A stage that on the face of it was going to have nothing special to it, it was only 74K between the two towns.
So the first thing that changed things a bit was the weather, it was less than 10C at the start and we had a headwind most of the way. It felt just like we had returned to Alaska and in only two days the temperature had dropped by about 10 – 15C!
Yesterday on the rest day Avril and I were only just discussing with Dom how the dogs of Mexico seemed to be quite calm! He has ridden the Andes like I have and we both said how bad the dogs were over there, almost always chasing you as you went by. Well today when I started I must admit I was not really feeling full of life, my legs were a bit dead. Anyway, after an hour or so I went to the front of Dom and Andreas, who was on sweep duties today, and as we carried on into the wind over the rolling countryside my legs seemed to get a bit better. Then it happened, as we were going up a slight rise I suddenly heard the noise of a very angry dog coming straight towards me! I had not seen it as it was a grey colour and had blended into the gravel beside the road. It was so close so quickly that all I could do was get out of the saddle and sprint away from it at the same time shouting some choice expletives at the top of my voice!! A little higher up the rise I turned back to see if the dog had gone and noticed that Dom and Andreas were about 100 metres behind me. My adrenaline was still in full flow and I did not realise that the dog had run between Dom’s front wheel and his frame, causing him to crash! With the noise of the wind and in my state of panic I did not hear any sound of a crash and therefore rode on.
Next thing to happen was that I missed a lefthand turn and carried on by myself for about 4K before I checked and realised I had gone wrong, nothing to do but turn back and take the turn. After the turn it was only a few K’s to the lunch van and just as I was approaching it I noticed Haley pulling out and coming in my direction, as Dom and Andreas had arrived and everyone then wondered where I was. When I stopped Andreas asked me if I had heard Dom crash, and I said I had not and was surprised to hear the story. I felt terrible as the last thing I would have done if I had heard it would to have ridden on and ignored them. I can only think that the wind stopped the sound coming up from behind, and when I turned around Dom was already on his feet and in the split second I saw them they both appeared upright and to my mind were therefore riding and okay!!
So a day that looked a somewhat boring A to B day turned out to be nothing of the sort, and I did 82K instead of 75K!! Dome has a small graze on his right leg and a fairly sizeable chunk of skin missing from his right elbow, but he is a cyclist who like all of us has had his fair share of tumbles and is not complaining. I do feel very guilty that I rode away from the scene, but I was just totally unaware of what had happened. I hope that the short stage tomorrow is just that and that there are no more surprises!
Oh, there was a surprise at the end of this day and that was that the hotel was at the top of the town which meant that we had a whole load of steep cobbles to get up, needless to say Dom and I walked quite a large portion of these!!