Jay Petervary on his recent ride of the AZT 750. Photo from

Thanks to the growing interest in ultra endurance mountain bike races like the Tour Divide, the man behind Salsa’s Italian distributor is bringing ultra mountain bike racing to Italy. Calling the new race the Liguria Divide, Mauro Bertolotto has invited Jay and Tracey Petervary to come to Italy and benchmark the new course. While the 311 mile course will be quite a bit shorter than the Tour Devide route, it will feature a whopping 55,800 feet of climbing as the trail follows the path of the Alta Via MTB Stage Race over the Ligurian Alps in Northern Italy.

The inaugural Liguria Divide will be held in June 2015, with the Petervary’s time and performance to be used as a benchmark so riders know what to expect. Both Jay and Tracy feel extremely honored to get the opportunity with Jay stating, “New routes get established once, and I can only imagine the feeling I will get of being on a new route, in a new-to-me country, that will stick around for years to come. I am stoked!”

From Salsa:

Petervarys to Benchmark Liguria Divide: New Italian Mountain Bike Ultra

Bloomington, MN — On June 14, 2014, American ultra-racers Jay and Tracey Petervary of Victor, Idaho, will take the start line to benchmark a new Italian mountain bike ultra race, the Liguria Divide.

The first official running of the Liguria Divide will take place in June 2015. The 311-mile course features a daunting 55,800 feet of climbing and follows the route of the Alta Via MTB Stage Race through the Ligurian Alps of northwestern Italy. Unlike the stage race, the Liguria Divide will follow the self-supported ethos of current cycling ultras like the Tour Divide Race.

“We feel it is important to have Jay and Tracey here in Europe to convey the soul of ultra-endurance mountain bike racing,” said Liguria Divide organizer Mauro Bertolotto, “where the immediate goal is to challenge the course and one’s personal limits, rather than compete directly against another rider.

“In creating the Liguria Divide race for 2015, it will be helpful to set some expectations for racers as to how long it might take to ride this challenging route. What better way than to invite Jay and Tracey Petervary, two incredibly experienced ultra racers, to set The Benchmark for the event?” Bertolotto added. “Their finish times will be used to promote the 2015 Liguria Divide and will provide serious competitors with a better understanding of their effort.”

“I feel very privileged and honored to have the opportunity to introduce bikepacking to an already cycling-infused culture,” said Jay Petervary. “New routes get established once, and I can only imagine the feeling I will get of being on a new route, in a new-to-me country, that will stick around for years to come. I am stoked!”

Tracy Petervary agreed, stating it brings great satisfaction to help others learn and experience bikepack racing. “It is an honor to have the opportunity to promote another style of riding in a country that already has a great appreciation and love of cycling,” she said. “To be given the opportunity to experience all the wonderful things I’ve heard about Italy—the people, food and views—while riding my bike and sharing knowledge about bikepacking is a dream come true.”

While in Italy, the Petervarys will participate in two other cycling-related events. On June 20, they will present a free-to-the-public ultra-endurance racing clinic in Verona, and on June 21, they will ride in the Salsa Gravel Invitational, an 80-mile ride over three mountain passes, which will serve as the prelude to a new event in September this year.

Jay holds the Tour Divide record of 15 days, 16 hours and 4 minutes. He also holds the Iditarod Ultra Sport Southern Route to Nome record of 17 days and 6 hours. Tracey holds the 1,100-mile Ultra Sport Southern Route to Nome record at 18 days, 6 hours and 30 minutes. The Petervarys also share the Tour Divide Tandem record of 18 days, 13 hours and 50 minutes.


  1. How not to promote this type of riding: show somebody hiking with their bike taken apart and strapped to their backpack.

  2. Sounds Great Jay!

    If you would like to promote this event with the popular NUE National Ultra Endurance Series in the US, please contact me to discuss. I am sure many US racers would like an opportunity to race in the beautiful mountains of Italy.

What do you think?