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My first STP experience

This past weekend, I rode my bike from Seattle to Portland for the GroupHealth’s Seattle to Portland Classic. All in all, it was 202 miles from UW Seattle to Portland. I took two days to get to Portland and many events happened, I will try to share my experience and hopefully, this will help future STP riders.

When my friends and I decided to do the STP, we decided early that 1 day STP would be way to crazy, that would be over 12 hours of riding at an incredible speed of 18 or 19 miles per hour. Since we did not want to do that, we decided to do a two day ride. Instead of a even break of around 100 miles the first day, and around 100 miles the second day, we decided to do around 150 miles to Longview, WA on the first day and around 50 miles to Portland.

DAY 1 – 150 Miles to Longview, WA

Day 1 started off really early, we decided to meet around 4:45 am, so I was up around 3:45 am to get ready and prepare. The night before I went to sleep pretty early, but I was very nervous and anxious about the ride. I have never done anything like this before, the longest ride I have ever done was 77 miles. This was going to be a challenge. When we got to UW, it was around 5:30 am and the sun was already peaking out, we started from the starting line at 5:45am.

3 of us before the start

At the Starting Line

After a short and fast 25 miles ride out of Seattle, we arrived at our first official rest stop.

@the first stop - REI Stop 25 miles in

Shortly after our first stop, we faced “the hill”. “The hill” suppose to be the largest climb of the day and of the ride, but we found out later that this doesn’t seem like the case. It maybe because it is still early in our ride, I was able to climb “the hill” without too much trouble at all. Shortly after the hill is the first series of rolling hills through Auburn, WA.
This is also when I got one of my first comments about my Auburn University Bicycle jersey. The comment was, “humm… it ironic that you are riding through Auburn with an Auburn jersey on.” Of course, my answer was, “that’s right!!! WAR EAGLE, BABY!”

Leading the pack

On my 3rd rest stop of the STP ride, I came across an Alabama guy. He was wearing an Alabama jersey. “Oh”, I said to myself, “I’ve got to take a picture with that guy”.

Auburn vs Alabama... WAR DAMN EAGLE!!!

100 miles later, we finally reached Centralia, WA, the mid-point of the ride. This was where most people stopped for the night, but my group decided to stop at Longview so we still have another 50 miles to go. When we first roll in to Centralia College, it was very welcoming. There are people giving out cream-sicles (ice cream on a stick) and lots of festival activity, but for us, we knew that we still have 50 miles to go, so we took a short break at a small turkey sandwich, fill our water and we were off again. Oh there are times that I wish that my first day ride just ended in Centralia, but I know that if that is the case I will hate myself on day two.

Finishing my first century ever!!! reaching Centralia College


resting with Colin at Centralia... 50 miles to go.

After Centralia was a series of rolling hills again, then there is the Napavine hill. I found this hill much tougher than “the hill”. Maybe because it is 100 miles later or maybe it is truly a bigger hill, but it was tough. There are no official stops from Centralia until few miles outside of Longview, WA. After leaving Centralia, I stopped at ever stop alone the way, Napavine, Winlock, Vader, and Castlerock. Along the way I got lost, took a wrong turn, but did end back on the trail, I also begin to have cramps on my calves, but with the help of banana and electrolytes, I was able to bike to Longview, WA. I remember really clearly the last few miles before Longview, I was mentally telling myself just few more miles to go, and comparing the distance to my distance to work. Around 5:30 pm I made it to the motel in Longview. After around 12 hours, I biked 150 miles. For dinner, we had some wonderful local Mexican food and shortly after that I fell asleep.

Day 2 – 52 miles to Portland

Day 2 started off pretty slow, we met up around 7:30 for breakfast at the local McD. Yep the breakfast of the champions right? Around 8:45, we departed from the motel and are on our way to Portland. Our estimated time of arrival will be around 12:30pm to 1 pm. Around 9:00 am, we biked across the Longview bridge into Oregon. Good-Bye Washington, Hello Oregon. I was feeling a be sore at first, but after 30 minutes or so, I am feeling great. After the bridge, the route follow along the river and it’s once again rolling hills. As I was going up one of the hills, I heard some one yell out, “Are you from Auburn?” I said yes, and we both yelled out “WAR EAGLE!!!” Our battle cry gave me an extra bit of juice and I pedal faster and stronger up the hill. During the first 15 miles to our first stop, I reached my all time high top speed of 40.5 miles per hour. It was amazing fast going down hill on my bike. Thinking back, it’s pretty crazy and I don’t know if I would do that again.

