By Kurt Sunderbruch
AJ said, “You’ve been riding a long time. You certainly must have some stories about all that riding. Tell those stories.” (maybe not an exact quote, but close enough). This is my best story. It explains more about my riding experience, and what sort of rider I have become than any other single story. However, this will take multiple editions to tell the whole story, so tighten up your chin strap, make yourself comfortable, and come along for the ride.
When Ducati introduced the Multistrada for the 2003 model year, they decided to create an event to promote the Multistrada’s function and name; many roads. They created four-day, time-speed-distance rally which featured challenging roads, great scenery, and good food, and title the event, Centopassi (100 passes).
Ducati worked hard to promote the event and the bike, inviting moto-journalists to come along and report on the experience. These reports caught my attention. Four days of riding like a loon through the mountains of Europe? Oh hell, yes! I may never race MotoGP, or even the Baja 1000, but according to the rules on the website, if I show up with a license, a bike, and an entry fee, they’ll let me run! What could go wrong?
At the outset, the biggest thing that was going wrong was my commitment. I would dream about entering, and then get overwhelmed by the challenges of convincing my wife, booking the time and the trip, arranging a bike to ride, yada-yada. Each year I would talk a good game about entering the following year, then lose my nerve. It was always, “next year.” In 2005 I told a friend about this, and he suggested that I commit to a charity that I would run the Centopassi as a fundraiser, with the idea being that having made that commitment that I could not back out. I would have to go because others were depending on me.
No escape. Brilliant! I found charity that focused on grassroots economic development in the third world, focused on the education of women and girls. This is important to me because research shows that this education is a key driver in reducing birthrates, and improving household wealth formation, meaning that people’s lives improve as a result of the work of this charity. That made it easy to tell the story and raise funds.
Having identified the charity, the next step was to meet with them to discuss it, and to come up with a plan for how I would promote them, and how they would promote what I was doing. They admitted that they thought it was the craziest thing they had ever heard, and as the cliché goes, “just crazy enough to work.”