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Jan 05

Third Blood on the Tour

The end of my board shorts after 4 years and over 15 countries…

After Christmas Tony and I left the Lost and Found Hostel and headed off towards Boquete, but we didn’t make it very far before we had the second bike crash of the trip.

We had been going down a fast winding descent on good quality road, when suddenly we came around a corner to find that a large section of road had slid away in a landslide and the part that remained had sunken down tumultuously.  By the time we saw it, it was far too late for us.  I hit the brakes as much as I could before riding down the first hump and then launching off the second hump.  That day I discovered that Tony and I could fly – as fly we did – the landing though… left much to be desired.  When we hit the ground the back wheel broke and locked up and so we came to a rapid and sliding stop.

That going to leave another souvenir for this trip…

It’s interesting the thoughts that go through one’s mind in a moment like this.  One second you realise the danger you are in, and you get scared.  A shock of adrenaline pulses through you body and the words OH SHIT! flash through your mindA micro-second later though, when you know you are well and truly f*cked, you switch to damaged control and your instincts and reflexes calmly take control of the situation and do their best to save your arse.  Finally, when you are slamming into the ground and bouncing and sliding  across the road, you’re entire body – and mind – goes limp as you peacefully accept whatever fate is to be bestowed upon you, whether it be a little bruise, a broken leg, or death.

 

I was fine.  A bit off road-rash up my side and on my arms was – in my view – a small price to pay considering we had probably still been going over 40 kph when we launched into air.  Tony however, had taken the full brunt of the hit and had not fared as well.  The back rim was trashed, as two spokes hadn’t broken but instead had ripped apart the actual rim.  The front tire was also flat and it appeared one of my front disk brake pads were missing.  Because I couldn’t roll the bike, I was impossible for me to judge any further damaged.  In addition to the bike, my board-shorts and my “bluey” (blue singlet), which had survived 12,000 km of riding and sun had been ripped apart to shreds.

The spokes ripped apart the rim.

I was on a very quiet road, and had not seen another car on it yet that day, but I got lucky again.  It had only taken me a few seconds to see that Tony and I would not be going anywhere on foot and that the damage was not something that could be repaired on the road, but just a few minutes later a small camioneta came by.  I waved it down, explained my situation, and they helped me throw my multiple bags and one paralytic bicycle into the back.  They gave me a ride to Gualaca, a small town, and a bit of a transport hub, dropping Tony and I off in front of a Chinese supermarket.

I spent the first half hour in front of that supermarket tending to my wounds and changing out of my shredded clothes.  The board shorts, which I had bought in Cambodia 4 years earlier and which had been my swimming, running, hiking, lounging-around-the-

My leg.

house, and riding companion in over 15 countries, received an unceremonious burial in the rubbish bin out front of the shop.  The bluey, in which I had learned how to rock-climb in Australia and which had traveled with me in 12 countries, was also summarily dismissed in the same manner.  Once I was cleaned up and had repacked my bags to make my stuff easier to transport, I hung out for the next 3 hours trying to hitch a ride to Boquete.

I was unsuccessful hitching, the handful of pickup trucks that stopped at the supermarket were not heading in the right direction, and with all my bags and the useless bike, I couldn’t trek over to the more direct road about 500 m away.  In the end, I walked over to a quiet bus terminal – where there were no buses heading to Boquete – and by chance a pickup truck taxi was parked out front while the driver had lunch.  We negotiated a price, drove over to the supermarket to load up my gear, and drove onwards to Boquete.

—-

Also read:

First Blood: Surviving the Copper Canyon

Second Blood: Volcano Boarding

More photos here

 

1 comment

  1. Jann

    I’ve been following your travels since February or March, and normally would just comment in my head, but this time I really want you to know that I’m glad you’re ok! And I hope Tony recovers…

    Take care and sending best wishes for the rest of your trip and all of 2013

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