That’s how long it has taken Jakub Sliacan from Slovakia to complete the 1,708kms of the PEdALED Silk Road Mountain Road No.2 and his first ultra endurance cycling race. That is truly a victory of epic proportions, especially when you consider that for almost 30% of his total ride time he wasn’t moving (52 hours and 12min). All this extra rest (!) might explain why he was looking relatively fresh at the finish line.
Next across the line was Lael Wilcox in a phenomenal race. Clocking in at 7 days, 15 hours and 23 minutes, she well and truly smashed the sub-8 day challenge. By comparison, Lael spent just 30 hours stopped, approx 16% of her total ride time, including a 8.5minute power nap on the final stretch. The stat I would really like to know though, is what percentage of that time was spent smiling? If the pictures are anything to go by, I’d wager a high proportion.
At the time of writing, Jay Petervary is just 100kms from the finish. But he better hurry if he wants to grasp that 3rd place spot as James Hayden appears to be literally flying around the course. Despite an attempted robbery, having to backtrack to CP3 and spend a whole day stationary he has already steamed past many of the riders in front and is currently sitting at 4th position. Chapeau indeed.
There is a vast myriad of factors which contribute to success or failure on a race like this. They punctuate our riders stories by giving joy; adding humour; or sometimes leading to a scratch. Overwhelmingly we hear stories of (other) people being a positive force: A loan of wire clippers to fix a dodgy cable; an offer of a place to sleep; or a dreamed-of cup of tea. These seemingly small acts can be infinitely powerful, giving a lightness in the saddle and food for the soul. Actual food, too, whether it’s a perfectly timed hot meal to warm up the bones; a highly coveted ice cream; or a dodgy samsa leading to stomach trouble can all affect your race. Then there’s the environment, not just the mountain passes and the effects of altitude, but perhaps accidently packing the wrong trousers…There’s the trail; the hail; the river crossings; the bike; your mind and the early morning sun on your skin. There’s the landscape, at one moment terrifying in its beauty, the next, exhilarating in its isolation. Add to the mix a great deal of snow up high and you have to ask: Is it a threat to warmth to or an opportunity to throw a snowball at Race Director Nelson?
Through all the many highs and lows from ever rider, from the winner to those that have scratched, it is certain that this race is an adventure of the first degree; where success extends well beyond your place in the pack. However, for today, let’s celebrate wholeheartedly those awe inspiring riders who have already made it over the finish line. We look forward to hearing their stories, and many more, in the hours and days to come. The race goes on.
Photos: Nadia Moro, Danil Usmanov & Rugile Kaladyte
first published https://www.silkroadmountainrace.cc