Ultracycling Geographies: Munich/Upper Bavaria
Germany is playing a relevant role in the endurance cycling scene. The number of top adventure cyclists and initiatives of races/events is exciting. Within the country, there is a very active city: Munich. Data on our followers show a similar proportion of ultracyclists compared with to major European cities. In Munich are living more than 1.5 million inhabitants (3rd-largest city in Germany and the 11th-largest in the European Union in terms of population) and 6 million in the metropolitan area (includes Augsburg). The population has continued to grow in recent years and Munich’s big technologic and engineer companies, as well the universities and scientific research institutes, are attracting qualified young adults (for instance: Marion Dziwnik recently moved to the Bavarian capital). The high quality of life is also a hallmark of the city (consequently the high cost of life).
Ulrich Bartholmös is certainly the most notable ultracyclist from Munich. His curriculum is impressive. In just two years he won Transiberica, TransPyreeness & Two Volcano Sprint in 2019 and Three Peaks Bike Race and Two Volcano Sprint in 2020. All are supermassive ultracycling road races with a mountainous profile. Before riding long distances, Ulrich was a granfondo cyclist. Nowadays - as an adventure rider - he recognizes how insane and dangerous these races were due to the strong spirit of competition in the peloton.
The transition to self-supported was basically an accident. Ulrich was on vacations in the Iberian Peninsula and searched for road cycling events in Portugal and Spain. Ulrich recalled the participation of Omar Di Felice in the first edition of the Transiberica in 2018. As a mountain lover, he started with the first edition of the TransPyrenees (same organizers of Transiberica). He “raced” for the first place with Christoph Fuhrbach and the experienced German adventure cyclist introduced him - precisely during the “fight” for the 1st place - to the world of long distance and bikepacking. Ulrich won the race as a rookie on the self-supported field and he didn’t expect it. Then Transiberica organizers challenged him to ride - in a few weeks - the race across the Iberian Peninsula and Ulrich won his second ultra challenge.
Ulrich helped us understand why there is such a cycling special vibe in Munich and eventually a long distance atmosphere. The first hypothesis is the geographical conditions in the south of Munich and proximity to outdoor attractions. Leaving the city towards South, the landscapes quickly changes into a rural and nature setting. Cycling around the lakes - as the Starnberger See or the Ammersee - is a usual route for many cyclists living in Munich. However if you want to go further you will have an amazing reward: the Alps. Only 90/100 kilometers away from Munich there is the opportunity to reach great climbs and magnificent views of the mountains. Cycle from Munich to the Alps, explore the mountains and then returning to the Bavarian capital means a long journey and eventually a pleasant transition to the reality of ultracycling.
Lisa Wårg is precisely a new adventure cyclist who lives near the mountains of Upper Bavaria and who has explored the Bavarian Alps in recent months by bike. Lisa’s sports background is running and trail running. She is a Willpower athlete and has known an inspirational community of runners. However injuries are hampering her performance/health and the transition to adventure and long distance cycling was precisely a way to maintain the contact with nature and mountains.
Lisa is riding off and on road. A few months ago she participated in the Orbit360 is Ride For a Reason challenge with Paul Marschner. They rode a beautiful 180 kilometers (and 2,000 meters elevation gain) loop near the Austrian border. She recently explored the Italian Alps on a bikepacking adventure. In a few weeks she will return to Italy for the Veneto Trail and in August she will ride the FURTHER race. Lisa also recently joined the GravGrav - a gravel and bikepacking community and she plans to write an article precisely about the upcoming adventure in the Italian region.