FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Isn’t Haiti deforested, where are the mountain bike trails?
Is Haiti safe? I heard there were a lot of gangs and crime in Haiti? How will you ensure my safety and the safety of my stuff (like my bike)?
How will a race help when people are still living in tents?
What am I going to see there?
Are there really any good singletrack trails in Haiti?
Will mountain biking erode away what little topsoil remains?
How much of the course is a road and how much is singletrack?
How much does the event cost?
What is included in the cost of the event?
Will locals be helping put on this event?
When will you have final route descriptions?
What type of support will there be in the race (nutrition, hydration, mechanical)?
Is the water safe to drink in Haiti?
Don’t they still have major problems with diseases like Cholera/Typhoid/Malaria? Will I be at risk?
What should I do to prepare before I go?
How do I get my bike there?
If this is point to point how will I get home?
I want to help! What should I do?
I want to race! What do I do?

Isn’t Haiti deforested?
Not entirely. The course will go through mountainous areas with sections of pine forest, grasslands, and some montane broadleaf forest at an altitude above 1,700 m (5,600 ft).  Last year’s course included La Visite National Park, which offered excellent opportunities for birdwatching. A number of threatened species, including some endemic to the island of Hispaniola, can be seen in the park.  Top

Is Haiti safe? I heard there were a lot of gangs and crime in Haiti? How will you ensure my safety and the safety of my stuff (like my bike)?
Contrary to popular belief (a phrase that applies across the board in Haiti), the country is actually quite safe.  The murder rate in Haiti is one of the lowest in the western hemisphere, at 6.2 per 100,000 residents (US is 4.8) -  far lower than popular tourist destinations like Costa Rica (10.0), Dominican Republic (31.0),  and Jamaica (39.0).   There are 10 US states and districts with higher murder rates, topped by Puerto Rico  (22.6 per 100,000) and Washington DC (24 per 100,000).  Statistically, your risk is 400% greater in the capital of the United States than in Haiti. [source Wikipedia]

That said, safety and security are our top priorities, and we will provide security for all the participants and their gear from the time you arrive until you (reluctantly) get on the plane at the end of your trip.  All participants will be staying together in an athlete village and gear will be transported by race organizers.  Standard travel advisories apply, and as you would on ANY trip, you should be vigilant against leaving personal items unattended .  Top

How will a race help when people are still living in tents?
It is a well established fact that tourism is one of the best economic drivers for developing countries.   In the neighboring Dominican Republic, for example, tourism accounts for 14% of the GDP. Haiti, lacking in infrastructure to support tourism, and battling a huge public perception of a country in shambles, is likely decades away from a large scale, sustainable tourism industry.

However, what we discovered in our early scouting trips is that it is the most “off the beaten path” destination in the Western Hemisphere, and for adventure travelers seeking trails that have never been ridden, Haiti is an undiscovered treasure.  The average adventure traveler will spend approx $1400 in a week, nearly all of which will go directly into the hands of local merchants and vendors.  With a nominal per capita income under $2/day, every trip provides the equivalent of 1.5 years of income.  More importantly, it provides an incentive to develop skills and build businesses to support the adventure tourism ecosystem.

Finally, the trailblazers who venture to Haiti will be simply stunned by the experience, and will come back as vocal ambassadors to help shift the perception of Haiti through discussions with friends and sharing via social media. This is candidly the greatest impact you can have.  Top

What am I going to see there?
Paul Clammer, who just published the definitive guide to Haiti with Bradt Travel Guide book, has written some descriptions for us on what your experience will be in each leg of the journey. You will be riding through rarely visited parts of the country and will come back with an experience to share with envious friends. Read the descriptions from Paul here.

Are there really any good singletrack trails in Haiti?
See for yourself on our media page and check out the promo video from our early scouting trips. There are many hundreds of miles of single track that have yet to be ridden. 
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Will mountain biking erode away what little topsoil remains?
We have partnered with the International Mountain Bicycling Association who is sending some of the world’s best trail development specialists to Haiti to improve upon the current roads and trails that are consistently washed out due to poor design. As a result of this project, the roads, trails and paths will be in substantially *better* condition for all users – primarily Haitians who walk them every day. For information on IMBA and trail maintenance, reference http://www.imba.com/about
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How much of the course is a road and how much is singletrack?
The course will contain a generous mix of terrain, from hardpack fire trail to scenic ridge line to technical singletrack.  This year, we also hope to add in a shortcourse dirt crit to draw out the spectators.  There will be 10,000 vertical feet of climbing on one day, but the course is well supported and there are interim stage finishes to ensure that all participants stay realtively close together. Although this course deviates from last year, you can still get a good idea from a description, with pictures, in the blog post by former pro rider Steve Zdawczynski
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How much does the event cost?
The cost for riders is $1950
The costs for non-riders (family, friends, supporters, etc) is $1650
Prices for local riders who are not using the lodging will be released soon

