The instant Charles hit the gravel, the strong cross winds blew him across the glazed surface and off the side of the road. Less than a mile into our planned gravel century and we'd already had our first crash. This wasn't going to be our day. After slipping and sliding over the next half mile, we decided it'd be wise to switch this over to the pavement.
So north we went, up Springville Road. Plans were modified to head up to County Home Road where we would turn into the wind for the next 12 miles, then wind our way up to Quasqueton and back. It may not have been the best route, but I don't ride pavement much and I ride that particular area even less so I wanted to stick with what I knew. Once we turned into the wind, I tucked in behind Charles. My legs were still shot from the nearly four hours of hills we attacked two nights before, so I was perfectly ok with sandbagging it. I offered to pull exactly once. It was more for posterity than anything.
Around an hour or so later, we decided to take a short food break as we came up to the Cedar Valley Nature Trail. We took shelter from the wind in the viaduct, had a few bites, and changed our plans yet again. Instead of heading north on Center Point Road, we'd take the trail south through town to escape the wind for a while. Finally we were able to carry some decent speed. We followed the trail another 20 miles to Ely, hitting the bike shop along the way, and stopped for an honest bar food lunch.
After lunch, it was back up the trail to retrace our route home. Even though County Home was busier than we liked, it was also the best road for taking advantage of the wind and boy howdy, we'd earned that tailwind. When we finally made the turn east on it, I settled into a nice rhythm and let the wind do the work for me. Charles, needing to get it out of his system, shot off and took full advantage of it. I caught up to him a few miles later as he was coming back towards me. We hung together the rest of the way, turning south across the wind before we really wanted to. I estimated we'd pull back into town at around 90 miles, but I didn't feel the need to round it out to a full century. I made the comment that in terms of effort, we'd done 100. Including stops and all the slow going in the wind on worn down legs, we'd been out for over 8 hours and it was starting to get dark. That turned out to be good enough for us.
So... No gravel hundy. No hundy on the pavement either. Oh well. One of the Slender Fungus guys told once told me the body recognizes hours, not miles. Good wisdom, that is. Can't get too caught up in arbitrary numbers, after all.