Cyclocross Magazine always welcomes local race reports for publication. We recently received a submission from Hamburg, Germany that caught our eye. A local group there has gotten access to an old BMX track and turned it into a cyclocross-dedicated park called Cyclocross-Land. This report describes the project and reports from the first race held at the new venue, Cyclocross-Fest. Assemble the midnight gang and pick a rendezvous for the night and check out this report from down in Cyclocross-Land.
Assemble the midnight gang and pick a rendezvous for the night and check out this report from down in Cyclocross-Land.
by Joerg Steffens
Last year, a few friends involved with amateur racing in Germany decided they wanted to create a dedicated cyclocross park near Hamburg, Germany. Several of them were also involved with organizing the North Germany Championships at the venue where the Zeven World Cup was held in 2016. Riders got the opportunity to ride the same lines as Jeremy Powers, Kevin Pauwels, Mathieu van der Poel and all the world’s best.
The event at Zeven was the result of several years of work that began with a small local series in 2013. Much like in the U.S., German riders descend on a local park, race for an hour and hopefully have some fries and beer. Maintaining a good relationship with the parks department takes work across the pond as well, so the locals decided they wanted a place of their own: Cyclocross-Land.
They'll Meet Beneath that Giant Cyclocross-Land Sign
Two years ago, a few cyclocross maniacs in the Hamburg area set their sights on a small piece of woods that was used as a BMX track for the last several decades. The area has fallen into disuse recently, so the local group organized by Joerg Steffens obtained permission to build a permanent Cyclocross-Land at the location.
Located in the northeast part of Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany, Cyclocross-Land is a perfect fit. Hamburg is one of the top spots for ’cross talent in Germany, and manufacturers such as Stevens Bikes also call the city home. Surely it is the perfect place to get more Juniors and newbies on a bike and into cyclocross.
With a small amount of financial support, Cyclocross-Land was built in 18 months. The park is not yet finished, and organizers are constantly getting new ideas each time they ride there.
"It’s really some kind of a cyclocross playground, for all abilities of riders from kids to adults," said Steffens. "We are planning on having skills clinics, cyclocross bikes for kids to rent and we want to start our own Kids-Kross Team for the local races. Most of all, we want the public to get into the sport."
Steffens continued, "We are happy to have a small, but committed support from local manufacturers GripGrab and Redvil for Kids Teamwear. We are already holding a little stock of rental cyclocross bikes from Ridley, but there’s still a long way to go."
There's a Ballet Being Fought Out on the ’Cross Course
The first-ever race, Cyclocross-Fest, was held at Cyclocross-Land earlier this month. The event worked out perfectly for the organizers and racers. With accessible parking and access to the course, it achieved their goal of making the sport accessible to the public.
"If you want to get into the public with the sport and the project itself, you need to go to the peoples’ places. It is difficult to get permission, but if you have the chance, you have to grab it!" explained Steffens.
The first Cyclocross-Fest brought out riders from across North Germany.
The Men’s race was won by Felix Holst (Team Elektroland24). He was followed by teammate Tim Rieckmann in second and local Domenic Karrasch (Pirate Team Lads) in third. All were honored by the chief organizer of the German World Cup being held in Zeven this November.
The track at Cyclocross-Land was shorter than other cyclocross courses, but it was still provided a challenge with many corners and drops, a difficult sandpit and a hill that made riders work hard to get up.
At the Kids-Race, 30 children aged 5 to 11 took to the start line to try out the sport. The Kids’ course was much smoother than the adults’, which is what the organizers were hoping for.
"We want to get two different lines, at least, to ride," said Steffens. "A softer one for all to get along with, and a harder, ‘cross-specific one for the more skillful riders."
Steffens concluded, "The Cyclocross-Land will be open to the public 365 days a year, so we want everyone to come ride and have some fun with the coolest sport on earth, cyclocross."