Photos Gianmarco Dodesini Valsecchi, words Lian van Leeuwen for SRMR No1

Being underway for less than eighteen hours, the first stage of the PedAL ED Silk Road Mountain Race has been anything but an easy start for the contestants, nor the control cars. Leading the pack for now is Jay Petervary, who has been bunny hopping for first position with Belgium Kim Raeymaekers since the start.

But the unpredictable conditions of Kyrgyzstan’s alpine landscape already left their mark on this epic race, showing off their muscles to both riders and the organisation. A sudden and severe snowstorm, which started late afternoon stopped many of the contestants on their way to the first high peak of the parcours: the 3,780m Kegety pass.

While part of the riders in the front of the field managed to get through, many decided to camp at the bottom to wait out the storm. The fierce weather conditions also managed to nearly demolish one of the control cars when it got stuck in the cold mud on top of the pass and started sliding off the steep track.

With a now serious gap arising between the front and back of the field, it will be interesting to see what the coming days will bring. Climbing up to the north shore of Song Kul lake, and making their way around the west side of the lake, the first riders are expected to approach Checkpoint 1 late Sunday or early Monday. But for many of the contestants this first refuge will still be a long way ahead.

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Kegety pass, right before the snow storm

© 2018 Silk Road Mountain Race