Somewhere around 7:30pm on Thursday evening, we popped a bottle of bubbly to celebrate the completion of our ocean to ocean trek. It was an emotional finish, as Panama Viejo came into view and the realization we completed something never done before, sunk in. Planet Jupiter smiled down upon us.
The day started with a long ascent that we could not ride. Thankfully, we started early and there was a cool (for Panama) breeze to keep us comfortable. Upon reaching the summit, we were treated to a gradual, but long descent that was a blast to ride. Day 4 was looking promising.
Within an hour, Perry had his first flat and after a quick patch, everyone was back up and riding. But not for long. Within minutes, Perry flatted again. Time for a new tube. Flats became the theme of the day. The trail for day 4 was fantastic, but with what seemed like a constant string of flats for Perry, Brad, and Roland, it took a long time to get out of the jungle. It finally got to the point where Perry could no longer patch his tube and had to hoof it out. Brad offered keep him company, and after hiking with the unis for about one and a half hours, the group was back together and Marcos was there for support.
Steve, Vince, Brad, and Roland continued to ride while Marcos gave Perry a lift to a local Pizza place where the team could get some lunch and finally put in a fresh tube. No more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We devoured two gaint pizzas and quickly downed some large Cokes.
After lunch all 5 unis hit the hot road and battled with traffic as we made our way towards downtown Panama. Soon, we were in the thick of city traffic and the contrast between day 4 and days 1-3 was stark. The cries of howeler mokeys were replaced by engine breaking of large trucks. The soothing calls of birds replaced by the honking of horns. Smells of the jungle became a fleeting memory as we rode into the heart of Panama City.
The first half hour of riding through the city was quite fun. People whooped, hollered, gawked, and waved as we rode past. We’re certian this scene has never before played out in Panama City.
The remaining ride through the city was a chore. Traffic was intense, the exhaust was thick, and our legs were fatigued. But, the Pacific was in sight and Panama Viejo was getting closer.
Finally the ruins of Panam Viejo came into view and we made one last push to the finish. Perry essentailly collapsed from exhaustion but ralleyd to celebrate with the rest of the team as Marcos captured the moment on video. The team had completed their proposed ocean to ocean unicycle expedition through the jungles of Panama. It was time for a beer and quiet reflection. We all sat on the wall of some ruins and let the memories of the past four days sink in.
A beautiful finish.