Photos: Tom Hardie
Words by Lian van Leeuwen

Today at 5.15 pm local time, the first act of the PEdALED Silk Road Mountain Race came to a close. After 1,721km in 8 days/8 hours and 15 minutes, Jay Petervary was the first to arrive at the finish line in Chong Kemin.

As experienced as he is, it was in no way a walk in the park for one of the biggest names in ultra-endurance cycling: ‘This was the hardest race I have done. But that is not why I took part. It’s about pioneering and racing bikes where no one did before. That is the real beauty of this race for me.’ Runner up Levente Bagoly is about 70 km out and seemed to have stopped for a bit before he continues on the final stretch towards the finish.

Although Jay had been leading the race since the start it wasn’t a fait accompli until the last 12 hours. Since both riders – first unknowingly – rode in close proximity of each other after leaving CP3. When they found out, both decided to ride through the night to not lose any time on the final stretch.

It became an agonizing night for front man Jay Petervary. Frozen cold, with several waist-deep river crossings and – yet again – a never ending hike-a-bike section. As he was worried his already ruined shoes wouldn’t hold out till the end, he bought a pair of white crocs at the last town.

It might be the end of act one, but this race still has a long way to go: five days until the official time-cut to be exact. While the winner can begin to give his battered bodies some badly needed rest, we will make sure to keep the race updates coming.

Unfortunately, Top-10 competitor Tom Searby had to scratch the race today. He was maintaining an impressive 5th position until then, but an unfixable issue with his bottom bracket forced him to pull out of the race. Leading female rider, Jenny Tough, is approaching CP3 at this moment but has the daunting Tosor pass ahead of her. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

© 2018 Silk Road Mountain Race