I had a fun little gravel ride today with two friends.
We kept pretty good distance between us, not that it matters that much in the open air when we’re mostly moving at 15 mph. A couple times, I thought about other rides on these particular roads – at least once, with one of today’s riders – and struggled to remember, at first, why we could have every ridden in a pack, or clustered around the guy who had a flat, or camped in a tiny little cabin in a county park.
This resetting of older memories is getting more and more frequent for me, a phenomenon that I’ve talked about with many people. Masking and distancing have permeated public life so deeply that it’s hard to remember that they’ve only been around for us since February, and only really common in Minnesota since late July (when the governor mandated masks in public places).
I guess it’s a nice demarcation in our shared personal histories: things we did before the pandemic, things we are doing in it. I suppose there will be a whole set of things that we’ll do after the pandemic, too (ubiquitous masking in health-care settings?) – or not (salad bars are over, right?). For now it’s enough of a challenge to remember that we weren’t being foolhardy eight years ago when ten of us rode in a tight paceline down a rutted, muddy road – we just didn’t have to worry about COVID.