Photos Jennifer Doohan, words Lian van Leeuwen

Three days in, the race is starting to take its toll on competitors. Although the front of the field is going strong, some small personal dramas have occurred in the middle and back of the pack. The first reports of riders scratching the race due to mechanical or health issues came in early this morning. Considering the immensity and remoteness of the Kyrgyzstan landscape they are traveling through, these most likely represent only a part of the actual numbers. As one of the scratched riders stated on her Instagram: ‘the longest, hottest, loneliest road I’ve ever ridden.’ For now, the competition is down to eight-four riders.

The problems reported varied from mild hypothermia and a lost passport to unfixable mechanical issues, which in an environment as remote as this most definitely means the end of anyone’s race. But the heat on the lower parts of the route – up to 45C degrees – must have had its impact too.

Even less lucky were riders pair 86a/86b, father and son, who messaged they scratched and needed assistance after the father fell off his bike and ended up having a broken a rib. While it took the medical car some time to get to their location, they sheltered in their tent to keep warm. Both are on their way to the hospital for further medical support but are otherwise OK.

There was also good news: Naomi Freireich and Rickie Cotter finally managed to get on the road after they had to wait out the arrival of Naomi’s bike – 5 days late. Originally both solo riders, they are now taking on the parcours as a pair. They won’t be in the official race but they refused to miss out on the adventure they ultimately came to Kyrgyzstan for. Listen to the SRMR podcast #4 for the full story.

Meanwhile the front of the pack has been pretty consistent. While Jay Petervary is still in the lead, he is being chased ferociously by both Kim Raeymaekers and Pierre-Arnaud Magnan, followed shortly by Levente Bagoly, Lee Craigie and Jan Kopka. This front group is expected to arrive at Checkpoint 2 later tomorrow.


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