16th September 2022
A winning pair. Michele, Matti and the Silk Road Mountain Race.
A debut for his MASON RAW, and a win for the pair category!
MASON supported rider Mic rode with partner Matti in the Silk Road Mountain Race. From the 12th - 27th August 2022, they adventured on this unsupported ride through the mountains starting at Osh & finishing in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. A route of 1900km, and 37,000m of climbing took them across gravel, single and double track, and the dilapidated, old soviet roads.
They battled illness, tough hike-a-bike sections, miles of pushing up mountains, sketchy descents in the dark, and uncertain distances between resupply points.
It’s an inspiring story of determination, pushing through adversity, the kindness of strangers, and the harmony of friends riding and supporting each other to the finish.
Here Mic takes us on his ride…
In my opinion, the story of a race of this size starts from the moment you decide to participate. The preparation, the planning, preparing the bike, the material, the fear, the thoughts, and everything that happens in those holy months of waiting.
In my case, this time it was an adrenaline rush mixed with suspense until the end and throughout August, my stress levels were very high until the departure.
My dear and long-awaited MASON RAW arrived just 10 days before departure, so I had the opportunity to try it only once (it was love right away). My job as a car mechanic didn't give me peace until the last minute and at home, managing 3 little pests is not ever easy.
However, finally, that fateful day came to get on the plane and join my dear friend Matti at OSH in Kyrgyzstan. We had decided to ride as a pair, to be able to spend some time together as he is from Germany. I arrived at OSH and I had a couple of days to adapt and proceed with all the verification and registration phases.
The day before departure Matti was unwell ... VOMITA! Then in the evening, I began the agony with the races to the bathroom too!!!
Friday night at midnight, came the race departure! The first day included the first long climb after about 100km to an altitude of 4200 meters! We were completely dehydrated and the fatigue had truly set in. We had to take a break in a tent before embarking on the last 10 km which included a long walk pushing the bike to the top!!!
In the first inhabited village, we ate and slept. Luckily, after the 4 hours of sleep, a negotiation of the asphalted route awaited us, and therefore, despite the continuous stomach cramps and the continuously forced stops to go and do the liquid hunting behind some bushes, we were able to recover a bit.
The first days were quite hot, very dusty, and with a lot of wind, as we rode through breathtaking landscapes, the vastness of mountains, and long climbs. The greatest continuous desire was always to find a small "market" to be able to buy something to eat and some cold drinks ..., but the stomach still didn't respond well!
I must say, however, that it was a great test for my MasonRAW which proved to be really suitable for all this and was also a lot of fun! About halfway, when we seemed to feel a little better, we arrived at a big city in the evening, deciding together to stop and eat something better than the usual biscuits and junk and then rest a little more. With nothing to do, after dinner, I spent 3 hours in the bathroom constantly emitting water from behind! I was desperate, but not defeated and after having extended the stop a little longer, we left again.
From there on we started in the highest and most isolated area. In addition to the checkpoint where we refreshed properly, in this area there were only horses and occasionally some shepherds. In the evenings we sometimes went to beg for a cup of hot tea and a bit of bread ... this gave us the charge for at least the next 50km!
Come on, finally, after 7 days the stomachs of both seemed ok!
The track was really tough, I've never done a race where I've walked so much with hours and hours continually pushing the bike but the landscape paid for it all.
I loved "trying to talk" with the locals... even if it was very difficult, we managed well.
We weren't at 100% but we were finally able to recover some distance, the further we went, the harder it was and the other competitors began to yield!
My friend Matti and I were in full harmony and a glance was enough to give us courage and strength with each other. Never a complaint, never a disagreement ... A PERFECT TEAM!
Arriving on the penultimate day we knew that there was one last long climb of up to 3,700 meters above sea level !! then the worst was done !!! We began to climb in the late morning and we cycled about 10km, then we walked, it seemed to be never-ending, I couldn't wait to get to the top and then descend.
When we arrived it was starting to get dark and cold and unfortunately, the descent was impractical with the bikes! So down on foot. It got late, it was pitch black, it was cold, we had to cross rivers barefoot several times .... oh my! It was a nightmare! Around midnight, we are finally back on a dirt road that allowed us to pedal but we were exhausted!!
But then came an ANGEL! We asked a passerby if he knew where we could warm up for a moment and he took us to a house nearby where the owner welcomed us and gave us food and hot tea. We also managed to take a nap on the sofa and after 2 hours we left, knowing that it was the day we would finish the race!
In fact, at 12 noon on Tuesday, we arrived in Bishkek where Nelson (the organizer) was waiting for us upon arrival. We made an extraordinary comeback, arriving at the end in 6th position and winning the category in pairs! A handshake and a hug between me and Matti, and it was over! GREAT WORK MY FRIEND! Our thoughts were, let's go eat!
It was the toughest race of all the ones I've done, but I loved it, very wild, just like me! I felt really comfortable! I repeat, a great test for my beloved MasonRAW who confirmed my feelings and behaved very well!
I can't wait to get back on it!