Welcome to the athlete spotlight featuring Fabian Wurm, a passionate cyclist from Siegen. Since 2018, Fabian has been active in the bikepacking and ultra-endurance scene, earning a reputation as an experienced off-road adventurer. In this interview, Fabian shares his journey into the scene, what fascinates him about off-road bikepacking, and the safety strategies he employs to push his limits without taking unnecessary risks. Get inspired by Fabian's journey.

Who are you?

I'm Fabian, Fabian Wurm from Siegen. I'm 34 years old and I like cycling.

How did you get into the bikepacking/ultra racing scene?

Oh, that wasn't that long ago. I bought my first racing bike in 2018, and at first, I only rode sporadically, alongside mountain biking. Then, in 2019, a friend of mine said he was going to ride 300 kilometers the next day. I thought it sounded cool and decided to join him. Up to that point, I had never ridden more than 200 or 220 kilometers. But I rode all day, and by the end, I still felt great and had strong legs. My friend mentioned that this wasn't very normal, so I registered for the NorthCape 4000 the following year. Unfortunately, it was cancelled due to the pandemic. Instead, I participated in the Three Peaks Bike Race, and since then, I’ve done a bit more each year, trying different things. For almost a year now, I’ve been riding exclusively off-road. Even though I enjoy road cycling and train a lot on the road, I find it too dangerous for long events, especially when overtired. That's why I've switched to off-road cycling almost entirely.

What fascinates you about these off-road bikepacking races?

What I find particularly fascinating is reaching places where you really have to struggle. For example, the Atlas Mountains are incredibly remote. You find yourself in areas where there are no people, and you’re completely on your own. A small problem remains a small problem, and you just have to figure out how to solve it on your own. On the road, you're likely to encounter a passing car or some form of civilization. Off-road, it’s more remote, more beautiful, and a bit wilder. It also adds a greater sense of adventure.

What really fascinates you about the races is what you just said: being alone, going to places you probably wouldn't reach otherwise, or the idea of ​​pushing your personal limits?

Both, and pushing personal boundaries is always a bit tricky. I always try not to take any real risks because I set my goals relatively easy, so I can work through them systematically without putting myself at serious risk. This way, I avoid endangering myself or doing anything reckless. It's important to me to get home safely. I think we all feel relieved when each of us returns safely from a race or a training ride. So, it's both. While there is always some risk involved, especially when pushing limits, I try to manage it carefully.

Do you have any tricks for not going too far beyond the limit and staying within this safety zone?

Yes, absolutely. I always remind myself, "Don't do stupid things." No matter what I do, I try to avoid making poor decisions. For example, I don't try new foods in the middle of nature or suddenly attempt crazy downhill stunts after three days of riding. I avoid doing anything out of the ordinary and stick to what I know works. By staying on the safe side, I can enjoy the ride while minimizing risks. Just don't do stupid things.

The topic of sleep deprivation is a big one in ultra sports and fits well with this risk topic. How do you deal with it?

I prefer to sleep for an hour or two and then ride faster the rest of the day. It's more of a safety thing, but... Yes, definitely. Better safe than sorry. As I said, if I don’t come home because I had a stupid fall or fell asleep, I think I’d get into so much trouble at home that I might not be allowed to do the next race. Not necessarily just at home, but from my environment in general.

Do you have any special preparation for events? You briefly mentioned that you're currently doing a lot of mountain biking for training, but do you have a structured plan that you stick to before competitions?

No, not at all. I just ride as I have time. Of course, there are days when I simply don’t have time or the weather isn’t right for going out on my bike. I don’t have a plan; I go when I feel like it. It sounds strange, but that’s just how it is.

Any special equipment tips or things you always have with you?

Always there? Just the standard stuff, I would say. Maybe tweezers. A pair of tweezers is really worth a lot.

I always find nutrition extremely exciting because you usually can't plan too much. And I found that I actually always had a go-to food. How is it with you?

Actually, pretty similar. Just whatever you can get everywhere. So, the classic Snickers or any other bar. And in restaurants, depending on which country you're in, you just have to be careful not to upset your stomach. This has happened many times before.

What races are coming up this year? Do you have any special preparation for events?

Next is the Hellenic Mountain Race. Then in August, Lakes & Knödel. And then the Nightmare Bike Challenge, which is a relatively small one, about 350 kilometers or so.

And what is your focus race? Do you have one?

I would say Hellenic because that's where I bring the most fitness into it. And Hope is just under two weeks later. That’s just how it is, yes, with almost 60,000 meters of altitude in one month over two races, so yes, it's going to be tough. The focus is more on getting there and surviving.

Follow Fabian on his next adventures on his Instagram