Constant rain, 8° C, and ankle-deep mud - what sounds like fall is actually a morning in mid-June. You don't really want to go out in this weather. But it doesn't help, it's Thursday and the Racement crew is just parking two sprinters backwards on the finishing slope of the legendary downhill course in Ilmenau to start setting up for the iXS Downhill Cup race at the weekend. In the days and weeks beforehand, members of the local bike club have already put their heart and soul into building the track and taking care of all the infrastructure.
Racement is the company that takes care of the organisation and implementation of the iXS Cups in the background. The race in Ilmenau is a real home game for them, as they have their company headquarters on site. During the race season, however, the team is hardly ever at home, instead travelling all over Europe for the various race series of the iXS Downhill Cup. Always with the mission of offering all racers a professional infrastructure for their competition - regardless of whether they are weekend warriors or aspiring World Cup athletes.
The infrastructure and fixed routines not only guarantee a fun race weekend for all participants, this consistency is also important for aspiring professionals to gain experience. What is important on track walks? How do I focus on my qualifying run? What details do I pay attention to during the last training session before the race? All these and countless other aspects also play a major role in the iXS Downhill Cup races. However, the fun and family atmosphere at the races is at least as important - after all, not everyone wants to become a Pro Racer. "On the track you're competitors, but in the paddock you're friends and help each other, and that's what makes the races so special," says Moni Gasbichler. You race against the clock, not against other athletes.
The two fastest women in World Cup racing at the moment both have their roots in the iXS Cup: Vali Höll and Nina Hoffmann. We met Nina at the side of the track in Ilmenau. She herself says: "If we wouldn't have these races, there would be no pro racers. You definitely need the base to build the peak."
We at iXS are proud to have been developing this base for the sport in Europe for more than 20 years. For us, the iXS Downhill Cup races are more than just a stepping stone to the World Cup. They are the place where you carry your bike over the mud out of love after washing it, only to destroy the rear wheel on a root the next day. Where the smell of barbecue mingles with the scent of tyre sealant. Where you duel with friends on the track and then celebrate each other's victory despite losing. They are the place where downhill racing has its home base - the place we love!