After a hard-fought race that saw them exchanging the lead many times, Peggy Marvanova and Nathalie Baillon ultimately crossed the finish line of the 2023 Silk Road Mountain Race together in 8 days, 16 hours, and 18 minutes. Learn more about the unexpected women’s race finish and the winners here…

Photos by Chris McClean

In a surprise twist, Peggy Marvanova and Nathalie Baillon—the two women who were vying for first and second place in this year’s Silk Road Mountain Race in Kyrgyzstan—opted to cross the finish line in Cholpon Ata together. In the wee hours of yesterday morning, they completed the rugged 1,880-kilometer course with an official time of 8 days, 16 hours, and 18 minutes (8:16:18).

  • 2023 Silk Road Mountain Race
  • Peggy Marvanova, Nathalie Baillon, 2023 Silk Road Mountain Race

The night before finishing, both Peggy and Nathalie took a short break to sleep on the same section of the route in Chong Kemin Valley. Both women set an alarm for one hour of sleep, and both of them overslept. Waking up after four and a half hours, Peggy was sure the mistake had cost her the win, but she was able to make up lost time and eventually caught Nathalie on the route’s final climb. When she reached her, she saw that Nathalie was stopped because of a severly damaged derailleur.

  • Peggy Marvanova, 2023 Silk Road Mountain Race
  • Nathalie Baillon, 2023 Silk Road Mountain Race

Having spent more than a week in close contention, Peggy didn’t think it was right to have a last-minute mechanical be the deciding factor, so she offered to finish the race together. The two of them made the slog up over Kok-Ayrik and pedaled the last kilometers of the route side by side, crossing the finish line for a shared first-place finish. Hats off to both of them for an incredible ride and an even more impressive way to wrap up their time as competitors!

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