By Blake Anton
The UCI Vuelta Independencia in the Dominican Republic started off well for us. No lost luggage. No delayed flights. And no one has food or water poisoning yet. A little after we all 7pm of us had arrived on Saturday, we had our first lovely race meal of meat, rice, some form of plantains, and pasta. Every meal for the next 10 days will literally be this. Meat of some sort, rice, some form of plantains, and pasta. We even got a fruit dish and salad tonight which was crazy, but I digress.
Saturday night, we headed to the team presentation which began with a local dance performance and live music. All 20 teams and 140 riders went on stage and the back to the hotel.
Today was the first stage which was a 20km team time trial. Foreign races love making the time trials tt bike legal to give the locals more of an advantage, so we were in an uphill battle against 8 rider squads with full tt rigs and disc wheels. Between the 7 of us we had 3 sets of clip on aero bars. Despite never riding together, we put in a pretty good turn of speed and ended up 11th overall, 1:55 down on the winner, but only 25 seconds out of 5th place.
We rolled back to the hotel and went shopping to get some snacks and a hot water maker so nate and Sam can both have coffee tomorrow as they both had caffeine withdrawal headaches today. Off to bed in our literal prison cell to rest up for tomorrow’s 130km 12 lap circuit race. Hey, at least it has AC!