It has something of a ritual when on Sunday morning between five and six the flashing orange Awista car wipes the tracks of the night from Königsallee, the last cars hang on the tow hook and hundreds of bars are loaded from the slowly rolling truck. race day. Nine hours packed with thirty races with more than five hundred participants. Here the glamor of the Kö is shown in all its facets, with very special visitors* - from the style-conscious starter, who prepared her extravagant favorite outfit early in the morning, to receive her first medal in the impeller race at noon after her racing debut to the ambitious elite driver who is looking forward to raking in a few sprint bonuses in the early evening so that the trip to Düsseldorf has once again been worthwhile and at least the travel expenses are covered.
The athletes are joined by all the people who want to see the spectacle, whether out of curiosity, out of enthusiasm for cycling or just because. Some come because they think it's nice to spend a day on the Kö without cars, others watch their relatives doing big or small sports. Some stroll around unsuspectingly, don't know what the whole thing is about, but think it's great. Because the music rocks, the people are cool, the food trucks have delicious things, the atmosphere is relaxed and you can chill in the sun loungers in the shade. The fact that cyclists race almost 1.6 cm past the bars at turbo speed is a free bonus and ensures cool shots on the Insta account, after all not everyone can score with a great bike race on one of the most famous shopping boulevards in Europe.
Okay, it's certainly a bit cheeky when we, as those directly involved, look down on the whole thing from the top and then find that it all went pretty well. But we don't want to invoke any superlatives, after all nobody knows as well as we do when things have gone wrong or don't go as planned. Anyone who asked us until half past seven in the evening whether we were satisfied ourselves often received awkward answers, because we can only be satisfied if everyone goes home safe and sound after the last race and no falls spoil the mood . This year it worked, there were almost no falls, the number and type of injuries were really minimal. And our mix of exciting races, interesting exhibitors, delicious food, charming moderation and adequate musical accompaniment really rocked.
The routine of the last few years has helped us enormously as a team to establish a reasonable structure and to start the day with more calm and serenity. Of course, mistakes still happen, which we all really feel sorry for (balance bike races/kids races!), but the basic structure is now stable and offers everyone support. But before someone marches off and wants to pat us hard on the back, we prefer to spread the compliments in all directions. After all, in addition to us hopeless believers in the entire organization team, there are many helpers at the start, without whom we would be completely meaningless. Packing starter bags, collecting transponders, handing out start numbers, selling merchandise, setting up deck chairs, holding city championship participants, hanging up sponsor banners, taking down sponsor banners, setting up and dismantling 2.8 kilometers of crowd barriers, securing the bicycle parking lot, loading and unloading trucks, the whole thing Organizing a crowd of helpers and one thousand two hundred and fifty seven other tasks were also carried out completely on a voluntary basis this year. We can't stoop as low as we should to say thank you to everyone involved. The best thing about the whole story - coming from almost all directions that it was fun to help, many have already announced their support for 2024.
In addition to the helpers, we would like to thank everyone who makes the race day possible thanks to their financial support as sponsors or exhibitors. We at the cap would like to say a special thank you to our partners Schwalbe, Antidot and Abus, whose commitment is far from self-evident. And a big thank you from us for a great cooperation to the main sponsor Sipgate, great to have you on board.
Whoever does his/her laps on the Kö as an active athlete can hardly grasp the amount required to put such an event on the tires, not to mention how high the subsidization of a single starting place is. It is all the nicer to see when participants have a broad smile on their face for an entire race and you can see the fun that such a race can bring. By the way – if you want to pay back this support a little as an active participant, you should simply register as early as possible. We don't start planning when it's clear that the weather is going to be good.
But Rund um die Kö 2023 was not just Sunday, the entire weekend was included. On Friday there was a start in the cap with the draw for the city championship heats, on Saturday there were trips by the classics exit, the Cycling Club Düsseldorf and the women's racing bike movement to ride along. The response was good with room for improvement, although Saturday with its weather was not always our friend. Only in the evening, at the women's exit with Iris Slappendel, did the sun consistently shine from the sky.
Now we're enjoying the positive feedback, leaning back and relaxing for a few hours to surf straight into the hot phase of the next event - Querfeldrhein on October 14th and 15th. From this year onwards we welcome the organizing crew of the Juicy Rides festival to the team and look forward to a great working relationship. More about that soon on the festival website and face to face at our booth at the Schwalbe Gravel Games on September 23rd and 24th at the Zeche Ewald in Herten.
Otherwise - thanks to everyone who made Rund um die Kö 2023 what it was: great.
It was an honour.
See you soon