I’m a big fan of the movie Gattaca. It’s about a guy who is just a normal dude born in a world where everyone else gets a genetic leg-up. Designer babies given the very best traits from both parents, and what this normal dude does to achieve his dreams. If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend you do.

Five kilometers into our very first day of our bike tour through Costa Brava, I was reminded of a part in the film where (spoiler alert) Ethan Hawk’s character beats his genetically superior brother in a long distance swim. The brothers swim out into the sea, as they had as children. The first one to give up and turn back to shore loses. And the result is the same, the gifted brother flounders and needs to be pulled back to shore by his “weaker” brother.

When asked how he was able to swim farther than the younger brother, Hawke replies “I didn’t leave anything for the trip back.”

What an awesome and frightening thought. Rather than keep 50% left in the reserves for the swim back to shore, this guy says screw it, I’m all in THIS way.


So I’m biking up Mt Doom (it felt like Mt Doom, that’s what I’m calling it) because I feel like Mr Smart Guy who found a super secret awesome back way to our destination, which is 20km from where we started, with two children towed behind me and what has to be 15 kilos of weight on my back. My first time on a bike in years, like, YEARS.

And I’m dying. We, Christine and I, are dying.

By the time I cop to the fact that there is a more straight forward way to get to our destination and we divert back to that rout, we’ve gone 5k out of our way, and Gattaca is running through my head because for sure, we’ve used at least 80% of any energy we had going in. 20k to go and we are exhausted.

I do understand how all this must sound to someone who bikes regularly. I get it, we’re pathetic. But there’s nowhere for us to go but up, right?

I spend the next 20 kilometers trying to understand the notion that this will get easier the more we go. I can’t wrap my brain around the idea that I will be a person with more energy if I just KEEP EXERTING MORE ENERGY. This is objectively true, it’s how any fit person remains fit, right? In my brain, in this moment, no way.

“You gotta spend energy to make energy.” To butcher some quote that must have come from the 80’s.

And impossibly, it did get easier throughout the week. I was so deeply bummed to say goodbye to those bikes and trailer, I wanted more. I’ll be trying very hard to remember how much I wanted more as we begin our big trip today, with our own gear.

Another “first 24 kilometers” starts today.