Days 1 & 2 — Denver to Munich to Barcelona to Girona

Six days ago my twelve-year old mutt Banjo, who I adore in the slightly excessive my-children-have-fur kind of way, got into my cycling supply bag and ate twelve Chocolate Outrage Gu gels, packaging and all—one for each year of his divine little life, I suppose. Here’s a visual for your gastrointestinal imagination.

After a call to the animal poison control hotline and a few hours in the emergency room, complete with X-rays and induced vomiting, only four little pieces came out. Then, sometime around 11:00 pm, while I was waiting for results from radiology, the on-call doctor kindly informed me that I should also really get the rash on Banjo’s back re-checked because, to her, it looked like cancer.

Four little pieces from twelve full packets–the rest of the mess still lodged in his body somewhere, which at any moment could cause a blockage requiring surgery. Also maybe cancer, but we won’t know about that until sometime on Saturday, you know, after I’ve boarded a plane to Barcelona.

So now it’s Saturday and I am scared and stressed and sad because my favorite being on the planet is in such distress, and yet I’m scared and stressed and excited because I have an incredible adventure ahead of me in Spain. My sister is patient and kind as I wring my hands all the way to the airport. We have a good plan in place with my sister, a midwife, and my mom, a vet tech, taking care of Banjo in my absence. I couldn’t ask for a better combo but I’m still feeling conflicted as I board my Lufthansa flight.

The one good thing about all the focus on my dog this week is that I haven’t had anytime whatsoever to worry about the more than 500 miles and 43,000’ of climbing waiting for me in the Spanish Pyrenees. As I settle into my seat it starts to dawn on me where I’m going and what I’ll be attempting when I get there. I post a picture to Instagram captioned, “Nervous and excited on my way to Barcelona! What have I done?”

I won’t sleep a wink on the red eye–nine hours to Munich followed by a quick layover and two more hours to Barcelona. A severe rainstorm will greet me at my final destination but so will our group’s bright and friendly Spanish translator and fellow cyclist. She’ll drive us an hour and a half to Girona where I will try to make up for the eight hour time difference with a power nap before meeting the rest for dinner—a blur of tapas devoured alongside a batch of salty Brits, Northern Irish and even a few Scotsmen.

I’ll crash early to take in nine full hours of sleep and then . . . well you know what’ll happen next . . . I’ll get on my bike and cycle my fool little heart out.

Sending love and light from Catalonia ❤ ❤ ❤

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