SCU Quad County Recap

Today I rode in the SCU Quad County Metric with my friends Ken and Coco. The Quad County promised quiet, scenic low-traffic roads; well-stocked rest stops; and a post-ride hot lunch. In addition to the usual 25, 45, and 65 mile options riders could add on what is affectionately referred to as the ICU – an additional 8 miles with 1,200′ of elevation gain.

Let’s start with last night – I bike commuted because the weather was Uh-Ma-Zing. I also posted a new PR on the mile+ road up from the river. I got home in enough time to get a shower and grab a string cheese before bolting for my daughter’s concert. After, we decided to go for fro-yo. Before I knew it, I was in bed without a solid meal to recover from the commute and prep for today’s 74mi ultra-hilly ride.

So yeah. When the alarm clock went off at 5:30am, I realized my mistake and knew I would be paying for it today. Starting with a tank dangerously close to “E” … AWESOME.

The weather forecast for today varied wildly all week leading up, so I was thrilled when it only called for clouds until afternoon, then thunderstorms. I forced myself to eat and have a little coffee before my friends arrived. We loaded up our bikes on my SUV and headed out with a heavy rain falling. No sooner did we turn north a few miles later than the skies dried up. Excellent!

Highlights from the day:

* Mile 2: Steep hill! A portent of Things To Come.

* Mile 3: Flat! Ken found the insidious piece of amber glass. We’re a good flat-repair team.

* Mile 8: deciding Yes, we are heading into the ICU. Despite virtually EVERY OTHER CYCLIST around us opting out.

looks are deceiving - the entry to the ICU
looks are deceiving – the entry to the ICU
this is moments before we embark on a journey that only goes up.
this is moments before we embark on a journey that only goes up (I’m in the middle)

Doing things in a group, as a team, makes everything painful go by faster – many of the big hills averaged 7-9% grade. As does singing whatever song is in your head at a given moment. My favorite was when we busted out “Baby Got Back.”

Interesting note – the event photographer was in the ICU. I can’t wait to see what that picture looks like.

* Mile 28: first rest stop.

* great conversation about interesting stories from our lives. I can’t even remember all of them – but they made the miles fly.

* We passed by many farms and saw several white horses, each one looking at us. We took them to be a good omen for the ride.

* Mile 50: second rest stop and possibly the best smelling, cleanest port-o-potties I’ve ever used. Not being facetious.

one of the many picturesque farms we passed
one of the many picturesque farms we passed

This is where the skies decide to open up. A few miles of light rain gave way to torrential downpour. A few more miles and we are now in a full-on thunderstorm. We’ve abandoned our glasses and are wincing through the driving rain. Let’s be clear: riding in the rain at 16mph feels like sand being thrown on your body.

We slog on, laughing and making the best of our lot. We decide to skip the “bonus” ICU segment in favor of getting back to my car and dry clothes.

short break to check the cue sheet because we had NO IDEA where we were
short break to check the cue sheet because we had NO IDEA where we were

Somehow we determine we are three miles from the finish. This is a complete lie, as we are closer to 10 miles from the finish. ONWARD!

Three actual miles from the end, the sun comes out. We are soaked. We are happy. We are tired. We made it back to the finish as the volunteers were starting to close up shop.

must. eat.
must. eat.

Overall, I can’t even tell you how beautiful this ride was, how much fun I had, and how very legit the ICU is. After we fueled up with a hot lunch, we changed into warm, dry clothes to drive home (+1000 points for this idea).

If you are in the Pennsylvania area and have the opportunity to ride this event, I highly recommend it.

Now it’s time to move into recovery mode and get some sleep. See you on the road!

Check out the stats here:

7 thoughts on “SCU Quad County Recap

  1. Awesome post, Awesome Girl. I’d like to add that rain at 16 mph feels like wet sand :) I looked at the flyer for the event and immediately heard Selene Yeager’s words of wisdom in my head… “The flyer always lies.”

    I do hope we’ll get to ride together sometime.

    1. re: the flyer always lies. LOL! For the most part it was accurate – very quiet, *very* scenic roads. We topped one particularly grueling hill and stopped to refuel – the view was unreal!

      Had the weather been sunnier it would have been perfect. The rest stops were very well stocked. The ICU was as advertised – extra hilly and extra painful. I’m betting more people skipped the ICU in favor of beating the rain back to the start.

      I felt pretty shredded with my 5-6mph average up the big hills – then I looked at Strava and I am the slowest of the dozen or so Strava-tracking women who have ridden these hills. The only way to get better is to suffer repeatedly until you know how to rock it. :D

      Yes, we should totally ride together sometime!

  2. OMG…I took a look at the stats…the uphill portions were many…esp that one at the beginning. I have NEVER been on a ride where the ending was on the downhill….I am jealous (though….this is the part AFTER the ICU???? (I could not tell if you did the ICU or not…your blog seemed to imply no…but the stats show the mileage as if you did it…but the hill was not shown? I might be totally reading the log wrong.)

    At any rate, the scenery looks grand lovely…I am jealous. (But a good jealous.) Oh…I also went to the link with the ride site … that was a GREAT value! Was there a free tee-shirt though? (I could not find if there was a tee shirt or jersey with the entry…yah, that influences if I do a ride lol.)

    I am doing another metric in a month…the local Tour de Cure (I have not signed up yet but will soon.) The entry is $15…but you also have to raise $150 in donations to ride. I will likely pay the total $165.

    Ohhh…your bike in the photo…that is a different bike? It looks green in the photos.

    Am I being too gabby? Do I need to shut?

    1. Oh, we did the ICU … it’s where the route takes a left and all the “4”s are. :D There were actually two additional big hills that we skipped (I compared the routes on Ride With GPS) due to the thunderstorm but only lost 2 miles off the expected 76 miles.

      This ride was one of the most scenic I’ve ever been on. It is impossible for me to tell you how beautiful it was.

      The free t shirt was a technical shirt – so it will be great for when I am running or just want a shirt that wicks! :)

      I rode my Nice Bike, otherwise known as Electric Dream Machine. She’s a Felt ZW5 with a Specialized Oura saddle, compact crank, and a joy to ride. :) She’s my first road bike and has taken me on many club rides, rides for food (lunch, brunch, coffee), and crazy expeditions such as cycling to Atlantic City in February. :)

  3. Ohhhh, ok…got it…you just opted out of a portion of the ICU…nod nods. With the rain I would have as well. (Who am I kidding, I would have opted out of the whole ICU portion lol.)

    And ok … now I have to look up what a compact crank is *smiles* … I am soooo into biking these days. I have ridden a lot, especially when I do not have the child with me. My poor, poor mountain bike though is gathering dust….I cannot get enough of my new bike lol.

    By the way….wooohoo on the shirt … the one’s I always get are normal tee’s…its kind of nice to get something a bit more special yahhh!

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