A group of Bermudians is training for the Panama Ultra Trail Challenge—a one-day ocean-to-ocean cycle starting from the Pacific coast to the Atlantic coast on the Caribbean side of Panama. The group aims to raise funds for the Abolish Foundation, a charity working to combat modern-day slavery and forced labor. Jonathan Bell reports:
A Bermudian filmmaker and a team of friends are training for a grueling one-day ocean-to-ocean cycle across the Isthmus of Panama next month to help the fight against modern slavery. Kim Carter said: “It’s like riding two dozen Billy Goat Hills, one after the other, with potholes galore.” Mr Carter, Phil Mason, Cory Powell, Pascal Kalt and Kevin Horsfield plan to start on February 5 by dipping their toes, at sunrise, in the Pacific Ocean before biking across to the Atlantic coast.
The route for the Panama Ultra Trail Challenge will climb the San Blas mountain range into cloud forest. The route passes through the territory of the indigenous Guna people, and needed special permission from tribal leaders. The trip will mark their second trek to raise funds for the Abolish Foundation, a Canadian-based charity set up to fight against slavery and forced labour. The foundation also provides artificial limbs to child amputees.
Mr Carter said last year’s odyssey through the remote area and its mountainous centre had been the first in which the Guna approved cyclists for the route, which had previously been considered “far too dangerous” for pedal bikes. He added: “It’s the thrill of touching two oceans in the same day under your own power that challenges us to return each year. If we can help raise funds for a worthy cause, then why not go for it?”
Earlier this month while training around Harrington Sound, the team cleaned up a roadside, spoiled by litter, with Keep Bermuda Beautiful.
The route is just under 50 miles, but Mr Carter said gradients in the San Blas mountains often went above 35 degrees, with “90-degree heat and sweltering humidity”. [. . .]