At our first stop of the day, we all felt really strong and did not stop long and we were on our way. As normal, Colin was the strongest and was gone shortly after we left the rest stop. I was slower than Colin, but faster than Brian. Shortly after we left the rest stop, we were all on our own following different pace lines. As I was around 1 mile out from small town of St. Helens, a group of bike in front of me slowed down all of the sudden. I grab my breaks and slowed down, and BAM!!!! Out of no where, I was slammed by another bike!!! I flew forward for about 3-4 seconds trying to regain my balance and fell on the pavements. I was on the ground trying to see if I am bleeding or now and then to check on what’s going on. I saw the other guy on the ground too. But he seems to be ok as well. While I was still in shock, all I remember is all the other STP riders yelling, “get the F*CK off the road!!!!” Yes, guys very very classy. and the fact is there is a minivan that stopped to help us and was actually blocking the bike land to protect us, they really do not need to be so rude. Amazingly, the Goldwing riders came by really quickly and check to make sure we are ok. Physically, I seem to be ok, my left arm is bang up, but I was ok, no major cuts, however, my bike was not so lucky. My new bike that I just bought one week ago is all messed up. The rear derailer was messed up, and one of the rear tire spoke was out of the hub and bent. There was no way I was able to ride on. My only hope was to get to a near by mechanic and maybe, maybe they have a new tire or something that can help me through my last 30 miles. The person that hit me was friendly, he was from Canada. When I told him of my bike situation, how my bike was stolen 1 week before STP and how I just bought this brand new bike, he agreed to pay for my repairs.



Since I was stuck here, I called Vicky and asked for a pick up. Vicky was about 1.5 hours away so we waited. The Canadian’s ride came about 1 hour later and agreed to drop me off at the nearest rest stop with a bike mechanic, which was only one miles away. When we got there, I wasn’t sure if they can help me. But amazingly enough, Ted from BikenHike, a bike shop from Portland, OR, was able to patch me up, adjust my derailer and sent me off to finish my last 30 miles. My derailer performed excellent, I could not tell that I had an accident. So, please visit them, BikenHike. if you need a bike and you are in Portland, they are great!!!

Ok, enough promotions, back to the story. I fill up my water bottle and continue my ride. At this time, my friends are already finished the ride and started on their beers and I was still 30 miles out. The unfortunate thing is that when my bike was fixed Vicky was only 5 minutes out and I told her that I am going to finish my ride. I felt bad for Vicky doing all that extra driving, but I do really appreciate her support and felt really loved to have someone to be there for me. I love you, Vicky!!!

The last 30 miles was pretty good, I did not stop at any more stops. When I finally reached the St. Johns Bridge, I knew I only have few more miles to go.


After the bridge, it was a slow ride across the north end of Portland and eventually ending up at the finish line. Right before the finish line, I saw Vicky waiting for me, I cheered for her, she tried to snap a picture of me and … well… she tried, I was riding too fast, I was too excited.


202 miles, a bent spoke, broken hub, brused arm, and 4 War Eagles later, I finished the 2011 Seattle to Portland Classic. An Auburn Tiger never quits!!!


Oh and the beers and the hamberger at the after party are the BEST EVER!!!!!




So will I do it again? Oh I don’t know yet… ask me in 8 month!!!
What would I change? I probably would train more, and change how I eat during my ride.

Take a look at all the pictures below. Enjoy!!!

Photos: 2011 STP Pictures

Get your very own Auburn Tigers Bicycle Jersey Click HERE!!!

just yet another training day

Since STP is only 2 weeks away, it’s time to train more!!! So today, my friends, Bob and Brian, joined me for a 72 mile bike ride around the greater Seattle area. It’s basically a big loop around Lake Washington. In the end, it felt pretty good. I was a bit tired, but still felt pretty good. I can say one thing, I felt much better than when I rode the 70 miles for the Tour de Cure. Take a look at our stats below.

