On August 25, after 11 days and nine hours, 16-year-old Jacob Hora of Victor completed the toughest race of his short but successful ultra-endurance cycling career: the Silk Road Mountain Race, a race that Took him and his mentor Jay Petervary nearly 2,000 kilometers through the mountains of northwest Kyrgyzstan.
Petervary, also from Victor, is one of the most decorated long distance riders in the industry and won the first edition of the Silk Road Mountain Race in 2018. He describes it as one of the toughest bikepacking races in the world.
“It’s at high altitude, there’s an incredible amount of climbing [the 1,859-kilometer race had over 34,000 meters or 111,000 feet of climbing], there are river crossings, steep cycle rides with no trails, foreign food, long distances between replenishment, a foreign language, a new culture and a weather that changes in the blink of an eye – sunshine in the rain, in the snow. It’s a real adventure, ”said Petervary.
Hora started his cycling career going to school year round and being part of the local college bike team. Petervary became aware of the motivated kid when Hora competed in the 60K Fat Pursuit fat bike race at Island Park. Under Petervary’s tutelage, the teenager began to complete endurance events including the Hamilton Fitz-Barn, MT in Victor, the 800-mile Utah Mixed Epic and the Iditarod. Then, in April, he asked if he could join Petervary in Kyrgyzstan.
After preparing physically and mentally all summer, Petervary and Hora left for Central Asia in early August. The race started on August 13 in Talas. Hora’s parents later traveled to observe.
The duo encountered long bike rides, technical descents, snow, rain, mud and scorching heat along the route. At one point, Hora lost her raincoat on the back of her bicycle and had to buy a new one from a village bazaar. As the couple began one of the final climbs, Hora’s rear derailleur snapped, so they had to convert his bike to single gear to complete the ride. Although they fought off hunger, cold and fatigue, Hora maintained her good attitude. He called the event “the best university” and said it was “a great experience to run in such a cool country”.
They were the second team to finish in the duo category.
“What an incredible journey it has been with this young man,” Petervary posted on Instagram as the duo climbed the last pass in the road. “An exceptional teammate without a single complaint about the difficulty of things sometimes. “
Petervary said he has long described ultra-endurance cycling as a selfish endeavor, but becoming a mentor has changed and improved the way he views the sport.
“Jacob teaches me as much as I teach him. He gives me the opportunity to learn how to be a better teacher, a better listener, to improve my patience, to teach me about his generation and to present things to me that make me see things from a different angle ”, did he declare. “I think Jacob’s story is inspiring.”