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MR340


brennaman

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I found out about a local race last year that starts right here in my home town of Kansas City. If any one is interested in the event, it is the 10th longest race in the world, and the longest non-stop river race in the world. It was listed in National Geographic's top 100 events in the world. Here is a link to their website:

 

http://rivermiles.com/mr340/

 

 

It looked like a pretty good challenge, so I thought I would try it. It is a boat race that starts in KC, and ends up in St. Charles MO. (340 miles down river from KC, hence the name MR340, Missouri race, 340 miles). If you race as an individual, you have 88 hours. Teams have 87 hours. Most race in kayaks and canoes, but there are a few SUP's (It stands for stand up paddle board, it is like a surf board and you have a long oar you row with) and there were also a couple of peddle boats. But no motors or engines. You are not even allowed oarlocks. It is a lot like an iron butt ride. There are 9 checkpoints along the route, and if you fail to make it to a checkpoint by a certain time, you are out. I bought a wenonah spirit II canoe, and a buddy and myself took off last Tue. at 0800, and made it to St. Charles at 0027 on Fri., for a total of 64:27 minutes. The majority of the racers have a support team that will meet them at some of the check points to resupply with food or water or any other need. Some would have a tent or an RV ready for them so they could catch a little shut eye, but we went unsupported. So we had everything we needed, (and quite a bit we did not need) on the canoe from the start. We even had enough water for the entire trip, but we did dump most of it, and just stopped at check points to refill as needed. We really had no idea if we would be able to complete the race in time, so our initial goal was 86:59, just under the 87 hours allowed for teams. But we found by the end of the second day, we were not going to have a problem finishing the race. At that point we decided that just finishing was not good enough, we wanted to get as good a time as we could.

The first day had the most people drop out. It was about 96 degrees, but the heat index on the river was about 105. So if you did not drink and eat throughout the race, you would not make it. We had initially planned to run through the first night, and just go as far as we could into the second day, and stop and sleep a few hours in the heat of the 2nd day. But about 0200 Wed. morning, a bad thunderstorm came out of the north, with VERY high winds, lightning and a couple inches of rain. So we pulled off the river, and caught a couple hours of sleep. When we took of about 0430, fearing that we had lost a lot of time, we hit the river hard and ran all the way down to Jeff City, arriving about 0030, Thur. morning, having made just one stop along the way to refill our water. At that point of the race, we had just 115 miles remaining, and 47 hours and 30 min. to complete the race. Barring injury or some catastrophic event, we knew we could complete the race. We slept very good that night, and woke up about 0600 to fog so bad, you could not see the front of the boat from the front seat. We had to wait a couple hours for the fog to burn off, and took off about 0730. Somewhere along the route, we decided just completing the race was not good enough, we wanted to see what time we could get it done in. The final drive was pretty uneventful, and we pulled in at 0027 Fri. morning making just one stop along the way to cool off and fill our water jugs up.(somehow the official time for us was 64:20, but should be 64:27) So in the end, we finished in 133rd place, and 38th in our division. The final tally was 252 completed the race, and 174 did not. About 42% did not finish the race, with the storm and the heat of the first day being the biggest factor. After finding out about the race, I really wanted to know if at 52 years old, if I could still compete in this type of event, and now I know I can. Not sure if I would want to ever do it again. Too tell the truth, canoeing to me is pretty boring. So I am not sure if I will try to ever better my time, and give it another shot, but now I know all my pitfalls, and what I would need to do to improve my time. Talking to some of the finishers in St. Charles, the main question they have is would you do it again. I said now was not the time to ask, and I would have to think about it after a couple of weeks. I have a few friends that are thinking of trying it out next year, so we are going to meet and I will have to give them a de-brief of all the do's and do not's to finish the race. It was an exhausting race, but a great experience overall. Here is a link to a site that tracks the race from start to finish. That way family and friends can see how you are doing.

 

http://raceowl.com/MR3402015

 

If anyone does decide to give it a shot, give me a shout, maybe I could be your support team if you decide to test your mettle. Good luck to all you future participants.

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I worked hard to callus them up prior to the race, but as blisters started to form, I would just tape them up. Some wear gloves, but I found them too cumbersome when I had to turn pages on the maps I had in the boat, or when I was eating along the way.

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It sounds like a pretty cool race. I used to work close to the river in St. Charles, those Missouri thunderstorms are a sight to behold, but not be caught out in.

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They sure are, and we had to get off the river for a few hours due to one. There were quite a few boats that had to be pulled off the river by water rescue. They tried to push it a little too far. We had over 40 mph winds, lightning and about 1.5 inches of rain in 2 hours. We pulled off the river just in time and wrapped up in safety blankets. Good thing was we were so exhausted we slept well during the rain. I must have slept better than my partner, he said he had a hard time falling asleep due to my snoring. But as soon as the wind and rain slowed down, I woke right up and felt energized. After we bailed out our canoe, we were back on the river by 0430 and stayed on the river till 0030 the next morning. By the end of that long run, we were pretty confident that we would be able to finish barring any injury.

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Congrats. An Awesome accomplishment.

What were the fastest boats?

Kayaks or canoes?

Any solo/tandem comparisons?

How much food/water did you consume wrt calories burned?

 

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Well they were well in front of me, so I did not get a good look, but kayaks were probably the fastest. I was able to look at a few the night before the race and epic looked like a very popular brand. Here is a link to what I saw out there more than anything.

 

http://www.epickayaks.com/product

 

Out of the top 25, 15 were solo, and 10 tandem or team. (3 or more) The top finishers were for the most part sponsored racers that don't make a living off of it, but race quite a bit.

 

Even in the heat, I consumed about 6 qts. of water over about an 18 hour period. And thru the whole race I just consumed 1 large bag of trail mix, 1 20 oz. bag of beef jerkey, 1 hamburger, 1 BBQ pork sandwich and 2 protein bars. At most of the checkpoints, during the day, there were boy scouts selling food, so that is where I bought the 2 sandwich's. Not sure how many calories I burned, but I have been going to the gym for the past 10 months trying to get in as good of shape as possible. So really after we finished, other than needing a bath, a nap and a few minutes for my knees to start working again, I felt pretty good. I never felt close to dehydrating, and if I ever got thirsty, I would drink about half a quart. Other than that, I just ate and drank the entire race, and felt pretty good the entire time.

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