Thursday, May 7, 2009

Like Fish in a Drought...Only With A Lot More Water

During long dry spells, when the creeks run near-dry and the ponds shrink to puddles, the fish get all bunched up. In the thin fingers of water that connect pools up in the creeks, shiners move up and back and in the more open water, bass and sunfish patrol. It's like that on the River Trail right now, only because of the huge abundance of water in the Arkansas River.

The flooding has limited our ride options and we're all circling around the same open sections of trail. I plotted my route tonight to detour around cut off bridges and flooded sections of trail. After taking my usual route from Park Hill, through Levy and Burns Park, instead of heading to the BDB, I went through downtown and headed up to the Little Rock end of the BDB. On the way up, I passed a huge group of Fast Girls and several smaller pods of riders. When I got to the BDB, I saw friends Bethany and Charles. I stopped to speak to them and then came Robert and Patrick and Heather and Mike and Rick and Logan and....... well, within less than 5 minutes, we had a good size pack of group ride refugees, so, of course, we went on a group ride!
Sometimes it takes a little imagination to get out of your ride ruts. The flooding has forced me to change up all of my routes for the last couple of nights, but I've managed to get some good group rides in and the dynamics are a little different than the usually weeknight rides. We're all pushed together in a smaller pond, so we are crossing paths with friends that we'd otherwise miss due to the nature of our respective habits. It's kind of like a snow day, mildly inconvenient, but somewhat interesting. The rides have been brisk, but mellow and conversational as old friends mix with seldom-seen acquaintances. There is no plan and, unlike most set group rides, nobody really knows what the protocol is on pace, sprints, attacks, etc., so everybody just settles in for the pleasure of the ride.

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