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$1950 bucks for a six day event?  
$1950 covers all expenses (and cultural experiences) for 6 days/5 nights. If you are a resident Haitian and wish to work out alternate arrangements, please email us to discuss at mtbayiti@travelcology.com. And to be clear, all proceeds from this race are supporting vendors from Haiti, who will benefit from the tourism income. Last year, 82% of the funds were spent in Haiti or through Haitian vendors and MTB Ayiti provided nearly 50 temporary paid jobs (staff, crew, drivers, porters, security, film, etc). Top

What is included in the cost of the event?
Your registration fee includes all costs on the ground (lodging, food, transportation, full race support, cultural experiences, entertainment, etc).  Flights to/from Port au Prince are not included in that total and information will be provided shortly.  Proceeds from this race are supporting vendors from Haiti, who will benefit from the development of sustainable tourism income.
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Will locals be helping put on this event?
Absolutely! The majority of involvement regarding transportation, lodging, logistics and support will be handled by local Haitian tour operators, guides, porters, cooks, etc.  There is a documentary film being shot of the event and the majority of the film crew will be alumni of Haiti’s Cine Institute.  MTB Ayiti is committed to training Haitian operators how to run a world class event within 5 years Top

When will you have final route descriptions?
The course consists of five stage over three days of riding.  There will be two venues: Montcel & Boutillier and the historic Rue de Cafe (Coffee Road) Click on the Google Map here, and know that this is still very tentative.  Race organizers have made several trips scouting out possible routes and will eventually have a GPS map of the course.   As with any event, last minute changes are possible and athletes will be notified during daily pre-race briefings.
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What type of support will there be in the race (nutrition, hydration, mechanical)?
There will be multiple aid stations along the course each day to provide water, race nutrition, mechanical and medical support, etc.  We will also have roving medical and mechanical support in ATV vehicles to assist riders.  A full medical evacuation contingency will be in place.  There will also be SAG support for riders who do not make designated cut-off times.   Specific brands for nutrition and sports drinks will be determined later.
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Is the water safe to drink in Haiti?
We take food and water safety very seriously, and will be taking all possible precautions to ensure that all participants have delicious food and drink that they can enjoy without concern.  The race organizers will be eating and drinking alongside you, so trust that we have a vested interest. Top

Don’t they still have major problems with diseases like Cholera/Typhoid/Malaria? Will I be at risk?
As with any travels to developing countries, you are advised to consult an international travel doctor and the CDC website to ensure you have current vaccinations for Hepatitis, Typhoid, and Rabies.  Race organizers will take all possible precautions to ensure that food, water, and sanitation within the lodges are safe.  We will also provide safety briefings upon arrival.  See more detailed advice from our Medical Director here.
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What should I do to prepare before I go?
Train to make sure you’re in shape for the course. Check with you doctor to make sure you are up to date on any immunizations you may need. Book your travel arrangements into and returning from Port-au-Prince. Make arrangements to get your bike to Haiti. Check with your mobile phone company to unlock your phone if you intend to get a SIM card in Haiti. Haiti uses the same 2 and 3 prong electrical outlets as the US so your electronics will work without any adapters needed.Top

How do I get my bike there?
Most people will fly to Haiti and arrive in Port-au-Prince. This gives you two options. First, you can fly with your bike (most airlines will charge an additional fee for bikes, so check with the airline for their rules and regulations). Second, you can arrange to ship your bike with someone like DHL and pick it up when you arrive in Port-au-Prince. Plan plenty of time ahead to make sure that your preferred carrier goes to Port-au-Prince and learn their rules for picking up packages. [Race organizers are currently in discussions with potential airline sponsors to offer reduced rates for bike transport]  Top

If this is point-to-point how will I get home?
The race finishes in Moulin Sur Mer on Saturday.  There will be a huge celebratory party that night (think Mardi Gras).  On Sunday morning, vans will transport athletes, along with their bikes and gear, back to Port Au Prince (approx 45 minutes to the airport).  Top

I want to help! What should I do?
Visit the Get Involved page for more information and ways you can help. Top

I want to race! What do I do?
Because this is only the second year, the race is capped at 65 riders and will sell out.   Click here to Register Now
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