RECAP SRMRNo2 | Day 10
Day 10 on the PEdALED Silk Road Mountain Race, and the adventures don’t get any less exciting! For some though, this particular adventure has come to its completion.
#SRMRcap100 Jeff Kerkove was the fifth finisher with an exceptional ride for the whole 8 days, 16hours and 32 minutes – Jeffs longest bikepacking race. Just over a day later #SRMRcap005 Francisco Montoya Ramirez crossed the finish line, in 9 days, 18 hours and 18 minutes. Last year, Ramirez came fifth, but reports that “this year was ten times harder than last year.” Incredible effort by both!
For those still riding, this 10th day isn’t the last. The feat of endurance goes on with these back to back days of riding in extreme landscapes and it’s got to take its toll on the body. The absolute ordeal the muscles, tendons, nerves and ligaments go through; not to mention the skin with hand sores, saddle sores, sweat rash, trench foot. Add onto that sleep deprivation, either by design or misfortune (too wet, too hot, too cold, too uncomfortable, too indecisive, too hungry) and we start to find our riders taking naps by the side of the road in the morning sunshine (point in case, a whole host of riders unwakeable as herds of sheep, cattle and even horses trotted on by!). It’s little wonder that the list of scratched riders continues to grow.
Life on the Silk Road will be a far reach from any ‘normal’ life by now, that surreal distant memory where you have (the option of) clean clothes and dry toes. As Jeff Kerkove said on finishing, “I can’t believe we started a week ago. It doesn’t feel real.” Team #SRMRcap214a/b from Slovakia, did get a taste of luxury when they found natural hot springs nestled in the mountains at 3000m. They did a great bit of body recovery work by jumping from the cold river, to the hot spring and back again. Taking time to frolic in the water against a stunning mountain landscape… Has anybody told them this is a race!? But perhaps this was most needed after the adventure which was Ton Pass. Riders reported midnight river crossings and having to attach a rope to their bike whilst navigating the ice. No wonder most of the riders were keen to get down the singletrack descent into Kochkar, and back to the comfort of civilisation, as quickly as possible.
Yet again, it’s been a day of highs and lows on the road. The continuing endurance and good humour of these cyclists is credit to their tenacity, resilience and sense of adventure. We look forward to hearing, watching and reading much more about this group of incredible human beings as they pedal on towards the finish line.