Photos by Chris McClean (@chrismcclean)
Congratulations to French ultra-endurance racer Sofiane Sehili (@sofianeshl), who was the first person to cross the finish line of the 1,800-kilometer (1,120-mile) 2021 Silk Road Mountain Race in Kyrgyzstan. After a strong final push, he finished the 1,858-kilometer course in an incredible 8 days, 14 hours, and 35 minutes (8d:14h:35m), braving the brutal weather, steep and rocky terrain, and inevitable mechanical issues the course through the Tian Shan Mountains has gained notoriety for.
Always entertaining and charismatic, Sofiane shared regular Instagram story updates in his usual style throughout his record-setting ride, singing songs as he pedaled along, speaking candidly about the low points, and even documenting an emergency wheel rebuild along the route. He’s one of our favorite ultra cyclists to watch and we’re always impressed by his humility.
Sofiane’s rig of choice was a Bombtrack Cale (a bike we recently took to the Dolomites for a first-ride review) with a rigid fork, which we hope to share some additional details on soon. He’s the third person to win the Silk Road Mountain Race, joining 2018 winner Jay Petervary (8 days, 8 hours, 15 minutes) and 2019 winner Jakub Sliacan (7 days, 6 hours, and 46 minutes). The course is slightly longer for 2021, so there’s no official course record that carries over from year to year. Congrats, Sofiane! You’ve earned some well-deserved rest as other riders continue their slog toward the finish.
Swiss riders Axel Brenner and Adrien Liechti continue to battle it out behind Sofiane for second and third place spots, and Canadian Jenny Tough retains the lead in the women’s category. In case you haven’t been following along, you can keep up with all the updates from the 2021 Silk Road Mountain Race by checking out our new event tracker, here.
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