The following are few pictures from the trip.

I did not know that there was an I-90 Tunnel for bicycles.

A different view of the City.

New tires for my bike

After a painful couple of months with flat tires, I finally decided to get some better tires. I decided on some Continental Gator Skin 700x28c puncture resistant tires. These tires were on sale at REI, they are also a bit slicker and thinner than my current tires. 32 vs. 28, so in the long run I should be getting less road resistance. Anyways, after pinching another tub while putting on my tires, I finally got them installed. So tomorrow, I will test these bad boys out. I will update on the performance and please oh please don’t get another flat!!!

Tour De Cure

So after 73 miles of bike riding and 2 flats later, I finally completed my first long ride. Thanks for everyone that supported the Diabetes Association and the cause. Also thanks for all those that donated!!!! Thank you for helping me make my goal!!!!

So how do I feel? a bit tired, but good. I am disappointed at the two flats that I got but it’s ok .. at least I finished without too much trouble. Oh and I reached my top speed today… 41 mph going down hill!!!! amazing!!! So onward for more training toward STP.

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Bike to Work Day 2011

So today is bike to work day. I’ve been fighting this cough for a week now, and this is the first time returning on my bike since my fall. The ride to downtown was great almost all down hill going in. The day was beautiful and the ride was great. The only problem was that today was also the day that I had to teach a class in the Seattle office, so I had to bring my laptop and also some demo gear as a visual aid for my class. So my little backpack was packed and heavy. As I stated, getting to work was great, however, on my return trip, I discovered something. I got my 4th flat this year!!!! Yeah… just before I was leaving the garage I notice the my bike sounds a little funny, I was thinking … oh no not again!!!!

And yes… another flat.. the back tire this time. Luckily, I just bought 3 tubes this week. but then I noticed I don’t have my pump with me… yikes!!!

Luckily, my best buds Colin and Brian are around, they came down to the garage with a small pump and helped me out. After about 15 minutes, got a new tube, pumped up and I was on my way.

4th one of the year!!! what’s going on this year….
so tomorrow will be my first 70 miler with Tour de Cure!!!!

Wish me luck!!!! oh and also if you feel like donating to help the fight against diabetes click here!!!

First Training ride to Marine Park in Everett, WA

So today is my first training ride for STP. My buddy Brian and I decided to ride up to Everett and back for our first long ride. The round trip is around 60 miles or so. The trip started off really well, the day was beautiful and we rode 29.8 miles and reached Marine Park in Everett, WA. The destination was not what I expected, but it was a destination. We did see an aircraft carrier at the Navy base!!!

Aircraft Carrier in Everett!!!

After a brief, lunch at a brewery nearby to carb load, we started to ride home. Around 11 miles from completing our trek, I got a flat, I took the time to patch my flat and I thought all is well and started to ride again. After another mile, right when I was crossing a street, my tire gave away, I slipped and fell, luckily I was not hurt. Since I did not have any spare tube, I decided to end my ride for the day and call for recovery. Vicky was quick to arrive and pick me up. So after a long day, I completed 52.56 miles, but was not able to finish my entire 60 mile trip. The good news is my buddy Brian was able to finish the 60 miles!!! Good job Brian!!

The Tulip Ride

So this past weekend was my friend Howard’s Annual Tulip Ride. It was an ok day at first but it got really beautiful in the afternoon. The ride was a short and sweet. We rode from Bay View Park to the tulip fields and then to La Conner for lunch. Enjoy the pictures.


My second flat tire

So this morning was suppose to be a beautiful weather day, but after picking up Vicky’s car and paying outrageous amount of money for a water pump replacement, the weather started to rain. And BTW why is it so expensive to work on a car?? Some times I wish I have a shop so I can do work myself.

Anyways, It was raining and I was suppose to ride to work today. So, I waited until the rain stopped and decided to ride anyways. I needed to training for STP. As I was checking my tire pressures, my rear tire pressure valve broke and PTTTT…. there goes my air and my rear tire is flat. Doh!

