Fact file

Start Date:
Friday, August 17, 2018 11:00 PM

Party time

The inaugural Silk Road Mountain Race has now officially finished, with the finishing party taking place this evening. All in all, 29 riders managed to officially finish the full route in the time limit, but there are a few courageous riders still out on the course.

Jenny Tough brought home the women’s title, and was the only solo female finisher of the event. The pairs category was won by the pairing of Katie Herpiniere and Lee Townsend, who arrived on the morning of the finishing party.

The Silk Road Mountain race has been deemed a huge success. It has proven to be a brute of a race, tougher than most of the competitors could ever have imagined. However, all those who entered will go home with memories for a lifetime. The recurring themes from the comments of all riders is how tough the course was, how beautiful the landscapes were, and most of all, how friendly and accommodating the local people were.

The Silk Road Mountain Race looks to be a classic on the bike packing calendar. It’s a race for those who want to push the limits of their physical and mental limits, as well as their basic survival skills. Let’s hope it makes a return in 2019.

Kyrgyzstan bites back

Kyrgyzstan continues to fight against the riders still left out on the Silk Road mountain race route.

Temperatures have plummeted to below freezing up on the high Tosor pass with snow falling. Women’s leader Jenny Tough and Lee Pearce both had to take on the freezing temperatures. Lee had managed to lose his warm cycling jacket earlier in the race so had to make do with what he could find. This meant buying a winter jacket off a child in one of the small settlements on the route.

New Zealand rider Josh Rea didn’t manage to clear the Tosor valley by night fall and so had to endure a bivvi at -8 degrees. At that temperature everything freezes, including drinking water and even gear cables make life even tougher.

Luckily the race media team have been keeping close tabs on the riders in this extreme environment as it could be potentially life threatening in the most severe circumstances. All the riders are ok but the net result has been some incredible video of Josh setting off this morning.

All three riders along with a few other have all holed up in the small town of Kochkor, no doubt grateful of some warm accommodation and real food after the bitter temperatures they have experienced. The good news is that they are now nearly done, a couple more days should see them finished on this truly epic race.

The Silk Road Podium is complete

The first 5 riders have now finished the Silk road mountain race. Romanian Levente Bagoly has secured second positon with a strong charge in the final few hundred kilometres. His ride over the past days has been even more impressive given that he has been suffering from Shermer's neck, the condition where the neck muscles give way due to fatigue. Despite this he has managed to leapfrog into second place.

Kim Raeymaekers and Pierre Arnaud Le Magnan finished a few hours behind Levente, however they have been riding together for the last third of the race. The race organisation decided that as they had effectively been racing as a pair that they would therefore not be eligible for an overall placing in the race.

The honour of third place therefore fell to Alex Jacobsen, the American rider who has been stealthily tracking the lead pack for the entirety of the race. It was another strong ride, in a race that demands nothing but.

Jan Kopka, Francisco Montoya Ramirez and Janis Viskers are all due to finish in the coming hours and should record a sub 11 day finishing time.

The bulk of the remaining field is still stretched out around CP3 by Lake Issyk Kul, and we should expect them to finish in the next 3 to 4 days. Jenny Tough is now the only solo woman remaining in the race and looks set to take the win. She’s broken the back of the race now and is now on the final leg of the race from CP3 to the finish line.

8 days 8 hours 15 minutes

8 days 8 hours and 15minutes is the winning time for the inaugural Silk Road Mountain Race. Jay Petervary brought the win home at 5:15pm local time with a clear margin of victory. Jay was an outstanding pre-race favourite vastly experienced at unsupported races in remote environments. His experienced really showed in the second part of the race where the course became more remote and the weather hit extremes of heat and cold. Jay managed his effort, supplies and pacing with a strong and consistent ride to take the inaugural title.

All eyes are now focused on the tight battle for second place. Levente Bagoly has so far managed to retain second positon after his dash through the final check point. Behind him key protagonists Kim Raeymakers and Pierre Arnaud Le Magnan have been riding much of the last kilometres in close company and have been gradually been closing the gap to Levente. The big question is will they have enough road to make it a battle for 2nd position? Or will they be racing for 3rd?

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Keep your eyes on the tracker in the coming hours to watch the race for the podium places play out…

The chasing pack reshuffles.

The chasing pack has seen a major reshuffle since CP3. Kim Raeymakeers and Pierre Arnaud Le Magnan had been comfortably exchanging second and third positions between them since the start of the race. However both took extended stays at CP3 in order to recover and recharge for the final push to the finish. Meanwhile Levente Bagoly arrived at the checkpoint, had his brevet card stamped and made a dash for it. This daring move has paid off for now with him leapfrogging into second position and gaining a substantial gap.

It’s not all been plain sailing for him though. He had to ask a group of travelling motor cyclists for some chain oil as he had totally run out. The extreme heat and dust combined with sections of mud and rain is playing havoc with drive chains and Levente had run out of chain lube as a result. From the images beaming out of Kyrgyzstan it also looks as though he may also be suffering with Sherman’s neck, the unfortunate ailment where the neck muscles are exhausted and are no longer able to support the head. Although not particularly painful it is not conducive to efficient pedalling as its very hard to look forwards and can cause distress in other parts of the body as it tries to compensate for the imbalance.

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Over half the field has now scratched, although some have missed checkpoint cut-offs and have taken route shortcuts to keep within the race bubble. It’s even hard to scratch in this race, most riders will now be at a point where getting a lift back to Bishkek is extremely hard so riding out is the only option.

Russell Stout unfortunately had to scratch early in the race due to a bike mechanical, however he has now ridden back out onto the route to ride a shortened version. His video posted on the Shand Cycles Instagram page illustrates the vastness of the terrain that the riders are tacking on this mind blowing race.

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