Saturday, March 21, 2015

Hellish Conditions

Well, no pictures for the first day of Spring, but I did go for a bike ride. Road about eleven miles. Picked up some beer. Stopped at the park, did a few pullups.

I prefer riding on quiet country roads, but when I go shopping, there's pretty much no alternate route to avoid the busy traffic. I live just outside the city and going into the city I have to pass through some very busy intersections, and I'm developing a problem, perhaps you could call it a health problem, a sensitivity to the pollution from the car exhaust.

Whenever it gets hot, or pretty much temperatures at or above 80, which is what we're getting into now, and I get caught at a red light at a busy intersection, I feel like I can't breath, like I'm borderline going to have a medical emergency, but as soon as the traffic resumes, and I accelerate, I feel fine, I feel a cool breeze, and can finally breath again.

That happened to me today. It was the worst I ever felt, a longer light than usual, I thought I wasn't going to make it. I'm thinking it may be a panic attack, but it's not just that, there really is some bad pollution, with all the cars and trucks idling, but at the same time I think it's partly psychological, panicking over the precarious situation that I'm in, riding the bike lane sandwiched in and pretty much trapped with nowhere to escape between two lanes of bumper to bumper traffic on both my left and right sides, with there being six lanes in total.

And meanwhile the hot sun is beating down on me, cooking me alive, and there is limited oxygen. It's really like hellish conditions. Just the intersections though, as soon as we're moving, it's much better. I mention it because it was the worst I ever had it today, and ironically I didn't even have any beer last night, no hangover effects to explain the deficit, but I had a really hard time, probably because of the allergy problems I've been having the last couple of weeks, sneezing, watering eyes, scratchy throat. Yeah, allergies, hot air, and air pollution, do not mix. It makes for conditions that are pretty much a hell on earth.

Once I got passed that particularly hellish intersection, of course I had to take a break. As soon as the light turned green I got out of there and pulled off the road as fast as I could. I'm trying to bring my heart rate down. Drinking water. Standing in the shade. I'm noticing the smell of creosote bush, and it was making me sick. I never liked that smell. In fact, I never much liked the desert smells. I do like the desert, don't get me wrong, but just that some of the desert smells give me a headache. In case you didn't know, creosote kind of smells like turpentine. I know it's supposed to have some therapeutic antiseptic value, but I never liked it. So anyway, it took me awhile to regain my balance, because between the car exhaust and some of these desert plant smells I was having a really hard time getting a fresh lungful of air.

So, it's still March, soon to be April, which means we got maybe two months left before it gets awfully hot, which means above 100 degrees. Will I ever go on my bicycle tour before then? I'm sad to say that it looks unlikely. But we'll do what we can.

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