We're really pleased to welcome German cyclist Maria Wilke to our writing team at pedalnorth.com
Maria is a cycling inspiration on the internet, with her adventurous riding in the steep hills and beautiful countryside of Germany and elsewhere
I was born on 28th June 1990 in the east of Germany, when I was six we went to Moers at the Lower Rhine. After finishing my school in 2008, I started my own adventure in Switzerland and I immediately felt a deep love for this wonderful country, with it's beautiful, challenging variety of landscapes.
In 2013, I watched a youtube-video about the ironman championships in Hawaii: No doubt, these guys are insane - I want to do the same! My idea to buy a road bike was born, and on my birthday that year I bought my first road bike. An old and used Bulls Desert Falcon, so let the training begin! It didn't take long to discover my love for cycling - I was hooked. Triathlon? Swimming? Running? No way, I felt so free when riding that bike, that passion was unstoppable, so one month after buying the bike I finished my first race near Zürich. Okay, on the 16% ramp uphill I had to push my bike several times, but it was fun at least :-)
Only 2 weeks later I had a bad crash with a car, cutting in and taking my right way...My loved Bulls was totally destroyed, miraculously and thankfully though, I wasn't too badly hurt. It was hard times without a bike, and after some consideration I knew: Cycling is my passion, I need a nice and new bike. So I bought my first new BMC carbon bike.
What a feeling - me on a high-end bike! It took a few more weeks, exactly 3 month after buying my first bike, and I did my first 200km riding session. Now, inexperience is not your best friend, so I did it with no breakfast, only one cereal bar and one coke...My own fault I know, and I felt near to death after reaching home again, and I knew: 'Eat enough before training!' From such errors one learns quickly :-P
Riding, riding, riding..nearly every day and every time with a smile on my face. I learned to love the uphills, loving the fact that after every climb you'll earn an epic view and that became the reason that I climbed every hill I could find, even it was in slow motion :-) . I loved the landscapes, the fresh air, the feeling of being alive when your heart beats faster in the ramps. You'll probably recognise it yourself - it's addictive, isn't it.
In January 2014 I got my first custom roadbike, a frame by Leeze in bilious green! With this bike I started my first real race season in 2014 by taking part at the German Cycling Cup, a serie of several big amateur races held all over Germany. I travelled nearly every weekend to race after race and collected points for the overall-ranking - and lots of kilometres on the highways :-)
Finally I finished 2nd of 224 other girls in my age class after 14 races - What a success! I was so proud of this result after nearly one year sitting on a bicycle!
On weekends with no races I collected moments and adventures during trips through the Swiss landscape and the Alps, almost always surrounded by great people, sharing the same passion. In January 2015 I had one of the greatest cycling memory ever, when riding one of the longest and highest Swiss pass routes (Julierpass) at -15°C - with steel blue sky, empty roads, in a snow-covered winter wonderland. I can't remember that I'd ever felt so alive and full of happiness as I did this day. And I told myself: THIS is cycling! Loving the nature around you, feeling yourself smiling and laughing by having good friends around you. It's more than racing and being successful and standing on the podium. It's electric and wonderful :-)
And that's exactly what happened: In 2015 I decided to contest less races but to enjoy cycling in itself. I wanted to immerse myself in the spirit of cycling, sharing a cycling lifestyle with others.
In March I had a move-back to Germany, to follow up an education in the business studies. Mistake or not? It didn't take a long time when I started missing the beautiful Swiss landscape...but I told myself that it only takes 3 years, after finishing the education my goal is, to move back to Switzerland :-)
So in 2015 I tackled only 9 big races instead of 14, and I spent a total of one month on cycle-island Mallorca for training! I also visited the famous Mont Ventoux and the breathtaking landscape of the french Provence. I spent two more months in Switzerland in a transition period, where I rode various Alpine passes, rode the "Italian Switzerland", Ticino, with it's special landscape and the highest glacial lake in Europe, and simply enjoyed great times with great mates.
New year, new project: The idea of a full custom designed bicycle was born. So in 2016 I started designing my dream bike and a suitable kit which was finished for this years training camp on Mallorca. The feedback was absolutey amazing and I love every centimetre of that bike and kit. That was the time, when my followership on Instagram exploded - I was so happy for all the positive words and that I am some kind of inspiration for so many people all over the world. Also it's a privilege and pleasure for me to support and being an ambassador for many different cycling brands all over the world. I love to support women cycling and to show the world, that cycling is more than racing and strict planning and training! Hopefully being a writer on pedalnorth will allow me even more opportunities to promote ladies cycling and to inspire others to lead a cycling lifestyle. I'm looking forward to this new adventure online!
Faithful to the slogan: One bike is never enough, I started to cooperate with the awesome bike brand and bike painter "Konstructive" in Berlin, to realize and to bring to life my new design ideas and get another epic unique dream bike in black and gold.
And with that bike I finished the 24 hour race in the Bavarian Kelheim: 4th place with 524km and over 6.400 meters of climbing and a breast swells with pride. To produce a top performance with just with the passion for cycling and being outside on 2 wheels, instead of a mind-killing training plan and strict planning. I was so very happy and overwhelmed with joy.
What will the future bring? We will see, but I am sure, that it'll not be without a bicycle :-)
And I'll write about it for you to read and to be inspired by too !
You can follow me on Instagram by clicking the Instagram logo here!