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Silk Road Mountain Race 2021

Silk Road Mountain Race

Silk Road Mountain Race 2021

18

Tours

151:25 h

1,122 mi

96,600 ft

The Silk Road Mountain Race is our attempt to showcase some of the most beautiful and wild areas of Kyrgyzstan. Each year we try to include something new to share with the community of racers who come out to join us in this incredible country. We strive to create the perfect setting for them to test themselves against each other and the awesome natural setting of this mountainous wilderness. The third edition will be no different, with the race seeing more substantial changes compared with the last two iterations.The third edition of the Silk Road Mountain Race is a small step up in terms of difficulty compared with the last two races, it will follow a 1804 kilometre route with roughly 30,500 meters of climbing. It will again take riders through the remote mountain landscapes of the Tian Shan range in eastern Kyrgyzstan. There are however, a few notable changes, described in more detail below.Possibly the most noticeable novelty is that we have a new start, with riders heading out to the wild northwestern region of Talas to line up on the start line in the town of the same name. With this change comes a slightly different organisation for the start of the race. We will no longer ride out on the Saturday morning, but rather on the Friday evening, adding a few precious hours to complete the route. Registration will be shortened and we'll transport everyone straight after the rider briefing for the first ever evening start to the Silk Road Mountain Race. This will keep race logistics simple for riders, but also bring up some interesting tactical choices.Besides the new start, the overall direction of the route is reversed compared with previous editions, riders will take similar roads but in the opposite direction. We also have a new first checkpoint, in the familiar town of Kochkor. We'll also finally be visiting Tash Rabat, the 15th century Caravanserai on the ancient Silk Road. Shamsi is no longer in the race, but Kegeti is retained, albeit in the opposite direction. Finally we have a new final pass, before heading to the finish line on the shore of lake Issyk-Kul. Read on below to discover the changes in more detail and get a visual understanding of what this all looks like on the map!We hope that you are as excited as we are by the route for the third edition of the Silk Road Mountain Race! Scroll down for a more detailed outline of each section of the route. We’ve split it into eighteen distinct tracks and highlighted the major points of interest and difficulties of each. The following information should give you a better idea of what to expect in the third edition of the race but is still lacking the more precise details that will help riders prepare for the race. We will be updating this information in the coming weeks and months so that it is complimentary with the Race Manual.Photography by Danil Usmanov, Rue Kaladyte and Antonio Abreu

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    05:39
    31.4 mi
    5.5 mph
    7,000 ft
    50 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    Riders will head out from the centre of Talas on the evening of Friday the 14th of August. They'll quickly be on quiet roads that will soon turn to gravel. Within 50 kilometres they'll have reached the summit of Terek Pass : 3376m. It may not be quite as tall as Kegeti but it is still a substantial mountain pass that comes even earlier in the race. The road is quite good, passable by cars and almost entirely ride-able.

  • Difficult
    06:31
    67.5 mi
    10.4 mph
    2,375 ft
    10,325 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    After Terek pass, riders will head down towards Toktogul reservoir through a series of valleys with mountain villages. The route along the shore of the reservoir is not yet final but it will definitely entirely avoid the main road which is one of the most dangerous in the country. We will update the track well ahead of the start of the race.

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  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    Difficult
    13:29
    97.5 mi
    7.2 mph
    15,325 ft
    12,650 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Riders will leave behind Toktogul reservoir and head up into a system of remote valleys. This is possibly one of the toughest sections of the race, with a huge amount of climbing per kilometre. As it takes place at a relatively low altitude, heat may also add to the difficulty. Veterans of the first edition will recognise the last pass and stretch down into Kyzl-Oi. It'll be tough but scenic.

  • Difficult
    15:54
    124 mi
    7.8 mph
    6,400 ft
    6,175 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This is where the route heads in the opposite direction compared with previous editions. Riders will ride up the Karakol valley, going east past the southern face of Kegeti pass which they will need to tackle much later on in the race. The Karakol valley and pass will, as ever, be one of the highlights of the race. The section …

  • Difficult
    19:11
    145 mi
    7.5 mph
    9,850 ft
    3,425 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Riders will head out of Kochkor down the familiar but unloved washboard that takes them past the smoked fish at Intersection Café. They'll then rejoin last year's route up to Arabel pass and across the plateau to the top of the Kumtor mining road. It's tough but beautiful up there, with Arabel itself a steep push for most riders.

  • Intermediate
    03:01
    41.9 mi
    13.9 mph
    450 ft
    7,500 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    We'll again be sending riders down the Kumtor mining road. Last year, what was supposed to be a high speed downhill reward, turned into a muddy, messy morass. We'll see what the weather has in store for us this year, but at least its unlikely to be worse! Be sure to keep an eye out for the statue of Yuri Gagarin in Barskoon gorge lower down.

