Five Passes, Five Films
The PEdALED Silk Road Mountain Race team created five films to showcase five of the route’s spectacular high mountain passes. Each film combines the perspectives of locals with that of racers to tell the place’s complete story. Watch them all here and see a stunning photoset from each pass…
Altitude: 3780 meters (12,401 feet)
The first video in the series takes us to Kegeti, the first pass of the race and also the most significant climb of the whole event. As was the case last year, a violent snowstorm marked the first day for everyone tackling this massive ascent.
Altitude: 3224 meters (10,577 feet)
The second installment features Tuz Ashuu pass and Son Kul, a stunning alpine lake in the heart of Kyrgyzstan. It is one of the great Jailoo or summer pastures of the country, where shepherds bring their herds for the summer months. During this time they live in yurts in the grasslands around the lake. Son Kul is also the location of Checkpoint One.
Altitude: 3348 meters (10984 feet)
Kel Suu is a village deep in the border zone near China. In the third video in the series, the filmmakers speak with locals who live here year round, tending their herds and working in the growing tourism industry during the summer months. The film also shows the nearby checkpoint as riders prepare for the next stretch of the race.
Altitude: 4013 meters (13,166 feet)
Ton is a high mountain pass looming over Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan Mountains at 4013 meters. This is the highest point of the Silk Road Mountain Race. This short film documents this harrowing section of road, catching SRMR riders on their way over Ton and speaking to locals whose families have lived here for generations, looking after their herds in the summer pastures at the foot of the pass. At this altitude, the Kyrgyz weather is ever-changing and storms roll in quickly.
Altitude: 3845 meters (12,614 feet)
The fifth and last instalment in the series is set at Kok-Ayrik and the finish at Cholpon Ata. Kok-Ayrik is a mountain pass that was originally meant to link Almaty in Kazakhstan with the beach resort town of Cholpon Ata. It now lies in ruins after dozens of landslides have decimated the old road. Despite the road conditions, this is where riders must pass to make it to the finish line. It was almost universally described as the toughest section of the race. The film also checks in at the finish, where the last rider to finish came in at 22:57 on August 31st, just over an hour before the final cut-off.
Filmed and edited by Evgeni Chistyakov. Produced with the support of PEdALED, Canyon, and Brooks England. Be sure to check out all of our coverage of the Silk Road Mountain Race at #silk-road-mountain-race, and stay tuned for a final roundup.