What exactly is included in the race fee?
- Logistics: registration & start, 3 staffed checkpoints, finish line
- Teams in the field : 3 control cars & 2 medic card in case of emergency
- Race manual & .GPX tracks
- GPS tracker & online tracking (discount for riders with their own trackers)
- Some goodies
- SRMR Race Cap
- Resupply drop at Checkpoint 2
- Bag drop at the finish line
What kind of bike do you recommend for this race?
The ideal bike is most likely a rigid 29er with 2.0″+ tyres with mountain bike gearing. You would also be OK on a modern gravel bike with some 650b and around 2.0″ tyres. You could technically do it on skinnier tyres but it would be tougher. It would mainly be in terms of comfort with long days in the saddle that it’ll be hard on you. The roads vary from hard pack gravel to some pretty rough stuff and washboard.
Why race it? It sounds like a nice tour.
Why race anything? I think that the best answer we can really offer is to simply direct you to this article by Mike Hall who explained it far better than we ever could.
How many people can ride together?
The race is primarily designed as a solo challenge. However, we understand that it’s a pretty serious undertaking and in the interest of making it a little more accessible to less experienced riders you can also rider as a pair. The same rules apply as to solo riders but to the pair as a whole. That means no outside assistance to the pair as a whole. Sharing equipment, drafting, support, etc. is perfectly fine between the two members of the pair.
Do I need to organise my own accommodation before/after/during the race?
This is an unsupported race. That means that you need to sort yourself out before, after and during the race. Volunteers may provide some limited assistance at checkpoints but that is entirely at their discretion and would be confined by the guidelines we have given them. Assume that no help will be given. We cannot guarantee that there will be accommodation at the checkpoints but there will be a hot meal at most hours of the day.
What about resupply? What do you mean when you say that there are some very remote sections on the race route?
There are a handful of sections where there is over 250 kilometers with essentially no resupply whatsoever and one longer stretch of close to 400 kilometers. Think carefully about your estimated pace and the quantity of food you will need to bring with you and then bring extra. More detailed information on resupply points is included in the Race Manual.
Are there any qualifications needed? What are the entry requirements?
There are no precise qualifications required, no qualifying events, etc. That being said, we will be asking some questions on your experience during the registration process. You don’t necessarily need to have done a similar race but we need to know that you have experience out in the wilderness, that you know how to look after yourself in tough conditions.
What is that best way to get to the start of the race with my bike?
The race is designed so that riders fly in and out from Bishkek. We will provide return transport to Bishkek after the party. In our experience, Aeroflot is the best way to come from Europe, your bike replaces your allowed hold luggage with no surcharge. The other two main options are Turkish Airlines and Pegasus. Generally speaking flights are quite reasonable year round.
What are the visa requirements for Kyrgyzstan?
Passport holders from many countries do not require a visa to enter Kyrgyzstan and may stay for up to 60 days. Things have recently changed making it easier for citizens of other countries to come to Kyrgyzstan, many can now apply online for an eVisa or obtain a visa on arrival at the airport in Bishkek. Please check the situation for your country well in advance but it should not pose a problem.
Where can I repair my bike in Kyrgyzstan?
There are very few places that offer spare parts or that would be able to help you repair your bicycle. It’s basically only in Bishkek that you have a chance of finding help to fix a modern bike. You may find spares at the bazaar in Naryn, Kochkor or Karakol but do not count on it. Essentially, if you break something important, you will need to fix it yourself or return to Bishkek. It is best to ride conservatively on the downhills and make sure that your equipment is tough and in good shape when you turn up for the race. Bring plenty of spares for the things that you can fix easily yourself, even inner tubes aren’t easy to find… It’s going to be a real test of self-sufficiency.