The Silk Road Mountain Race may be a new name for you, so allow me to introduce this wild ultra race from Kyrgyzstan. The SRMR is one of the more extreme „ultra-bikepacking“ races of this new generation of brevet-type racing, although this „next gen“ of racing differs from a randonnée or brevet in a few key ways. The SRMR and its counterparts are self-supported ultra-distance races. There’s a podium, no support vehicles and no one waiting on the side of the road with a cup of Gatorade. Once the timer starts, it only stops once you’ve crossed the finish line.
For Stefan Haehnel, this sounded like great fun. In fact, Stefan has been to a few of these whack-o races, so when he approached us about the SRMR, said he wanted to do it on a mountain bike and asked which one we’d recommend, we couldn’t have been more excited. Our Pasta Party is designed with this sort of chaos in mind, so what better way to prove its mettle, right?
I’ve actually personally known Stefan for quite a few years now. We met way back at the very last Schwarzwald Giro in the Black Forest near Freiburg. Even then Stefans resolve and calmness on the bike was obvious. Rather, it was made obvious because while we were all „not racing“ up long climbs in unseasonably warm temperatures, Stefan was riding back and forth getting shots for the even and his own collection, because next to being a cyclist, Stefan is also an accomplished photographer.
Right, but back to the SRMR, what happened there? Well, it’s race that sees mountain passes nearing 4000m (yes, that’s real), five degrees below freezing at night, and a scorching forty degrees in some of the valleys during the day… All the while hanging an 1800-kilometer carrot on a stick in front of the racers. I can’t call the race cruel, as all the racers sign up knowing full well what they are signing up for, but it’s also not possible to call it a „nice“ race.
Stefan ended up bowing out of the race, what’s called „scratching“, after struggling with a bad cough and possible respiratory infection. Thinking on his own health, and the health of others, Stefan called it a day before pushing himself into a dangerously deep hole of poor health. These races are a game of keeping the ship afloat, plugging one hole while another springs open, and at a certain point you should step out before getting yourself hurt. Chapeau Stefan, next year!
Specs for Stefans Silk Road Mountain Race Pasta Party
Sour Pasta Party in matte black fade to clear
Sour Party fork, carbon suspension corrected fork specifically designed for the Pasta Party
Ingrid CRS-POP crankset in titanium finish (colour), 32t x 10-52t
Thomson and SQ Labs cockpit
SON hub, Duke rims, and Sinewave light