The good thing is that now I have a chance to change my rear tube. The experience was not as bad as the first time. I was pretty efficient and quick and soon. I was on my way.

The ride to work was pretty good, only one close call, there are alot of crazy drivers on the road that don’t respect the bicyclists. However, I’ve also seen some really stupid and irresponsible bicyclist that just totally ignores all traffic lows and cut cars off. I can see why the drivers don’t respect us. So stop being stupid crazy drivers and bicyclists!!!

Yet another Bike to work day

So I biked to work again, it’s been a while since I last talked about biking to work. The 11.5 miles from my house to work isn’t as bad as it used to be when I first started. Of course the distance is close to 2 miles shorter but who’s counting right? Ever since my co-workers and friends moved downtown this year, I haven’t been riding as much. I do need to ride more. I need to lose some of this weight that I’ve gained. Anyways, 52 minute ride to work isn’t too bad.

Weekend / Monthly Update with Min-Hsao Chen

So it has been a very long time since I wrote in my blog and since I am in the middle of my craziness at work on a Sunday, what better time to write a little bit about what have been going on so I won’t forget all the little things.

So Let’s start from now and go back to where we last left off…

Today.. I am working in the office today… overwhelmed with 2 major projects. Oh and I also receive my new glasses… which is incredibly fast.  I ordered them on line on 05/20/2010.  Which means I got them in 2 days!!!!! oh and it was only 15 dollars with lens and coatings and all!!! baby!!!

I may post a picture later if I have time.

Yesterday (05/22/2010), we spend an entire day looking for carpets and paint colors…. why? well… look below… 🙂

This past Friday (05/21/2010), I was suppose to be a home owner, however, the stupid lender decide not to fund in the last minute and then decided that they made a mistake and will be funding me.  So I will be closing on Monday!!! Oh … I guess I will be a home owner soon!!! yeah!!!

This past Friday was bike to work day, and I biked to work going my fastest getting to work for an 8AM meeting.  54minutes from my townhome to my office!!! just short of 14mile/hour average time.  I am getting stronger.  In the afternoon, I took on the challenge of 8th Ave NE going south bound.  Yes, it was a super step hill and on top of that it was pouring !!!!  I was soaked!!!

Wednesday, my folks arrived in Seattle.

Monday, I biked to work with my new bike seat… I felt the comfort and more power!!!

2 weeks ago… I was back in NYC for my second trip for my project.

about a month ago… oh I signed contract for a new house. 🙂

So did I miss anything?

I corrected Google maps!!!

Few weeks back, Google released the updated google maps that supported bicycle routes. Of course I immediately map my route from home to work and I found that they did not connect a segment of the Inter-urban trail. So I wrote to them and today I got a response back!!! Woo hoo!!

Hi Min Hsao,

Your Google Maps problem report has been reviewed, and you were right! We’ll update the map soon and email you when you can see the change.

Report history
Problem ID: 5D86-46E6-CFDF-4DA5

Your report: After step 35 there is an interurban trail from 52nd Ave W linking to 44th Ave W. this is a much better route than what is suggested on the bike directions from google.

Thanks for your help,
The Google Maps team

Wednesday …

My ride to work was fun this morning. So I made it under 1 hour from my house. 55 minute of riding time and 3 minutes of stops alone the way. My average speed today was around 14. It was good, but I still feel very tired. I’ve been tracking my diet as well on I am hoping with the tracking of my diet and my excercise, I will be able to accomplish some weightloss. Yeah.. I know… I am getting big… reaching the unthinkable 200. :o.

So the REI app provided me some interesting data today.

For my morning ride I did the following, this is relative to driving my G35x.

Trip Carbon Reduction: 14.31 lbs
Trip Calories Burned: 623 C
Trip Dollars Saved: $1.93

So here is the ride to work today.

6th trip to work

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Woo Hoo I am at work!!

So after a little over an hour.. I am at work. Thanks for Colin leading the way. It was a long ride, but a fun one. I was pretty much drafting Colin most of the way, not on purpose but because I am slow 🙁 I think I do need to eat something before I ride in the morning.

Please take a look at my progress.

First bike ride to work

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