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The Ducati Globetrotter 90 Boot Camp

June 17, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

We all have bucket lists. Places we wish to travel or things we want to do in life before we pass on. High on my own list was a trip to italy. I envisioned myself simply enjoying delicious food, drinking wine, and taking in the countryside via motorcycle or scooter. Nothing major. Last week I got that chance---if only for a day---and it nothing short of surreal. I’ll definitely be going back for more. 
 
For, those that know me know my enthusiasm for motorcycling borders on pure obsession. My eyes light up and my smile grows large when motorcycles are around or are being discussed. These machines have fundamentally altered my existence and that has been a great thing. So when I got a call from Ducati to be one of the 14 finalists in their Globetrotter 90 rally, I jumped at the opportunity to prove myself in an arena that I have been practicing my skills in for some time now: adventure motorcycling.  
 
At Ducati’s request, myself and 13 others arrived in Florence, Italy. We all remained focused and ready to show one another no quarter for a chance to become one of the final seven that would relay a Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro around the world. Quickly, our bloodthirsty competitiveness had been replaced with camaraderie, teamwork, and new found friendships. Something I have found to be quite common in the adventure motorcycle community. I wonder if Ducati anticipated this because I am sure it’s not going to make their decision process any easier. Especially since we all did quite well in our riding trials. 
 
Regardless of which seven riders are chosen, it has been an honor to have represented the United States in this celebration of Ducati’s 90th anniversary. At the end of the day, I walked away with 13 new friends from all over the world, my first visit to Italy and a taste of Ducati’s ability to produce a truly amazing adventure motorcycle. Me oh my the Multistrada 1200 Enduro is fantastic bike that was simply delicious to ride both on and off-road.
 
Below is a bit more about what Ducati had to say about our crazy day. 
 
The magnificent Castello di Nipozzano, in the Chianti hills, provided a stunning backdrop to the rider selection bootcamp for Globetrotter 90, the round-the-world relay organized by Ducati to celebrate the company's 90 years of success.
 
IMG_7393Our steeds for the day. The Multistrada 1200 Enduro
 
Fourteen finalists from all over the world (India, Australia, United States, Malaysia, Chile, Colombia, Italy, the UK, Germany and many others) took part in off-road riding sessions and tests on the Multistrada 1200 Enduro in a breath-taking natural setting that is also the venue for the Ducati DRE Enduro riding courses.
 
Too many selfies and a whole lot of laughs. Too many selfies and a whole lot of laughs.
 
At the start of this tough day the candidates competed in an (on-foot) orienteering trial in the grounds around the Castello to check out their navigational and problem-solving skills.
 
DRE_END_20160614_0549Legendary Dakar rider and our lead instructor, Beppe Gualini, preparing us for orienteering.
DRE_END_20160614_0627RUN!!!! DRE_END_20160614_0767Beacons were hidden in the most random places. A keen eye is the key to success. DRE_END_20160614_0781Victor might be small but he is mighty and pretty quick. Never underestimate the little guy.
DRE_END_20160614_0044GPS can fail. Maps do not. Any smart adventurer will carry a paper map and compass.
IMG_7360It was a warm day to be running around but hey, we were in Italy at a castle. Not complaining at all.
 
Following this physical test, the group mounted their bikes and, under the guidance of Beppe Gualini, went through a wide range of off-road riding challenges.
 
DRE_END_20160614_1319My buddy Fonzie gave me a cool riding buff / bandana with a world map on it. As a fellow adventure rider, the point is to shade in places you have conquered on the map.
DRE_END_20160614_1943Wheeeeeeee!!!!!! Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro
DRE_END_20160614_1440The finalists head into the trails of Tuscany DRE_END_20160614_1474Intrepid Adventurers. The Ducati Globetrotter 90 Finalists
IMG_7394One of our awesome motorcycle guardians and instructors.
DRE_END_20160614_0171Take a moment and hug your motorcycles people. For everything they do for us, they need love too.
IMG_7384Riding in the Tuscan rain was unbelievable!
 
Following this test of their riding capabilities (made all the more difficult by the rain that greeted them as they entered the woods), the candidates enjoyed a brief rest and some great Italian food before getting stuck into the second part of the day.
 
FFXT7375Lunch: Caprese at the Nipozanno Castle FFXT7381Lunch: Rigatoni with Asparagus creme and parmesan
 
In the afternoon the competitors were put through a timed tests of their abilities in wheel-changing, puncture repair, brake pad replacement and handlebar/lever assembly: the tests were tough, but the skills are a must for solo globe-trotting.
 
Together with the mechanical trials, the aspiring Globetrotters also had to show they could be confident in front of the camera by putting together a brief video presentation and posing for a photo shoot.

DRE_END_20160614_2764Changing wheels was the hardest part of technical training. DRE_END_20160614_2751DRE_END_20160614_2751
FFXT7441Learning the ins and outs of the Multistrada's braking system. DRE_END_20160614_2501DRE_END_20160614_2501 FFXT7478Tire spoons FFXT7447Patching tires
 
Only seven candidates will make it through the final selection process, but all of them have already demonstrated passion, tenacity and preparedness, not to mention inspiring team spirit.
 
This is heterogeneous, multi-cultural group immediately succeeded in getting on and having fun together, establishing a great rapport that made the day a rewarding one.
 
DRE_END_20160614_2888New found friends and one group of amazing adventurers.
 
The selected Globetrotters will be announced soon, while the departure of our first round-the-world hero or heroine is set for 4th July, from the Ducati factory in Borgo Panigale, Bologna.
 
Follow the #globetrotter90 trip on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. 
 
Photos by Sam Bendall and Pietro Bianchi

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