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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Sheesh, what a week (or so)

I’ve been working on this update for several days, running out of time at each attempt, and decided to use this morning’s break time to get it posted.

Oh, and if I owe you email or a phone call, sorry. I’m really behind on all correspondence.

Saturday was a fun ride with the Cascade Bicycle Club-We started out at the Red Hook Brewery in Woodinville, rode down the Sammamish River trail, around the lake and back to the brewery for lunch (and a beer or two) at Forecaster’s Pub

Red  Hook Lake Sammamish Ride

The ride was 35 miles and the group I was with averages about 15 mph.

After that, I headed over to the Y for a swim workout. I could barely feel my legs after a few rounds of dolphin kicking.

I killed my bike computer some time ago, and have been relying on my Garmin for bike data. Since I use it for multi-sport/triathlon, it’s a wrist model and it’s difficult to view my current speed. It also doesn’t stop the clock when I stop so my average speed doesn’t calculate correctly.

I sucked it up and bought a Sigma wireless bike computer. Since I’m going to be leading rides for Both Cascade and the Tacoma Wheelmen, I need to make sure that I’m riding the advertised pace of the ride and I need to be able to see that quickly. It will also be nice to know what my actual average is. This model is waterproof, so hopefully I won’t kill it as quickly as my previous one.

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AND, it’s wireless… which made it much easier to install

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On Sunday, I took a group out for the Tacoma Wheelmen. We started at the HUB which is only four blocks from my place and it’s happy hour all day on Sunday ($5 buffalo chicken pizza… YUM!)

In honor of my favorite ride start location, I work my favorite Cycles Gladiator Jersey. (I have a long sleeve one for winter and a sleeveless one for summer)

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This ride was 38 miles with about 1,900 feet of climbing. We made a loop around Pt Defiance, crossed the narrows bridge, rode the Cushman Powerline Trail all the way to the hilly end (several 8-10 percent grades) down to the Gig Harbor waterfront and up Soundview.

Speaking of Soundview. I am a DORK. The reason I had such trouble on the early season ride to Gig Harbor is that I’ve been using the wrong (very steep, it’s like climbing a wall) road to get out of town. I’ve been climbing up Pioneer instead of Soundview [slaps self on forehead]

This was a fun route and a good workout; I’ll definitely lead that trip again.

Happy Hour Sunday Ride

Monday was work, recovery and trying to shovel through the mess all over my apartment; it seems I’m only home long enough to dirty dishes, drop outdoor/bike gear all over the place and sleep. It’s not clean, but it’s not a health hazard any more. I’ll work on it a bit more tonight after spin class.

I did get some rest Sunday evening.

I was sitting on the couch, admiring my pedicure (Angie took a few of us out for a pedi party last week).

Then I noticed the shiny gold duck that Kelly sent me.

And since I’m never out of reach of a camera…

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Speaking of poultry…

My friend Sonia has been recovering from a procedure and is bored out of her skull.

She is amused by peeps, so I threw together a little YouTube video for her.

It took WAY longer than it should have because WINDOWS LIVE MOVIE MAKER SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS!!! I had to go to Windows Live because my new camera shoots .mov format (QuickTime, I HATE HATE HATE you too!) and the old, serviceable version of Windows Movie Maker doesn’t support that (or many other formats) So instead of just fixing a program that worked decently, they created a newer, crappier version.

Based on reviews and results from my friend Mark (waves to Tokyo where he’s visiting and it’s snowing) I uploaded Pinnacle Studio.

I think I’ll make a St Patty’s Day Dash video and use that for editing.

And with that, my break is over and I need to get back to work.


Mood: Tired


Insane Bikers Invade Tacoma!

It was my Monday off and it wasn’t really raining, so I was able to join the Tacoma Wheelmen for Joyce’s Hale Hearty and Ready for Coffee ride.

I lost count of the ride participants at 30-something.

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Welcome to the dark side, we have COOKIES!

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Tacoma Wheelmen go crazy (in a good way) when it’s good not completely craptastic cycling weather. (which basically means, no ice, snow or relentless torrential downpours) I remember rides last year where we literally followed the de icing truck down the road in the North End and one when we all had snotcicles and our eyelashes froze on the way to Spanaway.

Here’s a photo of Steve taking a photo of the huge group at the Proctor Starbucks.

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We invaded the streets of North Tacoma and wound our way to Pt Defiance…

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Matt from the Harmon Bike Club was out for a solo ride and said that he saw a few bikers zip by and thought to himself “cool”, then more zipped by, and more… and more… and more…

He caught up with us in Pt Defiance. (where there were more COOKIES!)

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We cruised through the west end… (obligatory photo of Bill’s butt)

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and invaded our favorite espresso shop in University Place (inside and out)

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It was 26 glorious (almost dry, not quite warm) hilly miles. (well, 4.16 extra for me since I rode to the ride start from home)


Of course, on every hill I kept saying, “I am so NOT ready for Chilly Hilly”

More photos here…

I hope we have decent riding weather on Saturday!


Mood: Happy



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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