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The End - Crossing the Panama Canal

Posted by Fin on 12 March 2010

I felt empty and void of any feelings or emotion in the last three days cycling towards the Panama Canal. I couldn't work out why and it was frustrating. Alex beamed with smiles all the way but I was struggling with it and was subconsciously stalling at every opportunity to delay the end. Part of me could not wait for it all to be over but another part of me was worried about what I would do afterwards.


With 20kms to go I steadied myself and tried to prepare for the end. But nothing could stop me from bursting into tears as soon as I caught my first glimpse of the top of the bridge in the distance. I cried all the way to the end. I don't know what happened but it suddenly hit me, the enormity of what we had done. On top of the actual ride itself, from a personal point of view it felt amazing completing the goal having almost lost my leg one and a half years ago. I could still live life, still complete huge physical challenges. Even more fulfilling was the thought of how proud my friend Brett would have been, living life to the full, a life he never got to live having died so tragically in spearfishing accident in the Marshall Islands last year. Brett I thought of you every day mate and you willed me on to the end. 


It was a shock to see the police escort gathered and the Panama Tourism Authority along with the film crew. After meeting the crew and regaining my composure we cycled ove the bridge guided by the police, as the crew filmed us from the back of the van. It felt amazing.


After a double magarita (promised to Ron and Barb in Anchorage) at the end of the bridge we headed off for the Gamboa Rainforest Resort - where the Panama Tourism Authority kindly put us up for 4 wonderful nights. I spent the majority of the 4 days, three sheets to the wind, with a sore head most mornings. It was an incredible hotel, right on the Canal, where we could go kayaking next the cruise liners passing through, or hike in the pristine rainforest. The breakfast buffets were also so so good and we got caught 3 days in a row, walking out with muffins and pancakes stuffed down our trousers.


The best part of all was that our good friends from the road arrived in Panama City on various modes of transport and all of them came out to party and crash in our room at the resort. It was a wonderful end, to be able to reminice and share with the fabulous friends we had made - Tuulia, the girl from Finland we had met 4/5 times throughout Central America, Nicholas and Emi, the cyclists we had pedalled with from Guatemala to Leon, Nicaragua and of course brothers Paul and Eric, the motorbikers we hung out with many times whom we first met in Oaxaca Mexico.


Now I am back in Costa Rica for a 10 days rest before heading back to the UK for my much needed knee and ankle surgery. I am so glad I was able to do this, its been the most incredible experience. You have to live life to the full and take every opportunity life gives...cos in 15 years or even 5 years you may not get that chance again. Live the dream not the pay check! Thanks for reading and sharing this amazing journey with me. One final huge thanks to Alex - mate you have made this experience unforgettable and I couldn't have wished for a better person to share this with. See you on the road mate.

16 comments. Tags: , , . Location: Panama City, Panama



  • Hi Fin - this is a strange thing to be doing but I just saw you in a pub in Hammersmith - the Grove. We went to Manchester together. You inspired me. I wanted to find out more and have found this page which tells me all about your incredible cycle. Please do get in touch if you get this. It would be good to catch up properly. You can find me on facebook - Hannah Cadwallader. Would be good to hear from you. x

    Posted by Hannah Cadwallader on 09/04/2010 12:52am (8 years ago)

  • Congratualtions Fin and Alex! You are an amazing duo. It was an honour and a privilege to meet you both at the Blue Dolphin just before you completed your journey in Panama City. I was moved by your words Fin, they brought tears to my eyes. I wish you all the best with your surgery. I am confident you will have a swift and complete recovery. Thank you both for sharing your stories and your triumph.

    Posted by Jean & Mickey on 16/03/2010 2:44am (8 years ago)

  • Fin, I'm totally in awe of what you've achieved. Many, MANY Congratulations. I felt and understood the tears. Good luck with the Op; any chance you could visit Bamburgh at Easter?!

    Posted by Jeremy Richardson on 15/03/2010 12:35pm (8 years ago)

  • Finlay absolutley awesome effort mate, Bretty would be ecstatic with your work.

    Posted by Pecker on 15/03/2010 10:23am (8 years ago)

  • this journey of yours was thrilling to read about and see on the videos. brett's angel was watching over you, i'm sure. wishing you a speedy recovery from your next surgery.

    Posted by deborah hallen on 14/03/2010 5:04am (8 years ago)

  • Multiple congratulations Fin and Alex on your wonderful journey.
    Thanks for sharing your entertaining and amusing accounts which we have followed avidly since we met you in Nanoose Bay, those many miles ago on Vancouver Island. Sorry you had to bypass us in San Carlos, Mx.
    Enjoy your well deserved rest!

    Posted by John and Deirdre on 13/03/2010 3:47pm (8 years ago)

  • Bob,
    Love your work great man.

    Posted by Mark on 13/03/2010 5:27am (8 years ago)

  • Congratulations, I am so glad you
    stopped at our place to fix a tire,
    you have also taken me a great
    journey, I will miss the posts.

    Posted by Ann on 13/03/2010 4:30am (8 years ago)

  • Congratulations, it says a huge amount about strength of character in which neither of you are lacking. Good luck with the unwind! Going to get the bike out now and go down to the post office . . . I may be some time.

    Posted by nick beringer on 12/03/2010 10:29pm (8 years ago)

  • Well done guys - amazing

    Posted by James Seager on 12/03/2010 8:36pm (8 years ago)

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