Let the Pictures Talk – 40 Short Stories of the Silk Road Mountain Race that I Will Never Forget

Many other riders have already written about their inimitable experiences during the second edition of the Silk Road Mountain Race in Kyrgyzstan. As I don’t want to bore you with another write up about my personal thoughts, I put together 40 pictures, that I took during my preparation in Kazakhstan, the days before the start in Kyrgyzstan and – of course – during the race itself. The photos were taken with my camera (before the race) and my iPhone (during the race), as well as the official camera team from the organizers. So, let’s the pictures tell their own stories (in chronological order).

Kosmo-Station in Kazakhztan at Big Almaty Lake
Kosmo-Station near the Big Almaty Lake. Rode there without knowing what´s going up there. Joined a company of 20 Russian and stayed two days to acclimatize.
Food cooking at Kosmo Station.
We´ve been provided a nice little house with a less nice cooking opportunity. Anyway, we made a solid noodle soup.
Preparation in Altyn Emel Nationalpark.
The mountain in the background was the highest point during our trip in Kazakhzstan. Long-stretching roads without curves or elevation have been pretty much everywhere.
50 degrees while training in Kazakhztan
50 degree Celsius. 12 hours in the bike. Call me Mr. Electrolyte!
Sweating at 50 degrees.
No wonder I was sweating a bit. Salty!
Caps of SRMR
Caps of the SRMR #2. Saw my fellow riders the first time. Great bunch of people meeting up in Bishkek.
Markus and me before the race.
What a coincidence. Markus walked into the hostel where I stayed, saw my bike and asked where I was from. As it turned out we were both born in the same city. Good company the last days before the race!
Toilet queue in Ala Archa National Park.
Toilet queue in Ala Archa National Park.
Sunrise at Kegety Pass.
First morning at Kegety Pass. Test ride before the actual race. I met Manuel on the way up and we were both happy to have some company.
Fly sex on my saddle bag.
Fly sex on my saddle bag. Berghain style. Let them have fun.
Halva - best high calory food that I found in Kyrgyzstan.
Halva or Xalba. Whatever you call it. Best food in Kyrgyzstan. Mix of nuts, honey and oil. Energy ball. Saved me in so many situations.
No cycling race without a moustache.
Pre-race moustache. A real cyclist needs to have some under-nose hair. Unlucky, my moustache didn´t really grow.
Toilet paper without a whole.
Efficient toilet paper. Awesome inventions. Kyrgyz people will take over the world if they continue inventing stuff like this.
Yurt view
This is the view when you wake up in a yurt.
First river crossing in the race.
First river crossing. At this point, I didn´t expect to have hundreds of other river crossings ahead of me.
Getting help from a guy who closed my jacket.
My fingers were frozen in the first morning and I couldn´t close my jacket. I was lucky to have a random Krygyz horseman coming by and helped me.
Kyrgyz kids.
These kids were asking for chocolate but I didn´t have any, unfortunately. So cool, they still wanted to take some selfies with me.
Cold mornings in Kyrgyzstan.
Cold mornings. Every morning I had to remove the dew from my bike.
Taking a break at sun set.
I was about to scratch on the fourth day when I couldn´t even walk because of strong pain in my achilles tendons. I stopped at lunch time, pitched the tent next to the track and saw many riders passing me. After a break of 22 hours I still had a lot of pain, but I was able to continue slowly to get drinking water.
Kids on a horse.
These mates stayed with me. We tried to communicate but they were very shy. Then, they just disappeared. I won´t forget them.
Cross road of fate.
Left turn to Naryn = Scratching. Right turn to Chinese Highway to get to CP 2. Since my achilles were hurting a lot, it took some time to decide which way I was going to take.
Time trial on the Chinese Highway.
Yeah, Chinese Highway. Took the right turn and got rewarded by 80 km of fine asphalt and strong tailwind.
Toilet at CP 2.
Toilet at CP 2.
Toilet at CP 2. This black whole was heaven. So much better then doing your business behind a tree. For future riders, wet wibes are the key to finish.
Sheep. Balls. Massive! Have fun!
Sheep. Balls. Massive! Have fun!
Arabell valley.
Arabell valley. The road that I was riding on was not very driveable. I couldn´t explain to myself where this car was coming from.
Brandon Camarada in the Arabell Valley.
Catching Brandon by taking a break and enjoy the sunset.
Mud on the Bombtrack.
On top of the Arabell valley at 3.600 m. Mud, a lot of mud. Riding was impossible. Pushing the bike as well. I had to carry for several km.
Tire marks after an accident.
A dumbass Kyrgyz intentionally hit me with his car and tried to punch me. At least he got caught by police and got a penalty.
Dirty legs.
Kyrgyzstan is a about mud. In fact, there were many riders who even looked worse than me.
Wild horses.
Traffic on Kyrgyz roads. Horses and cows, that´s the traffic we were dealing with.
I fixed the chain of the little guy and his brother was stoked to take selfies.
A kid with a MET helmet.
… and we also switched caps/ helmets.
They took my helmet.
Well, it´s gonna get bumpy I guess.
Icy section on Tong Pass.
Tong pass. Most dangerous section of the race. Short but mean. The path was not passable. So riders developed different approaches to get to the other side of Tong pass.
Single track in Kyrgyzstan.
The question I asked myself when riding on this path was “How the hell did Nelson find this route?”
Taped Achilles.
Self-made tape. Probably a doctor would advice to keep going, however, it worked out for me.
Finishing the SRMR.
Finish. Lamar and I had some coffee before the race, rode some km together during the race and had some beers after the race.
Taped knees
Taped knees of the best hiker I´ve ever met, Scott.
Chilling at the Natinal Buskashi champion chips.
Just a bunch of badass SRMR-finishers who became like family after the race, watching Buzkashi (Dead Goat Polo) in Cholpon Ata.

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