Monday, July 20, 2009

The Lure of Bancroft


I have asserted that the hardest day of running is better than the easiest day of filing TPS Reports, bearing witness to incidents of blowhard-on-blowhard psychic violence, or otherwise frittering life away in a chicken-shit bureaucracy, and in support of that claim, I offer this map and elevation profile of Portland's SW Bancroft Street.

There's nothing especially special about it -- it's just a more or less quiet quarter mile stretch of residential street at the foot of Portland's West Hills, neither the most nor least tony or scenic of its kind. If it's famous or infamous for anything, word of that has not made it to me.

To a runner, however, it presents a dare: "Can you run me? How many times? How fast?" And then the trash-talking starts: "You can't run me. I'm too steep. You'll look like a tired, old, worn-out fool for even trying." And the race is on.

To which non-runners might respond: whuh?

I agree in the abstract: other people's hobbies and passions are idiotic. The known hazards seem to swamp any foreseeable benefits. The game hardly seems worth the candle. Any child knows better.

I can see that, and yet the lure of Bancroft is the lure of running writ small.

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