The ride to the race on the second day through the crazy city streets of Santo Domingo had our group seemingly zig-zagging around trying to find the start. It’s never good when you come across another group of riders, who left the hotel a bit before us, coming toward you from the opposite direction. The ride home from the race proved even more interesting as David and I left just after the group of riders who were headed to the hotel by bike. It was pretty entertaining though because everyone on the side of the road would point the way when we came to an intersection where we didn’t know which direction the group went.
In one of these intersections on narrow one lane roads with tiny poorly built shacks closely lining the streets I went the wrong way and had to turn around back up hill. As I did I snapped my chain. Probably the worst place ever to snap a chain as the street was filled with bystanders and we were clearly two stranded foreigners in not a good situation. Luckily it was only a mile or two from where we left but we had to get back before our team car left otherwise we’d truly be in a bad situation. It was half uphill and David snapped his derailleur cable 10k into the stage so was still stuck in his 11 so he wasn’t going to be able to push me up the hill. He somehow got some kid to push me which got me to the next block where I then grabbed the back of a pickup truck. Then a guy on a motorcycle, maybe police or military or something, gave a hand and let me hold on to the back of his bike to the finish. We made it but then we had to sit on a cramped bus for probably 45 minutes in traffic back to the hotel. One of the themes of the trip we’d best learn to enjoy instead of complain about.
After two of probably the most boring stages ever, we finally headed inland across the island which brought climbs along with regular two lane roads through small villages and tropical jungle. It would be a really good place to just ride and explore. Maybe with a gun in your back pocket though. We finished in this small town called Samana which was where we stayed when I was here two years ago. It’s a neat little town on this big bay that leads out into the ocean. The town seemed pretty much the same except for this stretch of new houses along the main road close to the water. They looked like they should have been on Cape Cod.
View from the hotel in Samana on the North side of the island. Those colorful looking houses definitely weren’t there two years ago. Must be trying to make it more of a ocean town destination. The area was pretty incredible.
Looking back on that day and where we stayed and everything, we had it pretty well. Two days later found us back in Santiago at this hostel type hotel where there were four beds for ten of us. The team is from Santiago and the riders are from here but they wanted to stay at the hotel meaning they wanted us two to a bed, and small crappy beds at that. The race I guess assumed they would go home so didn’t give us enough beds. Somehow they thought that was alright but if you saw the size of the room and bed you’d be like what the heck, that’d be for one night. We’re to be here for three. I found a guy I knew from here that helped us out two years ago and he got it sorted out thankfully. Not the best setup but it works. This race will make you feel like you’re a king at every other race you go to.
Way too many people in our room. This was common the three days we were there. At first they wanted to put 8 of us riders in there and two staff. There were four beds. I got it sorted out…It was cramped as it was.