Cyclists to take ‘tour de TJC’ on Saturday
A group of Tyler Junior College bicyclists will take a "tour de TJC" on Saturday, setting out on a daylong trip encompassing all five TJC sites in preparation for an upcoming 320-mile ride across Washington State.
The cyclists will begin at TJC Lindale, then proceed to the TJC main campus on Fifth Street and the TJC West Campus on Loop 323 before heading south to TJC's sites in Jacksonville and Rusk.
This will be Team TJC’s final preparatory ride before packing up for the 25th annual RedSpoke, a five-day trek from Redmond to Spokane, Wash., set July 18-22.
"As we were planning Saturday’s ride, we realized how much TJC has grown during its 85-year history and how TJC really has taken the college to the people of East Texas," said TJC President Dr. Mike Metke, a longtime bicycling and fitness enthusiast and former member of Redmond Rotary International.
Redmond Rotary sponsors the annual RedSpoke ride to benefit numerous charitable causes. Before joining TJC in 2007, Metke was president of Lake Washington Technical College in Kirkland, Wash.
Leading Saturday’s ride will be TJC board member Peggy Wagstaff Smith, long-time TJC tennis coach John Peterson, and Metke.
"Peggy Wagstaff Smith was introduced to cycling two years ago, and she has absolutely taken off with it," Metke said. "In the tradition of her father, the legendary TJC coach Floyd Wagstaff, Peggy is a fierce competitor.
"I never had the privilege of meeting Coach Wagstaff; but through knowing Peggy, I feel as though I have spent time with the man himself. Those determined Wagstaff genes are evident in his daughter."
Metke said Smith has also recruited her husband, Preston Smith, and their son, Pres, to join in her cycling pursuits.
In addition to the Smiths and Metke, TJC riders participating on Saturday will be: Dr. Betsy Ott, biology professor; Vincent Nguyen, director of student success; and other community members.
TJC first participated in RedSpoke in July 2010 as part of Metke’s Going Strong, Getting Stronger initiative leading into TJC’s 85th anniversary year, which began in 2011.
Anyone interested in participating in the Saturday ride can contact the TJC president’s office at 903-510-2380.