  • Difficult
    05:04
    21.5 mi
    4.3 mph
    7,500 ft
    25 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    After reaching the relative warmth and good weather of the south shore of lake Issyk-Kul, riders will need to head back up into the mountains on their way towards Naryn. Standing in the way is Tosor pass : 3893m. This is the second appearance of this big mountain pass. It replaces Ton pass, which was the cause of some stressful …

  • Difficult
    12:38
    104 mi
    8.2 mph
    3,450 ft
    9,450 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Another beautiful section that has been in the race every year. This time around it'll be a slow descent into Naryn, aka 'Scratch City'. We'll see if including the city a little earlier on in the race will finally see it losing the dubious honour of being the place where the highest number of riders have decided to call it quits in the previous two editions of the race.

  • Difficult
    12:10
    88.2 mi
    7.2 mph
    7,775 ft
    3,575 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    After leaving Naryn, riders will head down familiar roads on their way to Checkpoint 2 which will again be hosted by a yurt camp in the village of Kok-Kiya near Kel Suu lake. The entrance to the valley is truly spectacular and a definite highlight in previous editions. Due to the change in direction there is another short loop here, to allow riders to enter the same way as last year and leave via the Old Soviet Road.

  • Intermediate
    02:09
    13.9 mi
    6.5 mph
    1,575 ft
    2,325 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    After the relative comfort and warmth of the yurt camp at Kel Suu, riders will have to tackle the seriously steep Old Soviet Road on their way out of the valley. It may only be a couple kilometres but it will take time and effort to make it up and out of the valley. Most, if not all riders, agree …

  • Difficult
    06:15
    43.9 mi
    7.0 mph
    1,475 ft
    75 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Riders will then head along the familiarly eerie and foreboding border zone with China. This year though, they'll turn off before they reach the smooth tarmac of the Chinese Highway and head towards Chatyr Kul and an alternate route to Tash Rabat. This may or may not be a welcome change depending on their riding preferences.

  • Intermediate
    03:26
    24.2 mi
    7.1 mph
    1,425 ft
    2,850 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The route to reach Tash Rabat, a 15th Century Silk Road Caravanserai, will include some hike a bike up to the pass but also some really nice single track for at least part of the descent. Time-wise it should be similar to following the tarmac around, but it will definitely be more scenic and avoids doubling back up and down Tash Rabat valley. Tash Rabat passes itself reaches up to 3964m.

  • Difficult
    07:27
    54.4 mi
    7.3 mph
    3,825 ft
    7,625 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Riders will head out of Tash Rabat valley and join up with familiar roads, on their way to Mels Pass and the stunning views down onto the canyons before Baetov. For those that haven't been here before its likely the most spectacular direction to visit this stretch of road with the canyons after the pass revealed in a single flourish. …

  • Difficult
    08:09
    58.4 mi
    7.2 mph
    5,575 ft
    2,050 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Riders will climb up to Son-Kul and Checkpoint Three by what has been an iconic descent in previous editions: Moldo Pass. Its much less steep than Tuz Pass and should allow riders to stay on the bike for almost the entire climb. We'll again pass by Jangy Talap and possibly the best/only proper coffee in the entire area!

  • Difficult
    05:33
    34.5 mi
    6.2 mph
    3,700 ft
    4,975 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    The Silk Road yurt camp at Son-Kul will again host an SRMR Checkpoint, albeit the third rather than first in the race. It will provide the opportunity for some much needed rest and hot food. This year, riders will tackle the short sharp hills along the northern shore after leaving this island of warmth, rather than on their final push towards it. The descent down Tuz Ashuu will also likely be more enjoyable than the push up in previous races.

  • Difficult
    08:58
    65.5 mi
    7.3 mph
    5,325 ft
    9,925 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    After descending Tuz Pass, riders will head back towards the Karakol valley and up the south face of Kegeti pass. We may have removed the pass from the start of the race, but we preferred it over Shamsi pass at this stage of the race. The south face is much shorter, but also more difficult than the longer northern side …

  • Difficult
    08:07
    65.2 mi
    8.0 mph
    5,925 ft
    4,550 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This year, we again head towards the Chong Kemin valley in the home stretch of the race. However, with the additional kilometres and meters of climbing early on in the race, we've cut the bonus climbs. We doubt that they will be sorely missed. We did keep the lower portion of the valley down to the main road though, keeping …

  • Difficult
    07:44
    41.1 mi
    5.3 mph
    7,725 ft
    7,825 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    From Kaindy, there is one final challenge before reaching the finish line on the north shore of Issyk-Kul, near the fishing town of Balyckhy. We have found a new final pass, its a little lower than last year's Kok-Ayrik, reaching around 3350m. It also includes its fair share of hike a bike but the good news is that the descent …

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    18
  • Distance
    1,122 mi
  • Duration
    151:25 h
  • Elevation
    96,600 ft

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Silk Road Mountain Race 2021