Team Standert at the Veloheld Cyclocross Cup
Words by Eike Hauman
Photos by Benedict Herzberg
“It’s gonna be a real mudfest. It’s been raining all day!“ This message I got the day before my second cross race was a first sign that it was going to be different from the sunny and dry race of the week before. But I was excited to see what was waiting for me and hey, cross is kind of supposed to be muddy, right?
When I met the other guys in Dresden the next day it was still raining. Some pictures had already been posted online and they promised a lot of fun. As we arrived at the place, we started doing the usual pre race things like getting ourselves registered etc. Only me and our friend Flo of Gruppetto Berlin were riding but Alex and Bene were there as well to support us. We started our course inspection and found it to be more than muddy. The rain of the days before hat completely loosen up the ground and as we were the last ones to start the course was already complete dug over. Probably on a flat course this would not have been a problem but the lap included one really steep and long climb and two technical descends. On top of the hill there was a little spinning roundabout which looked really fun. After finishing our inspection we got into our kits and went for the warm-up.
As a lot of competitors had pre-registered the organizers had initially planed two qualification runs and one final run. This plan was canceled as „only“ around 40 competitors actually showed up on race day. And one other change was made: there was no usual starting grid but the start happened le mans style. For me as former runner probably not the worst of things. And it showed to be an optimal way to start the race. Right of the signal I was up front, hitting the first corner in the leading position. Shortly after I was joined by 3 other riders and I tried to get into the flow and ride along. Not even half way through the first lap it showed to a lot of passages had be run – it just was to slippery. Especially the long run up the hill proofed to be real exhausting one. Coming into the first descend I was just behind Florian – we rode around some bushes just to see that there was a passage we hadn’t inspected before the race and which was a super difficult one. We both realized that this hadn’t been the best of ideas. I fell have way through the turn, causing my cantilever to get stuck inside the wheel – Flo got through without falling. I lost contact with the others ride away and tried to fix my bike. It took me quite some time with everything being so muddy but finally I was able to continue. I had lost my good starting position and was now trying to fight my way back towards the front. The course was just as tricky and slippery as expected and even easy looking passages were super hard to ride. Lap by lap I found my way through the mud – mainly by running sections – it just was quicker. By the end of the third lap I had found an stable position within the field without someone directly upfront or behind me. Getting into the last lap I already felt the exhaustion caused by the super deep and muddy track. Running up the hill the last time felt like forever and I was glad when the wind blowing over the top hit me. By now most of the crowd had already gathered at the one descend where most riders slipped and made contact with the ground. Running down there I almost slipped causing the crowd to nearly go bonkers – but I managed to stay on my feet and headed towards the finish line. Having crossed the line on an 8th place, I’m really happy with the result. My first real muddy cross race was a great experience and a lot of fun on the bike – despite or probably because of the circumstances.
Shoutout to Flo who finished on a great 4th place and to Alex and Bene for cheering like hell in the wet and cold. It was a great trip with you guys. Cheers.