MR340
MR340

Posted 1/8/24

2024 Missouri American Water MR340 Hotel Block Info:

Kansas City - Hilton Garden Inn – If reserving over the phone, ask for Room Block Name “MR340”. 1 night minimum stay (versus 2 night minimum in years past). If online, use this link.

St Charles - Ameristar Casino Resort Spa – If reserving over the phone, ask for Room Block “Missouri River 340 Kayak Race 2024”. If online, use this link.

What is Hypothermia? It is a decrease in the core body temperature to a level at which normal muscular and cerebral functions are impaired.

Signs and Symptoms of Hypothermia

Watch for the "Umbles" - stumbles, mumbles, fumbles, and grumbles which show changes in motor coordination and levels of consciousness.

Types of Hypothermia 

Mild Hypothermia 

Moderate Hypothermia

Severe Hypothermia 

Death from Hypothermia

Assessing If Someone Is Hypothermic

Treating Hypothermia

The basic principles of rewarming a hypothermic victim are to conserve the heat they have and replace the body fuel they are burning up to generate that heat.

Mid-Moderate Hypothermia:

Reduce Heat Loss

Add Fuel & Fluids

Add Heat

Severe Hypothermia:

Reduce Heat Loss

Add Fuel & Fluids

Add Heat

Resources -

UPDATE - We've closed the Gratitude Fund. Thanks to your mind-blowing generosity, 104 donors raised $6200 to split between four of our nonprofit vendor partners that were impacted by the shorter race. THANK YOU!!!!

Support our nonprofit vendors impacted by the shortened race

We have a bunch of small local nonprofits that have been dedicated to serving you at checkpoints across the race for many years! The Missouri American Water MR340 becomes a really important fundraiser for them.

We have created the MR340 Gratitude Fund to show some support for those friends most impacted by the shortened race. We'll be splitting the proceeds evenly for all four of them.

Here's the link to donate.

Volunteers

Help give back to these awesome organizations! 

Thank you to our Generous Donors!

  • Jeffrey Behrns
  • Scott Mansker
  • Ryan McCoy
  • Jeff Pearl
  • Jon Harvie
  • Kate Watson
  • Debra Hoffman
  • Julia Russell
  • Scott Schannuth
  • Jinn Fuller Renfro
  • Dee Landau
  • Daryl Rhodes
  • Brian Cooper
  • Jennifer Bradford
  • Matt Cole
  • Andrew Tate
  • Rachel Bohanon
  • Barry McCullough
  • Jefferson Hunt
  • Gina Bradley
  • Julie McDonald
  • Mitzi Loar
  • Kim Peek
  • Tracey Meadows
  • Kathryn Schaefer
  • James Chapman
  • Kent Robinson
  • Steven Butler
  • Jo Newbold
  • Phillip Wasson
  • Kate Mansker
  • Dianne Maurer
  • Sherrie Klover
  • Christina Ruiz
  • Molly McGraw
  • Cathy Gunther
  • Michael McCollum
  • Misty Carolan
  • Alicia Guggenmos Coleman Cromwell
  • Esther Stroh
  • Robert Stacy
  • Joe Poplinger
  • Melanie Knocke
  • Sandra Hawes
  • Sherri Ulbrich
  • Nicholas Chabarria
  • Robert Burgner
  • Sarah Berkemeyer Matthew Brickell
  • Nancy Fish
  • Kate Gase
  • Rachel Bardot
  • Jared Coberly
  • Lauren Rodriguez Needham Shelley
  • Robert Harris Harris
  • Sandra McCrory
  • Libby Miller
  • Robert Foster
  • Tammy Burlbaw
  • James Pugh
  • David Amelung
  • Josh Downing
  • Steve Perez
  • Johnnie Ortiz
  • John Dunn
  • Linda McCullough
  • Gregg Buswell
  • Brooke Williams
  • Diana Dexter
  • Stephen Sproul
  • Tim Holtsford
  • Matt Peters Hannah and Denton Turley
  • Amanda Belflower
  • Kati Albers
  • Gayle Taylor
  • Kim Carson
  • Thomas Smith
  • Albert Schultz
  • David Leonard
  • Judi Kurre
  • Christina Hergott
  • Paul Porneluzi
  • Bernard L Arnold
  • Betty Welch
  • Linda Jackson
  • Gregg Peters
  • Andy Besselman
  • Curt Rohlfing
  • Patricia Geisinger
  • Steve Schnarr
  • Gary Fisher
  • Rich Wolpert
  • John Mathias
  • Dale Grosbach
  • Jim Armer
  • Jonathan Cannon
  • Dan Voss
  • Doug Brown
  • Barry Brock
  • Mary Beth Burkhart

Friday, August 4, 2023 - Lewis & Clark Boat House & Museum - St. Charles, MO

Because of the early race end due to weather and river conditions, none of our racers made it to the traditional finish line at Lewis & Clark Boat House & Museum. But we are still hosting the Finish Line Party to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of everyone that made this year's race inspiring and one of the most memorable ever.

The whole community is invited!

Here's the deets!

Join your Missouri River family to share stories, celebrate accomplishments and watch our river go by~!

Sponsored by Missouri American Water, Big Muddy Adventures, Schlafly Brewing and Terrain Magazine.

More stuff -

This was sent on Wednesday, August 2, 2023 to racers, ground crews and volunteers with the Missouri American Water MR340. MORE details to come.

Due to existing and predicted river and weather conditions the 2023 Missouri American Water MR340 is ENDING NOW. A rising river, increased driftwood and debris (including large trees), flooding tributaries, a storm with very heavy rain targeting the final 100+ miles of the race combined with nighttime paddling and no moon light combine with other variables to make this decision.

Please help share this information with others.

