It’s time to get busy, judging from last week’s tragi-comic bicycle adventure (or Miss Adventure, as it’s obvious our relationship is not on a first-name basis).

Call it an acclimation proclamation, a call to harms. In short, I’m going to have to go out on the bike and hurt myself over and over again. It just needs doing, else I’ll remain standing beside the road sniveling “Mommy! The stupid old air HURT me!”

The facts are these: Last week I kitted up (that is, I donned some tatty bike shorts, a pair of cut-off sweats for modesty, a jersey, a flapping LOUD aloha shirt, and a helmet with blinking bike light affixed; it’s the sort of oufit that had even Portlanders snorting into their lattés, which is fine because if you’re laughing at me it means you SEE me), slathered on a layer of 30 SPF, and carried my trusty steed (a 2004 model Trek 7500FX) down the stairs. My wife agreed to drive SAG for me in the event my effort flagged OR the bright red of our Toyota Yaris was needed to distract a Hummer whose rutting ground I might inadvertently invade.  Turning out of the parking lot, I pedaled my way to Academy Blvd. and turned east toward the Sandias. The goal was to reach Tramway Blvd, where I would turn north and ride as far as time allowed.

I made it two miles on Academy. At the most.

As I stood on the sidewalk waiting for the missus to circle around to collect me, as the blackness slowly receded from the edges of my vision, as the slight pink mist of exhaled lung tissue emanating from my gaping mouth abated little by little with each gusting breath, I had some time for reflection, a few minutes of interior dialogue. Much of it was profane, and I’m really trying to cut down on the coarse language. Basically the conversation ran thusly:

You have GOT to be [farmin’] kidding me. You used to commute ten miles a day to and from work with energy to spare, you take a couple of months off, and you only manage TWO MILES, if that? [Melon farmer]!

Hey! These aren’t the plump, juicy air molecules they grow at sea level, a’ight? These here are, like, tiny spiky samurai dudes. Who hate you. And look, who was it decided that because he wasn’t working he didn’t see a reason to go out and ride? What kind of [stuff] is that? You could’ve kept it up at least for fitness’ sake or better yet, FUN, but oh NO, hand me another [farmin’] doughnut! This is YOUR [gosh-danged] fault, Humongulus!

I was still castigating myself for my slothful ways when the missus reappeared and pulled over at the curb. This was humiliating! Depressing! Logic, ever timid and too polite, tapped lightly upon my cognitive processes and suggested that of course not all of this regretful situation was due to laziness, that I simply wasn’t prepared for the toll the elevation and the rarer air would take, but it really didn’t make me feel better. I was, and still am, very annoyed with myself.

Over the next week my lungs rattled like a plague victim’s, my back and chest hurt like Hell, my calves threatened to cramp just walking across the room. Although I recently — well, five or six months ago — had a physical exam and was declared reasonably fit (for a fat-air sucker, at least), it feels as if I’ve been betrayed by my aging shell of flesh. Well NUTS TO THAT. Acclimate I will. Today I’m going out again, and I’ll keep going out until I either conquer the atmosphere, or my colorfully-attired corpse decorates a curb (Ooh pretty! Is it a shrub? No, it was moving a little and then it stopped. Did you hear that noise it made? Like a cartoon steam shovel!)

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If you’re vegetably-inclined (I used to eschew — as in “not chew” — anything that grew from the ground, but I’ve learned better habits these last few years), I can recommend the farmer’s market on Eubank Blvd NE. We discovered it this last week and Holy Cr@p does it smell good in there! The markets we visited in Oregon were all open-air affairs, so this indoor market really concentrates the aromas, chief of which were from fresh green chiles. We took some home and the missus made her very first batch of green chile chicken enchiladas. I about made myself sick. There’s still some left in the fridge, so breakfast this morning will be atypical I think. Anyway, aside from the chiles there were strawberries that were among the largest and tastiest I’ve yet eaten. This kind of place could turn you vegetarian.

Today we’ll be touring the city again, seeing what’s to see and familiarizing ourselves with our adopted city. Maybe get further west of I-25, park the car and stroll Old Town. This is IF I haven’t been collected from the roadway and medivac’d to the nearest hospital before then. I’m off to read the morning paper and have a bite with the spousal unit. Enjoy your day.

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