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Digital Subscriptions > Singletrack > 123 > MOVING THE GOALPOSTS

MOVING THE GOALPOSTS

Before the Silk Road Mountain Race, Rickie Cotter journeyed alone in Kyrgyzstan to find some peace – and some fear – for herself. She ended up finding far more.
PHOTOGRAPHY ELLEN MOSMAN

”Can you find me a bra? A dog has eaten mine.” Panic over, it’s in his cage. He’s just sitting on it.

Kyrgyzstan is a place to expect the unexpected – a place where every day opens the door to something crazy, and that uncertainty brings with it a wild charm. And possibly even an unnerving charm. But that too, is part of the charm.

I needed to leave. To turn off the internet for four weeks.

I wanted to just ride my bike and needed to feel fear. My head was hectic leaving Bishkek, Kyrgystan’s capital, but as soon as I headed into the silence of the mountains I felt free. I could breathe.

Bigger than big.

Kyrgyzstan, a landlocked country in the middle of Asia, is vast, bigger than Europe and harsher than the US. I cannot explain to you the sheer enormity of the mountains. To ride uphill for seven hours into an endless range of rock, creeping ever closer to the clouds, turn by turn. Each pedal stroke stealing precious air from your tight lungs, yet your curiosity drives you forward, the reward of a visual feast, a final view that will take your breathe away and humble you in a heartbeat. The experience is impossible to put down in words.

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About Singletrack

Editorial: Greasing Out Chipps ponders the strange language of mountain biking. Is understanding the code the difference between being a mountain biker and just riding bikes? UK Adventure: Glasgow’s Campsie Fells Sanny seeks out some overlooked trails within a stone’s throw of Glasgow. Why does he love them so much? Column: Jason Miles Turns out that, if you ride bikes, your neighbours think you know everything about all bikes. International Adventure: Bohemian Rhapsody Tom Hutton heads to the very-accessible Czech Republic to check out the trails and trees on a three-centre bike safari. International Adventure: Kyrgyzstan Rickie Cotter warms up for the Silk Road Mountain Race with a solo trip around this remote expanse of wild unknown. Beyond The Review: In The Bag Tom Hill writes about the aged Timbuk2 messenger bag that isn’t his, it’s Jenn’s. He’s just using it for her. Classic Ride: Grate Expectations In a cheese pun-filled ride around the West Country, James Vincent takes us on a tour of the trails around Cheddar. International Adventure: You Can’t Script Adventure James McKnight and Victor Lucas get in over their heads in the Pyrenees. Turns out this bikepacking lark is more complicated than they thought. Bike Test: So Long, Huckers Our big friendly giant, Barney, gets friendly with the three longest full suspension bikes in the world. Three monsters tested, from Cotic, Geometron and Pole. 25 Years of Chipps Chipps reflects on 25 years as a bike journalist. Does he know what he’s doing yet? International Adventure: Budget Bolognese Sanny heads to Italy to experience a comfortable adventure without a painful credit card bill. Pete’s Pros: Ruaridh Cunningham Pete Scullion chases downhill legend turned neo-enduro pro Ruaridh Cunningham around the trails of Innerleithen. Last Word Adam Batty discovers that finding riding buddies can be tricky, especially when they’re not being entirely honest.