QuickPeek: Cool day. Puncture. Rolling hills. Bus Ride.
In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been having a pretty hard ride in Panama till now. I am unable to put my finger on any specific reason. May be the 2 months off the bike had weakened my muscles. May be the cycling schedule is a bit different and my body does not produce energy at the right times. May be the food here sucks real bad (the best I get is a fried rice at night, but b’fast and lunch are tough affairs). May be the weather is playing a part. May be the exhaust is getting me down. May be it is all mind games, ah well.
Regardless, I was up at 6 and packed up at the basketball statium. it was nearly 6:45 when I hit the road in the cool cloudy morning. I kept my jacket on to keep the muscles warm as I headed out. The route was as it was yesterday, rolling hills with construction all along the way. duh. The good thing about the construction was that I could ride in 2 or 3 lanes at my own pace and no one would honk or bother with me. The construction crew were lovely and I’d get waved at all along the way.
After an hour or so, I spotted a restaurant at a small village and stopped for b’fast. It was meagre food, but the lady did make me some omelette and gave me some fried bread. I was keeping my eye on the first big village along the way, San Felix. As I got to the turnoff, I was a bit disappointed as it felt like a truck stop. A big super market and a bunch of people waiting for bus. Bummer. I suspected there was a bigger village up the hill, but I was not going to bother exploring.
After a quick breather, I got some cakes and headed back on the road. My next destination was Tole. As I rode out of town, I had a flat due to a sharp stone. ouch. I was surprised I haven’t had more flats given I have been riding on construction zone all along. Anyway, I fixed the flat, though there was no shade, I was lucky to have no traffic and no sun or rain. So it worked out. The last part riding into Tela was a bot of a hill, nothing steep, but suddenly, I didn’t have any energy to push on. Bummer. I stopped and ate my bread and drank a boat load of water before continuing on.
It was a steep climb into Tela and the seemingly only hotel in town was a bit unfriendly. So I figured I’d do a plan B and skip a stretch. When I got into town, a couple of Anerican girls who were teaching English in town pointed me to the bus stop and I was super lucky as a bus was just about to leave to the town of Santiago (100km or so of freebie).
It turned out to be a good idea as the construction this side of Tole was still underway. At long sections, there were no new road, roads were badly broken or it was super muddy. Ah well, it was also super hilly and I was happy to be sitting thro it. I got to Santiago and was keen on going to the Bomberos, but the idea of a good shower and washing up clothes was too good to pass up and I found a reasonably expensive hostel (seemingly the cheaper and only option in town) to knock off.
I am not considering if there is any sense at all in cycling the rest of the way on the Pan American or to bugger it and head into Panama City and take care of Logistics for the flight into Colombia. Decisions, decisions, life sometimes is hard indeed :-p
Route: San Lorenzo to Tole (To Santiago by Bus)
Distance: 66.2 Km
Road: Construction zone all along the way.
Traffic: Construction zone allowed me to ride away from traffic all along the way.
Services: Few along the way. Enough to resupply along the way.
Expenses: SG$ 44.02
Comments: Muscles and energy are low... Need to recoup both soon.