, Gosey ranked eighth overall for the 2015 season and twelfth for lifetime checkpoints with 108 completed thus far.
Motomarathon founder John Metzger originally started the event in Boulder. He recently moved to Grand County with his wife and moved the annual event here as well. Metzger said the location is great because it is close enough to Denver, but still in the mountains. He first had the idea of an endurance-ride competition in 1986 when he realized the best vacations he could have involved riding through the state he already lived in. Metzger also likes a little competition, so he began challenging himself to see how many Colorado mountain passes he could ride over during his weekends and long weekends off from work. He would set out from Boulder with the intent to accumulate as many mountain passes and miles as possible before he had to be back to work the following week. He then began putting together a small community of riders throughout the state and country, and in 2008 Metzger hosted the first official Motomarathon.
Metzger finds that it is best to hold the Motomarathon later in the summer because areas tend to be less crowded.
"This endurance motorcycle tour is scheduled over the best long weekend of the year, taking advantage of the waning tourist season right after Labor Day," said Metzger. "The kids are back in school, the RVs are back in the barn, the roads are clear of gravel, and the days are still warm, dry and light."
Metzger is also the author of a book, Motorcycling Through Midlife, which shows baby boomers how to manage the "dangerous adolescent urges" of midlife crisis through his personal journey on a motorcycle. Metzger said he calls on his generation to approach motorcycling with the wisdom of adulthood in favor of the rebel mindset of immortal youth, and with more of a sporting soul than a fashion statement. His own journey evolves beyond the leathered-thug lifestyle and laid-back riding position to a more skilled and safety-conscious search for "Nirvana Moments" of wellbeing and Zen-like buzz on more modern motorcycles. "I wrote this book for my fellow baby boomers who are thinking about taking up motorcycling, or already have," said Metzger. "Though it's a dangerous hobby fueled by subconscious adolescent cravings, motorcycling can be the finest expression of youthful joy and freedom if approached with the wisdom of midlife, and before we get too old."
There are many factors involved with long endurance motorcycles rides and plenty of opportunity for mechanical issues. Motomarathon competitors rely on a tightknit community of riders to help each other when something fails mechanically on the road.
Riders are responsible for their own bike, gear, and camera. They are also responsible for lodging meals, tools and luggage. Riders will meet at Back Bowl Soup Company in the Winter Park Resort Village at the beginning and end of each day.