My nephew John, who goes to school on the West Coast and is living with his sister out there this summer, was back for a couple of weeks (his internship is remote) and wanted to ride with me on Saturday, his last day out here. Who was I to say no to that? I rearranged some plans and off we went.
Being 21, athletic, and diligent about taking care of himself (at least relative to the universe of 21 year olds), he wakes up in the morning, by default, stronger than he was the day before. I, on the other hand, am a crumbling mess of never-really-was who can take my choice of being worse through erring on either side of the tiny little keyhole of having done just enough recently. Too much and I'm shattered, too little and you'd never believe the amount of de-training that can happen. To even things up, he (vaxxed*) hung out with some (vaxxed*) friends and got hammered on Friday night.
I've maintained a pretty regular riding schedule since forever, though the mileage and intensity are both significantly down from earlier times. I'm also in the finishing throes of school, and a lot of projects on the GF's house, which take their pound of flesh in both time and energy, plus I'm freaking old. But now a relatively spirited 90 minutes or 2 hours constitutes a longer ride for me. John's in better shape and more adaptable, and my last "longer" ride of 50 miles was with him a couple of weeks before, so I wasn't worried about him.
Though we were conscious of not going too super bats--t out of the gate, we do get a bit lost in things as we ride. John's a smart kid (understatement award nominee) with a wide and interesting perspective for someone his age, and in a slight departure from his father he's quite a good listener, so we get going on topics and then we're ramped up and all of a sudden we're doing turns somewhere around threshold and that's just not a smart thing for me when you're several hours away from home and it's like 90 degrees and steam bath humidity. But it's fun.
We stopped a couple hours in and split a Dr Pepper (so good when you really need it) and refilled water bottles, deciding to stick with the planned route but agreeing to be more mindful of the pace. Despite that, we both fell apart about 8 miles from home, John much more so than me. He'd had a couple of excursions away from total mindfulness of the pace, which came home to roost. Fortunately for him, 8 miles from home for me is only about 3 miles from home for him, since I live about 5 miles past their house.
It had been a long long time since I'd gotten home that smashed from a ride, and I realized how badly I'd missed the feeling. What a pack of weirdos we are who do this by choice.
*While doing some chores after I was able to peel myself off the couch, I listened to some podcasts about the state of play in the pandemic, and now find myself mentally preparing for renewed restrictions and a whole bunch more "what ifs" for November.