Jenny Tough’s Silk Road Mountain Race Winning Bikepacking Kit

A closer look at Jenny Tough’s bikepacking kit for the 2021 Silk Road Mountain Race, where she was the first female finisher.

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Jenny Tough's Kit Grid for the 2021 SRMR

 

On August 25 2021, Jenny Tough rolled into Balylchy, the final checkpoint at the Silk Road Mountain Race, taking first place in the women’s category with an impressive time of 11 days, 14 hours and 6 minutes.

Jenny’s goal for the race was simply to beat her previous time in 2018, which she did by a massive two days, in spite of a longer and tougher course. Nelson Trees‘ races are known for their extremely challenging nature, so Jenny’s impressive palmares and previous win at the Silk Road Mountain Race were no guarantee of success.

Here we explore Jenny’s setup in detail and spotlight some of the kit choices that helped her shave two days off her finish time.

Bikepacking Kit List

Packs

Apidura Backcountry Handlebar Pack (11L)
Apidura Backcountry Accessory Pocket (4L)
Apidura Backcountry Food Pouch Plus (1.2L)
Apidura Backcountry Downtube Pack (1.8L)
Apidura Backcountry Full Frame Pack (6L)
Apidura Expedition Saddle Pack (17L)
Apidura Backcountry Top Tube Pack (1L)
Apidura Backcountry Rear Top Tube Pack (1L)

Hygiene

Wet Wipes
Sun Cream
Savlon Cream
Toothbrush
Toothpaste
Sudocrem
Hairbrush

Miscellaneous

Passport
Snacks
500ml Nalgene Bottle
Apidura Frame Pack Hydration Bladder
Wallet

Camping Kit

Sleeping Bag (-12C Rating)
Bivvy Bag
Sleeping Mat
Water Filter

Tools and Spares

Chain Lube
Bike Pump
Spare Inner Tubes x 2
Puncture Patches
Electrical Tape
Spare Brake Pads
Spare Derailleur Hanger
Tire Levers x 2

Clothes

Montane Thermal Tights
Gloves
Headband
Base Layer
Sunglasses
Rain Jacket
Bib Shorts
Socks
Down Jacket
Gilet
Tights
Fleece Sweater

Electronics

Phone
Headphones
Battery Pack
Charging Cables
USB Plug
Exposure Lights

Jenny's Canyon Exceed fully set up with bags after the SRMR

Significant Choices

Remote Control

The Silk Road Mountain Race presents resupply challenges for all riders, passing through small and remote towns infrequently and requiring riders to plan ahead more than at most other events. Jenny’s kit list includes a water filter and plenty of space for food, snacks and water to ensure she could comfortably endure the long remote sections of the route without running into difficulty.

(Sub)Zero Rated

There aren’t many events taking place outside of winter that require sleeping equipment rated for subzero temperatures but with snow regularly featuring at the Silk Road Mountain Race, all riders need to be prepared for weather extremes. Alongside a -12C rated sleeping bag, Jenny carried enough layers to endure the coldest days and nights while still being able to travel light enough to enjoy the warmer days. A large, 17L saddle bag provides enough space to swallow a larger sleeping bag and multiple layers – something a lighter setup would struggle with.

Perfect Balance

Jenny’s setup is a masterclass in distributing weight evenly across a bike. By keeping water and other heavy items in her Full Frame Pack and Downtube Pack, she was able to free up space for lightweight items spread out across the rear and front of the bike. This kept handling neutral and ensured her bike wouldn’t become unwieldy over technical terrain.

Tough By Name, Tough By Nature

Looking at Jenny’s palmares, it’s clear that she excels in challenging terrain and enjoys the challenge of tougher, more remote races. She’s able to stay calm in the face of adversity and push through tough situations to open up significant leads over her nearest competitors. Of course, being tough is nothing without planning and preparation and it’s clear that her first Silk Road Mountain Race played a large role in helping her be able to come back stronger and faster for 2021.

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