Last weekend's ride was a gravel century with Nick and Wade. We rode over to Frasier on the Des Moines river and rode north along the valley to Stratford then turned around and came back the same way. As usuall the hills along the route were challenging. They are steep and pretty long for the Midwest, but there aren't as many as I had remembered. We rode more flat river bottom miles than it seemed like we did last year along here.
All along the way I was dreading the last hill out of the valley, Y Camp Hill (166th Ave). It isn't the longest, but it sure seems to be the steepest and most of the hill is hidden from the bottom so you don't know just how far you have to go. I wasn't sure, but I thought I could make it up without walking. As I started up the gravel was looser than I was hoping. That meant that I wouldn't be able to stand up and pedal without my wheels slipping, not to mention that it is a lot harder to ride through loose gravel. About half way up I went over to the left side of the road. Not where I wanted to be given the possiblity of traffic, but it was much smoother than the right side. After I got onto the harder surface it was no problem to finish the climb. It almost seemed too easy.
All in all a pretty good ride for the first century of the year.