by Blake Anton
Today was stage 3 of the UCI Vuelta Independencia. After a short transfer to the start, the start actually happened on time and we rolled for a few miles neutral before officially starting.
It was a hair over 100 miles on paper with 5000 ft of climbing, with no major climbs. Today’s stage took us north west, and we finished relatively close to the border with Haiti. When the flag dropped, the pace immediately went through the roof and stayed there for the next 2 hours as there was a strong tailwind at our backs. Lamentably, that meant very little air movement over our skin and with temperatures ranging from 90 to 105 degrees today, the heat slowly picked us apart. Small breaks came and went, and after two hours the break du jour finally got away. But it was more like a field explosion as there were nearly a dozen groups on the road as the heat, crosswinds, and couple of cat 3 climbs took their toll on everyone.
The groups on the road eventually consolidated with Sam and Colton in the front group of 40 and the rest of us in the field of 60 or so (there were a few groups behind us). The day was very hard but relatively uneventful aside from a big pile up that happened as we were racing through a town. Sam cramped in the final few km but still managed a 13th place. The rest of us rolled in 10 minutes back. It took us 3:40 for a little over 100 miles. Ouch. The hardest part was the 3 hour bus ride back to the hotel through the thick and chaotic traffic of Santo Domingo. We eventually made it back and are all pretty wiped out, but are trying to keep limber for the two more 100 mile stages coming up with a whole lot of Herbalife Hydrate and Rebuild. The Marc Pro hasn’t left my legs for the last 2 hours. 5 days left.