RECAP SRMRNo2 | Day 14 – Final Day
The 2019 PEdALED Silk Road Mountain Race is now over. The final finisher, 46th place in the solo category, 71st rider to cross the line & ‘Lantern Rouge’, cap 6, Andrea Dell’Oste arrived at the finish line in Cholpon Ata on the shores of Lake Issyk-kul a little before 11pm (Kyrgyz time) this evening, just in time for the finisher’s party and recording a time of 14 days, 13 hours and 57 minutes (you could say he was the most efficient of all the riders…)
Preceding him were cap 67, Örs Kelemen in 45th place; cap 17, Conan Thai in 44th place; cap 212b, Tai BL who continued riding after his partner scratched to record a finish; cap 50, Kyrgyz rider, Malik Alymkulov in 43rd place; cap 10, Bengt Stiller in 42nd; cap 207 (a&b) 68 year old Tim and his son Bret van Coller who placed 10th in Pairs category; cap 16, Chris Philips in 41st; cap 45, Lamar Timmins in 40th; cap 208b, David van Eerd who continued riding after his partner scratched to record a finish; cap 9, Ben Hudson, the first and only single speed rider to finish (or even attempt) the race in 39th place; cap 12, Bjorn Devogelaere in 38th place; cap 224(a&b), Valerie O’Donnell and John Knapp who finished 9th pair; cap 38, Karl Speed in 37th; cap 88, Tobias Fok in 36th; cap 221a, Ciaran Mullan who continued riding after his partner scratched to record a finish; cap 98, Markus Stitz in 35th place; cap 27, Guy Jennings in 34th; cap 14, Brendan Hills in 33rd; cap 215b, Fabio Lucantoni who continued riding after his partner scratched to record a finish; cap 210(a&b), Christopher and Michael Lapcevic – 8th pair and cap 219(a&b), David Sear and Stefan Amato finishing 7th pair.
14 days…. Time itself is a poor measure for the adventure that has played itself out over the Tian Shan mountain range in this all too often overlooked corner of central Asia. For each of the 135 riders who lined up at the start outside Bishkek on the 17th of August 2019 – both 14 days and an entire lifetime ago – all competing to overcome the boundaries of what they know is possible – time will have taken on an elastic quality in the days that have followed. Each rider will have their own unique story to tell of adversity, courage, perseverance, joy, friendship, beauty, desolation, discomfort, success, failure and ecstasy. Whether for race winner Jakub Sliacan, who, after exploding out of obscurity, humbly took command of this race; completing the 1,711km route in an incredible 7 days, 6 hours and 46 minutes or for any one of the riders who’ve followed him, riding, hauling, pushing and shoving their bikes through the beautiful, harsh and beguiling Kygryz landscape, the past 14 days will have certainly left their indelible mark.
Memories of endless hike-a-bikes up 4,000m snow-lined passes; limitless skies; stretching ribbons of dusty trail and tortuously long hours in the saddle will all now begin to blend themselves with the flashes from the first rays of an icy dawn across weary eyelids; fleeting heartfelt smiles from the doors of passing yurts; the rattle of rocks under part-worn tyres as the landscape flies by in an unintelligible blur of consciousness or the clattering of hoofs from an escorting herd of wild horses, maines floating in the breeze. Each one of these distinct memories, precious in their diversity, some excruciatingly long, others all too momentary, will, with the passing of time, begin to interweave themselves together to create a single, unique, treasured impression which holds in the mind’s eye of each one of the SRMR2019’s brave, intrepid riders and all who’ve made this race happen. One thing is for sure though. It’s not been an average 14 days…