|As my camera is no longer, all these photos are from the past. Sorry.|
Wednesday was actually a pretty nice day, possibly the only "pretty nice day" during this rather wet and miserable week. We got to see the sun, and the high hovered around 50F/10C. Nice for December. So the idea of a short ride during the limited hour or so of daylight after work was tempting. Maybe up to Mount Tabor? It would be short and sweet but fulfill a couple important points: a nice climb to test both me and the Crested Butte, and a view. But then the "I need to do stuff!" cloud hovered over my head, and I started to make excuses. "Oh, Tabor is in the opposite direction from where I need to go. And I should be doing something else."
Thankfully, I silenced these bad thoughts and went for the ride. And of course, it was a lourvely little affair. As I haven't really done much climbing with the Crested Butte, the Mount Tabor meander was a nice little testing ground. Hey, you can't own a mountain bike and not ride on a mountain, right? (Yes, I realize that Tabor is barely a mountain at only 650 feet/200 metres in elevation* but it does have "Mount" in its name, and it is a former volcano, which is better than most of your hills or mountains, wherever you are.) To test out the current (and not permanent) gearing, I went up a fairly hard and steep way: SE Yamhill from 60th into the park. Grades are 8-10% on the paved part, and the unpaved section is probably more 10%. The low-low of 26 in the front and 34 in the back (approx 20 gear inches) tackled the steep climb purdy good. The Rubena Cityhopper tires were no slouch in the muddy stuff department.
Beyond the technical bike proving, it was just good to be up on Mount Tabor. I hadn't been up to this park in a while, and while sometimes it's tough to get the motivation to go up there, once I'm up there, I really do appreciate it. The trees, the view, the tranquility. (More so on Wednesday, as cars are banned from the park on this day.) The one blip was the cloudy skies to the east obscured any view of Mount Hood or Saint Helens. I love catching glimpses of the mountains during the winter, as they are brilliantly bright with snow.
After pausing at the top, I felt refreshed. I wasn't stressing out about stuff. It made me realize how much I like Mount Tabor, even after almost twelve years of living in Portland, and any trip up to "the mount" brings some degree of peace and stability. How come I don't do this more often?
The short answer is: It's out of my way. Before the Cross-Con Tour of 2011, April and I lived for a year in the Montavilla** neighborhood just east of Mount Tabor. As my work was (and is) at the Hawthorne Hostel, I had to either circumnavigate or go over Mount Tabor on an almost-daily basis. So I found many more opportunities to get up to it, as it was pretty much on my way somewhere.
But now we live closer in, in Hosford-Abernathy. Work is only a 1 1/2 mile ride one way (vs the 3 3/4 mile ride from Montavilla.) And pretty much everything I need is within 2 miles. This list includes: my Post Office, my library branch (where I pick up my holds), multiple bike shops, grocery stores, coffee shops, bars, and other merchants. I don't even have to cross the river to downtown!*** While there are obvious benefits to all this, there is one drawback: because everything is so close at hand, I don't have much reason to ride more than 5 miles in a day. When we lived in Montavilla, not only did I have to ride 7 1/2 miles round-trip to work, but there wasn't that much close by, so basic things like grocery shopping at better stores required at least a 2 mile ride one-way.
And I've noticed. I've become a bit more sedentary in nature, especially since the nice long days of summer are a faded memory. Not only do I ride less, I'm less motivated to ride. And I've been feeling more down. I need to get out on the bike more often. And soon.
*Well, if you're in Chicago...
**Montavilla is one of four neighborhoods that incorporate Tabor into its name, as Montavilla is a syllabic contraction of "Mount Tabor Villa". The other three 'hoods are North Tabor, South Tabor, and of course, Mount Tabor.
***It would be perfect if there was an REI in SE.