Michael Opper and Ulf Wahlers at Willingen BIKE Festival
As every year, the 2013 Willingen Bike Festival also held various MTB events including the coveted Bike Marathon. This year saw team Santos/Rohloff riders Michael Opper and Ulf Wahlers back to take on the worst the course could throw at them.
Unbelievably good weather greeted the cyclists in the early hours of Sunday morning. The course was completely dry and perfectly prepped for the battle that was about to take place. Both Michael and Ulf had decided the following night to participate in the 52km short round over 1500 of altitude difference.
The starter pistol was fired and the race began. Starting block 'A' immediately got down to business and soon reached the first ascent. It was here that Ulf and Michael initially seemed to suffer a little trying to hold their own amongst the incredibly high pace of the leading pack..
Just as Ulf found his pace his front tire began hissing at him meaning only one thing - a new tube was needed and fast. Shortly after, the rear tire decided to release its air. At this point we would like to give a huge thanks to Oliver Hodatsch for the replacement inner-tube. In contracts to Ulfs bad luck, everything seemed to run like clockwork for Micheal.
Michael crossed the finish line without a single hitch achieving a time of 2:22.32 landing him a respectable 7th place in his class. Ulf finished as well despite the issues he had and crossed the finish line with a time of 2:47.22 which unfortunately only landed him with place 88 in his class. Better luck next time Ulf!