Please Stop Perpetuating a non-existent Tacoma Inferiority Complex – An open letter to the Tacoma Wheelmen Bicycle Club

I woke up this morning to messages from cyclist friends of mine asking what in the hell is wrong with the Tacoma Wheelmen Bicycle Club (TWBC) and what their beef with the Cascade bicycle club is.

It didn’t take long to find a news article about the president of the TWBC, Darrell Eslinger, with all the civility and grace of a GOP presidential candidate on the debate platform throwing a tantrum because Cascade Bicycle Club is holding a ride on the new 520 bridge and he feels that he and everyone else should be able to ride it for free (which they can at any other time once the bridge is opened to the public for cycling)

As the alleged leader of an organization that hosts paid rides such as the Daffodil Classic which are also held on public roads, he of all people should understand the cost of liability insurance, port a potties, security and staffing for such an event. I don’t think he, or the Daffodil committee would appreciate someone from another bicycle club in another town demanding to be able to ride it for free.

Seriously? Are we in middle school?

This pathological need for the TWBC to perpetuate an inferiority complex in the name of Tacoma is embarrassing and insulting.

I’ve looked the other way for years as TWBC has hosted “anti Chilly Hilly” and “anti STP” events. Offering less expensive alternatives closer to home is a great idea, but does it have to come with such immature snark and intentionally creating animosity?

My membership is up for renewal, but I am not renewing it this year because I do not want to be associated with a group who promotes this sort of antagonistic agenda.

It’s time for the TWBC to grow up and focus on making positive contributions here in Tacoma, instead of worrying about what someone else is doing in another city and creating adolescent drama for no good reason.

Tacoma deserves better.

Tacoma is better than this.




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Nasty intestinal bug, saddle sores, PMS, peri-menopause, sleep deprivation, common sense…

What do these things have in common?

None of them stop me when my mind is made up.

Things calmed down on the intestinal front late yesterday afternoon, so it was safe for me to venture more than 200 yards from indoor plumbing, although I was still drained and uncomfortable.

I sucked down all the fluids and electrolytes and carbs I could get down (still nauseated so it wasn’t as much as it should have been) and hoped it was enough. I didn’t get to sleep until after midnight (and didn’t get a full night’s sleep the night before due to aforementioned nasty intestinal bug) and was up way too early to go ride the Daffodil Classic.

But by golly, ride it I did.

Common sense prevailed; I was talked out of riding the sixty-mile loop by Linda and Gary. (but I had an evil plan) and we headed out for the 40. (which although shorter contained some NASTY hills)

Here we are in Buckley with Mt Rainier in the background.

The hill coming up off of Lower Burnett Road was just flat EVIL !!! I BARELY made it up without “walking the dog” (about half of the riders did)

We lucked out on the weather, it was cool, slightly overcast (but the mountain was out) and it didn’t rain)

The trip through Buckley was nice and flat, and we had rolling hills in Connells Prairie and Bonney Lake (I tried to call my volleyball buddy Jim when we rode past his house but didn’t have his current number; no beer for us)

The screaming run down Sumner Tapps Highway was pretty intense. Just when I wanted to trust myself and Flash and let her go the heavy traffic would scare the crap out of me. I just couldn’t let myself go more than 32.7 mph (which for a newbie like me on a bike I’ve only had for a few weeks was scary fast)

What got us was that gosh darn hill on McCutcheon.


I made it about 1/3 of the way up and had to “walk the dog”. I tried to stand up and pedal, but I had no legs for that sort of stuff left under me.

Out of the dozen or so of us that hit that hill, only one pedaled all the way up.

So I was part of the “ninety-something” percent that just couldn’t take it at mile 33-something.

But that’s not comforting. I’m going back before the STP to go kick that hill’s butt!

It’s personal now.

On the downhill side of that road, we were diverted to the other lane because emergency crews were on the site of a bad accident.

Sadly, it was a cyclist down.

That’s a sobering experience. It was a screaming downhill run with badly patched asphalt on a hairpin curve. I don’t know if that’s what caused it, but I think I will continue to “be a weenie” on the screaming downhills.

I hope the rider is OK. She was breathing and I suspect conscious, so I hope it wasn’t life threatening.

Here are Gary and I at the finish at the Bell Tower in Orting.

Just before we pigged out on STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE !!!

I was able to lure Gary out to South Prairie and back to make it a 60 miler (low risk as it was on the foothills trail) by saying, “Hey, we can get a beer in South Prairie.”

Here is the fine establishment where we experienced the “local color” (I HAD to take a picture for MolliE B)

Apparently, they don’t get a lot of cyclists in there. It was all locals and they were quite excited to see a couple of folks in spandex. I was told repeatedly how great my butt looked.

You know what? I’m 45, if someone wants to tell me I have a tight and nice looking backside (without trying to touch it) that’s a big compliment and I’ll take it.

They told Gary he had nice legs. (he is getting some amazingly well defined calves)

Here we are with some of the locals (Eat your heart out MollieE)

The owner made a point of coming up to us, introducing herself an saying how happy she is to see new people stop by.

It IS a very friendly place (and they actually had some decent beers; I had a Full Sail Amber Ale)

We headed back to Orting High School (and just a bit past and back) to make a full 60 miles. Here’s the proof.

Oh, and a lot of you (especially my work friends) will be wondering about the SWAG…

We got nice little backpack style bags with the Tacoma Wheelman’s logo on them.

By the way, the Tacoma Wheelman produce a very well supported ride. (and YES, I am wearing Bad Kitty jammy bottoms in this picture)

and of course, shirts…. I think it’s cute the way Mt Rainier is made out of Strawberry Shortcake.

The elevation profile on this ride scared the crap out of me. Other than the “walking the dog” on the nasty hill (did I mention that 90-something percent of riders did that as well, and I’m going back to kick that hill’s butt before the STP?)

But I did it, and then some.

I’m going to feel quite a bit more confident on the next rides.

At this time last year, if anyone told me I’d ride ten miles more or less 60, I’d have called them crazy.

Now, I’m looking forward to 80 mile and century rides before the STP.

I think I’ve gone insane.

Oh well, it’s better than sitting on the couch or being (heaven forbid) “normal”


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