Fast and skilful over bumpy terrain – Querfeldrhein 2023

Flott und gekonnt über holpriges Terrain – Querfeldrhein 2023

When a ten-day trip with a camper van to Italy comes up immediately after Querfeldrhein, it's difficult to sit down for a moment and come up with a relaxed, charming review of Düsseldorf's two-day off-road cycling festival. There are too many new impressions to be experienced on the few days of vacation, and there are wonderful routes in Italy for racers and gravel bikers to recharge their own empty energy storage by cycling.

Now, with a little distance and a look at several hundred pictures of the eventful weekend at the Düsseldorf racecourse, it is a little easier to take a somewhat neutral look at the third edition of Querfeldrhein. On the one hand, there is ultimately one's own commitment as part of the organizing team, and on the other hand, the most rational view possible of a local cycling event that has established itself within three years as one of the most important and most popular cyclocross events in Germany.

Querfeldrhein 2023

Of course, we regularly hear that the event deserves many more spectators, which we gratefully agree with. But NRW is not Benelux, a look at other German cross racing events in Germany shows that we can be more than satisfied. The extensive area and the many exciting insights into the route mean that the spectators are spread out and everyone looks for and finds their own personal spot.

In any case, the entire Querfeldrhein team can celebrate having put the event together in what was an extremely challenging year for the entire bicycle industry. How complicated the situation was for independent cycling events is shown by the fact that Germany's long-standing number 1 cyclocross event, the Munich Supercross of the RC "Die Schwalben" 1894 München eV in the Munich Olympic Park, had to be canceled due to the inability to finance it. We can only confirm the statement of our colleagues, “Events like the Munich Super Cross only work with the support of business and the public sector.” Voluntary commitment alone cannot make spectator-friendly events possible in large cities. All interested parties should be aware that support from existing voluntary structures is required in order to implement cycling events of this size and impact in Germany.

In Düsseldorf we are very lucky to have a place with the racecourse whose charm fits our event perfectly. On the one hand, the professional infrastructure provides us with the basis for the event, but the entire area has also proven over the last three years that it makes different versions of an internationally suitable race track possible. The voices on the cross route were once again exclusively positive this year, both drivers and the official BDR commissioners are impressed and enthusiastic, so we are so free to throw it out there that it is certainly worth more than a thought to think about hosting the German Cross Country Championships in Düsseldorf.

What was new?

This year, the QFR organizing team has expanded to include the crew of the Juicy Rides MTB Festival. In addition to the organizing club Cycling Club Düsseldorf, two more clubs are now on board with their The program has been enriched with numerous parameters thanks to its coarse-grained orientation.

The area of ​​youth work and entertainment in particular has been filled with more life; in the spirit of “The Kids All Ride”, pump track, jump and bunny hop contests and a permanent test track for off-road youngsters were among the activities successful add-ons. There is still room for improvement for a shared future, but the experiences from this year's event can be a suitable basis for future expansion.

The number of helpers has increased significantly thanks to the VfG, and this support has been good for all of us. Who can and must not tire of emphasizing the effort that the realization of Querfeldrhein entails for everyone involved; more heads, more shoulders and more hands are a great help.

Moving registration to the area in the stands was another positive step that streamlined the entire check-in procedure and conveyed more professionalism, which suited us well in this area, especially this year. Finally, we should mention that almost 800 athletes from sixteen nations took part, an impressive number for us. However, the question about betting options on cyclists that has since been asked by visitors certainly has more to do with the location than with these changes. For the next year, we will think about how we can answer the certainly not insignificant moral questions about this.

And otherwise?

The mix of cyclo-cross Bundesliga and international elite races, all-man/woman racing formats and competitions for children of all ages is now in its third year and delights visitors and participants alike. Combined with numerous exhibitors, food trucks, relaxed moderation, the racetrack's own gastronomy and the best musical sound system since the invention of sound for cycling events, we can certainly call this a recipe for success. The often heard wish for an expansion of the Expo area is certainly understandable and would also please us; it is up to the companies to decide whether a visit to Düsseldorf is feasible and sensible. We have taken a few creative suggestions with us, let's see which of them can be implemented and how.

It's good to make the interfaces between Cross, Gravel and MTB clear and further emphasize them over the course of the two days. The excursions into the area surrounding the racecourse for mountain and gravel bikes are an integral and important part of Querfeldrhein, which can certainly be expanded. There are already ideas for this, let's see what the future brings. Our night ride was fully booked again, and the hat crew ended Saturday evening with a generous portion of chili sin carne in the old scale, while the ride the night party was still going on in the Bilker Bunker.

What's next?

After three years, Querfeldrhein has established itself in the manageable first floor of the German cross scene. Despite all our delusion as part of the organizing team, we can certainly say that. A first route draft for 2024 is already in place, but only on the sidelines. Important: A realistic budget needs to be refinanced in 2024. This requires support from all sides who care about an event like Querfeldrhein.

A little tip to the cycling industry and its decision-makers: don't look longingly at Belgium and the Netherlands, but help to establish cross-country events for all ages and abilities here in Germany too. It's like with bike paths, you build them not just for people who are already riding, but even more so for those who will start riding when the safe paths are there.

We would like to see more options for gravel bikes as part of Querfeldrhein, also from a sporting perspective. The aim here is to find solutions that meet the needs of everyone who is looking for relaxation in a natural area in a metropolitan area. Creative ideas and solutions must be discussed; the interface to the city of Düsseldorf must become more intensive. If everyone involved comes together with a positive outlook and the will to succeed, a lot can certainly be achieved with a manageable amount of effort, which can ultimately position Querfeldrhein and the city of Düsseldorf in a completely different way.

Anything else?

Yes. As part of the organizing team, we would first like to say thank you to everyone who was there this year, whether as creators, helpers, participants, visitors, sponsors or exhibitors. Very special thanks to our partners at Mütze, who have shown their commitment here again. And our thanks to everyone who has helped in the last three years to make Querfeldrhein a very special event. Without you it wouldn't be where it is now.

Querfeldrhein 2023 was realized by:
Cycling Club Düsseldorf // VfG Düsseldorf // DAV Düsseldorf // destinationX // Nice hat and the countless volunteers who support cycling and cycling in Düsseldorf.


More about the Kö and Querfeldrhein in the next few weeks.

Have fun with the pictures by © Kerstin Kortekamp.

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