Vlad Podofedov, the first Kyrgyz participant in the inaugural Ascend Armenia
bikepacking race, starting June 25, 2023.
Last year Vlad made his first debut in the Silk Road Mountain Race an ultra-long distance bikepacking race in his home country of Kyrgyzstan. As a result, he finished eighth in the final overall standings and second among Kyrgyz participants.
Vlad has a lot of cycling experience in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. He has been cycling since he was 14 years old.
I asked Vlad to talk about his new bike and the equipment he took with him to the race in Armenia, also about his motivation and "why Armenia?
I have a new bike this season. It is Vitus Rapide 29 CRS Mountain Bike. I didn't change anything but the handlebar. You can see the specs of the bike here
I replaced the handlebar. I put the Chinese replica on the Jones Bar, the same one I had on the SRMR last year. One main front top tube bag and a framebag bag are custom made by Lesha (Alexei Matafonov
This time I'm going with an Outdoor Research bivy bag, Dima Makarov advised me, I've already spent several nights, it's a good 300 grams bag. It has a mesh and an arch over head. The sleeping bag is +5 of comfort, like last year. I also upgraded the mat, now it's a small size Thermarest at 120cm, and weighing 200+ grams. I like it very much, good mat. I got a navigator, it's a Garmin 830, a good thing. I can go racing in Kyrgyzstan without it this year as I'm racing SRMR this year again, but I guess I won't go to Armenia without it. It's a good and handy thing. I didn't take anything for cooking, like I did last year on SRMR.
Clothing: a windbreaker, jacket, shoe covers, warm gloves just in case, a buff, and warm knee pads. I didn't bring long pants, no storm pants, no pants, I'll just ride in shorts, I won't get cold hopefully. I got paraffin lube and some tire sealant. I'm riding tubeless now, this season. The rest of the repair kit is extremely poor, everything for the tires is there; a multi-tool, a chain lock and that's it. Before the race, I might lighten up even more, leave the sleeping bag or leave the down jacket, because the temperature at night here does not drop much, I think I can survive only in a sleeping bag, or take only a down jacket.