And there we go. It’s the beginning of the season and in the blink of an eye you’re about to start the Silk Road Mountain Race. We bet there’s no need to explain what SRMR is If you’ve been following us for a while and you maybe do events similar to the ones we ride. But let’s take a moment to bring everyone up to speed.

More than one person picture the Silk Road Mountain Race as the toughest adventure cycling event in the World. We don’t know that but we’ve been following the first three editions and we chatted with a few friends who lined up in the past and well, we can’t deny such a reputation.

We’re in Kyrgyzstan, central Asia and this year the race will start in Osh. It’s the second largest city of the country and it’s located in the south of it, in a strip of land between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. From here, it’s gonna be 1863 km and roughly 30K meters of elevation to reach Bishkek, the Capital of the country located in the north, close to the border with Kazakhstan.

Numbers don’t say it all. What’s giving this event its extreme reputation are many other factors. The unpredictable and ever changing weather (40 °C to -10 °C without knowing, rain, hail and snow always in sight), lack of resupplies and more in general high altitude remote environment.

We will cross six mountain passes above 3500 meters of elevation, the first one on the menu being Jiptik pass at 4185. We will (hopefully) reach it after 100 km and 3200 meters of climbing. One climb, all uphill.

Are we ready? We don’t know. It’s one of those times in which we’re really doubtful about the setup, what to bring and what to leave home. Let’s be honest: we did some races and some events, but nothing like this before now. It’s fair to have some concerns and we will most likely end up bringing more than what we need.

Who’s in Osh? Jacopo, Mattia and Fede. You can race solo or in a pair and we’re doing both as we are used to. Jacopo is gonna race solo, Fede and Mattia in a pair. Quite a strange line up but that’s what we’ve had available.

Setup it’s gonna be similar for everybody. We will ride our 3T Exploro Ultra – a softer version of the Racemax we usually ride. We added a Redshift stem to add a bit of suspension too. Many will ride on MTBs and it’s probably wise to do so but we won’t be the first and not even the last to ride on a gravel bike. We definitely don’t want to miss the opportunity to ride SRMR for the bike choice only.

The biggest and strongest tyres and wheels we have of course: Fulcrum Rapid Red 3 650B and Cinturato Pirelli Gravel M 650×50. Campagnolo Ekar 38 / 10-44 and Fizik Vento Argo 00 saddle. Talking bags we’ve some great new stuff as we need a lot of space to bring what we need. Nure from Miss Grape did some sort of miracle providing us with fresh new custom stuff. Which being August in Italy is a miracle indeed.

We will use two Buds and one Node to carry what we need while we ride. Add two Trunk (6 liters) on the fork and a saddle bag to the mix: 7 liters for Fede and Mattia, 13 liters for Jacopo. The true new thing is the Custom Frame Bag. Magnetic opening and a custom shape we decided together to leave room for a 950ml Elite bottle. On top of that a hydration pack of course.

For the list of things we will bring… we forgot to take the usual picture on the floor and everything is on the bike now. So you will need to be ok with this mess for the moment.

We promise we will take everything out and show you what we had if we get to the finish safely. So that we can show you exactly what was truly necessary or what we could have done differently. 

There are 1863 km and some rough stuff between now and that moment. We are ready but we will need some support from home for sure. Here’s the tracking link. Follow us and send some love: we will need it for sure!