Photos by Toyoshige Ikeyama
for Sim Works USA
And just like that, the racing season here in Portland is almost finished. There are only two races left in the prestigious Mt. Tabor Circuit race (it's a live volcano folks). So, it's now or never, or at least now and then again next year. And that joke about the race season being over is kind of joke, but it's also kind of serious.
What is it about the Tabor races that I like so much?
I was asking myself this question as I was getting dropped from the field last week. There's a chance that one of the remaining laps was ridden with my eyes closed. Not sure why that happens, simple strain I'm sure. So, it isn't the shame of getting dropped, that feeling wears off after ten or fifteen times. There must be more.
Possibly a unique combination of proximity and light and pals? Hmm. Too easy? But, it's true, there's not a thing like rocketing down the backside of Mt. Tabor to bust out of the trees and be blinded by the descending sun as it sets on Portland. Just keep your eyes mostly on the racing please.
Anyway, maybe it actually is the first one. A survival instinct that is buried deep within and gets unearthed for 6 weeks of racing on a Wednesday night?
One of the most recent Joe Rogan Podcast offered some insight that was hard to shake. Especially when going back over it. Or when being shot out the back of the Senior Men's Field on Wednesday night. Sebastian Junger (his new book Tribe covers all this off in its first few pages, and is awesome) is his guest and very early on in the interview they get into what I think could be the heart of the matter for the racing community as well.
The gist of it is this — modern society takes away the task of survival leaving people to not feel responsible for their own. Boom. There it is, super heavy stuff. But, it sort of makes sense right? That people who then were the hunters, the warriors would need to do something else with their instincts. Otherwise their instincts take over and they just end up being assholes to everyone around them. You've heard your cycling/running/crossfit friends say it "if I don't get my two hours in every day I just end up a grumpy jerk."
Or maybe we are over-thinking it too much. Maybe Tabor is just the easiest place to get a mid week workout rolling for an hour on Wednesdays? Or maybe it's a good place to test out some new Ekiden Candy Stripe White Socks with the Team Wooly Mammoth kit?
It is Portland's racing community at its best (because it's too hard for shenanigans). It is Portland spectating at it's best (because it's too fast for shenanigans and it's in a beautiful park on a hill). Whatever the case, it's a fantastically fun and a little bit ridiculous, this race to the top of the volcano and if you ever think you should try it, you should.