They say that it’s not over until the fat lady sings… Well, for the leaders at the front end of the race, we’re not quite there yet but it looks like she’s going to let out a belter!

Our, now increasingly consistent leader, Cap 30, Jakub Sliacan (who, let’s remember, has ‘NEVER done a race like this before’!?…) has held onto his entrenched 1st position despite what looks like the best efforts of cap 44, Lael Wilcox; putting valuable space between the two of them on the, now infamous, Shamsi Pass. Riders from last year will probably recognise that Jakub’s previous experience as a trail runner might have served him well as he tackled, what can be, a 20km hike-a-bike over broken mule track and loose scree slopes. Incredibly, he dispatched it in just a few hours.

But, unlike last year, this year, Shamsi Pass (3,570m) is far from being the end of the story. If you check out the race elevation profile, you can’t help but spot the very obvious sting in the tail; the final pass, the longest continuous climb of the whole race, and, as race-organiser Nelson himself points out “probably one of the most frustrating” (that’s saying something!) sections of the whole route is still to come. What “used to be a road” is now littered with landslides making it not only hike-a-bike on the way up but also on the way down. With the finish line at Issyk-Kul literally in sight Jakub may well be grateful to be summiting in the dark and avoiding the tantalising view. It’s still all to play for and as we’ve seen so far in this unpredictable race literally anything can happen…

Away from the front end, we’re now at the official half-way point in the race and we’re pleased to report that all remaining riders (80% of the overall starting field) have now made it away from CP2. Our first pair, cap 221, Scotti & Ernie Lechuga made it to CP3 and also making excellent progress is cap 52, Marin de Saint-Exupery who, let’s not forget, rode his bike TO Kyrgyzstan!! 

James Hayden showed incredible tenacity this morning by setting off (again) from CP3. The race lead is now surely out of sight for him but nonetheless he makes considerable progress. The cruelly enforced rest won’t have done him any favors and, as he says “by stopping for this long, the body starts to shut down and the pain comes out”. We hope, at least he’s re-discovering the enjoyment of the ride. It looks as though he’s not lost the knack of riding into the early hours of the morning too.

Tomorrow may be the day that crowns a winner of SRMRNo2 but the incredible stories and adventures from this race just keep on rolling in and in many ways will continue to grow more fascinating for many days to come.

Who else is going to be sat up in their pyjamas watching to see how it all plays out?…

© 2018 Silk Road Mountain Race