To this day the german cyclist has been riding the legendary Alpcrossing eleven times.
The passionate endurance athlete from Essen had unfortunately missed the very first TOUR Transalp in 2003. But at the second edition in 2004 he has already started. Together with his best friend Arndt Paykowski (50) he is building the team RuhrMasters. They are a great duo, neither the age difference of 26 years nor the fact that Wermker usually races away from his younger friend, can change that. “In eleven years we never had a fight during the race”, says Paykowski.
At the age of 76, Wermker is probably the oldest participant at this year’s TOUR Transalp. “Of course, at my age I have to ask myself every time again, if I can still manage such a challenge”, says the cyclist. But so far nothing can stop the passianate athlete: “I am strong-willed to still ride the TOUR Transalp at the age of 80”, he says.
Testing your own boundaries
To remain in good shape, Wermker is training constantly: “Sport is part of my life. I was born with the desire to do sports.” And Wermker is not only cycling long distances. In his life he has already run
15 marathons (five of them in less than three hours), three Ultramarathons in the Swabian Albs and several cross country skiing races. Wermker loves the extreme. “I enjoy testing my own boundaries.”
In the last year he has been cycling all in all 7000 kilometres. Furthermore he is constantly running and training in sportstudios.
Wermker has always been a cyclist. “Since I got my first car not before I was 25”, he always had to take the bicycle, to get from A to B. From his home in Essen the motivated cyclist needs just 30 minutes to reach the “Bergisches Land”, where he can train for the TOUR Transalp. Although these mountains cannot be compared with the Alps: “Cycling in the low mountain rages can sometimes be even harder than riding in the Alps”, says Wermker – because of the constant change between up and downhill.
Like a family meeting
During eleven Transalp races the RuhrMasters have made a lot of great experiences. That is the reason why they are writing a book about their personal Transalp challenge with a lot of impressions from more than 70 stages.
On the one hand it is the sportive challenge and the “wonderfol landscape” that makes the two man get back to the Transalp again and again. On the other hand it is for the people: “It is like a family meeting. A lot of participants are repeaters”, Wermker knows. “You are looking forward to meet old friends again and listen to their stories.”
At first the two race cyclists have get to know each other through running. Wermker knew the father of Paykowski. Once they were talking about the ambition of his sun, to run his first marathon. As an experienced long distance runner, Wermker offered his advice and two years later they ran a marathon together and developed a great friendship.
In 2003 Wermker found an article about the first TOUR Transalp and showed it to his mate. Very quickly it became clear: “We will ride the Transalp together.” And after their first time, it was also clear: “We will do it again!”
Since 2004 the two cyclists has been through a lot of wonderful experiences on the track as well as injuries and even a broken handlebar. But during all the years they have never put themselves under pressure. Each of them rides as fast as he can. And it does not harm their freindship that Wermker, who is in better shape, is usually faster than Paykowski and awaits his younger mate behind the finishline with an icecream and the joking appeal, to please be back in time for dinner.