RACERS: The boat ramp nearest to you will become your official Finish Line. Proceed to the nearest boat ramp to connect with your GROUND CREW. For those with Virtual Ground Crews, please connect with fellow racers and crews at your finish location to help make your plan. We know this causes hardship and ask for all to assist each other in finding suitable and safe solutions. Over the next several hours, safety boats will be sweeping the remaining race course. VOLUNTEERS: We ask that you shift into helping all participants as you are able; we will reach out with more info as we are able.

If you choose to proceed to paddle past the nearest boat ramp, you are choosing to proceed at your own risk. WE DO NOT SUPPORT OR RECOMMEND THIS CHOICE. This choice is UNSAFE.

At this point we are still planning on the Friday Night Finish Line Party and Special Ceremony at the Lewis and Clark Boathouse at scheduled time 6:00pm to come together and celebrate you all.

We will share more information in the upcoming hours and days.

More Details

Updated: 7/29/23

This list is up to date to the best of our ability. Scroll down to see full list. Plans are likely to change throughout the week. We will attempt to update this list as new information arrives, but it’s common for surprises to happen throughout the race. We may send mass texts to racers, ground crews and volunteers if there is a confirmed barge moving through the whole race course. We won't text updates on locally moving barges.

We DEEPLY appreciate the cooperation we receive from the navigation industry during this race. 

RACERS - please respect our towboat pilot friends by getting out of the channel when passing moving barges. If you can't see the pilot house, they can't see you. Give lots of space between you and ANY barge or dredge whether they are moving or tied up. For more on barge safety see our Resource page. 


TLDR Version – There are possibilities of four or more long-haul transiting towboats with barges moving through the race course. Many other tows working locally (sand dredges with work tows or towboats with barges placing rock) will continue as normal during daylight hours.

Barges


Possible Transiting Barges

These are towboats with barges hauling freight long distances, i.e. from Kansas City to St. Louis. Moving products such as cement, oil, fertilizer or grain.

MAGNOLIA MARINE

MISSOURI RIVER TOWING

NEWT MARINE


Work and Sand Barges moving locally

Most of these boats tending to sand dredges or placing rock are only moving during the day. Most of these boats are moving from a sand dredge in the river to a sand plant on land, or from a rock loading site to a rock placement site. Their exact locations will likely change during the week as they complete work and move to another site. Some will have big wakes, others may have minimal wakes. It depends!

There are more of these locally moving barges this year than any other year. The Corps of Engineers has a huge pot of funding to repair and replace wing dikes and revetment on the Lower Missouri River. You’ll see that work throughout the race course.  

RM = Rivermile 

RM 367 – Massmann Construction. Many work barges at Broadway/Buck O’Neal Bridge on the left side. Will not move until race is past. RACERS MUST STAY TO THE RIGHT AFTER LEAVING KANSAS RIVER AT RACE START! Pass through the first set of bridges on the right/south side.  

RM 362 – Newt Marine – MV Capt. Ries plans to tie up at RM 362 until race passes.  

RM 360 – Holliday Sand – MV Fairfax and MV Janet Elaine tied up until race passes.  

RM 358 – Missouri River Towing – Two towboats planning on being tied up. Gerald Engemann and Ava Hadley. Should not be moving during race.  

RM 354 – Holliday Sand – Dredge Riverside. Not in operation 8/1 until race passes. 

MM 345.3 Capital Sand – will be tied up on dock until race passes Aug. 1. MV Hannah Nicole.  

RM 342 to RM 322 – Michels Construction – 3 boats planning on tying up until race passes. MV Terry Bangert, MV Miss Elizabeth and MV Connie L.  

MM 334.4 Capital Sand - Dredge Sandy Kay – will not be operational Aug. 1 until race passes.

There will be a lot of boats working locally in the Glasgow (RM 226) area: 

RM 226.2 to 224.5 - Capital Sand – MV Allison Marie will be moving barges between sand plant at 226.2, just upstream of Glasgow Checkpoint, and Dredge Rae Marie near RM 225, just downstream of the boat ramp.  

RM 196 to 223 (and above) Budrovich Marine and Midwest Construction. Four barges moving rock between 196 to 223 or between 223 and 245.  

RM 191 to 186 – Capital Sand – MV Allison Marie moving between Dredge Rae Marie at RM 191 and sand plant at RM 186 (Rocheport) 

RM 185 – Lunda Construction – Several tows and barges at I-70 Rocheport Bridge construction. Will be out of the channel. Pass through the main channel span in center (lit with green at night). Stay away from bridge pilings. Towboats: Emery Jaxon and Gracie M.  

RM 143.4 to 138.7 - Capital Sand - MV Marge 1 will be moving barges from Dredge Kathy Lee near RM 138.7 to the sand plant at 143.4, just downstream of Jefferson City checkpoint. MV Jamie Leigh and MV Elizabeth Anne tied up at 143.3.   

MM 138 to 134 – Newt Marine – MV Cleva Lee and MV Tigre moving rock between loading facility at 138 upstream to 160, passing by Jefferson City checkpoint.  

RM 98.6 to 97 – Hermann Sand & Gravel – MV Kathryn Ann moving between Dredge 501 at RM 98.6 and sand plant at RM 97. and sand plant.   

RM 67 to 65.4 – Gateway Dredging – MV Atlas moving between Dredge Crystal City at RM 67, right side just downstream of Washington ramp, and sand plant at RM 65.4.  

RM 56.3 to 50- Miss Augusta Tourboat – Commercial tours from dock just upstream of Klondike checkpoint downstream to about RM 50 then back up.  

RM 31 to 28 – Gateway Dredging – MV Patricia Lynn moving between Dredge St. Charles at RM 31 above the I-70 Bridge and sand plant at RM 28, just downstream of finish line.  

Posted 5/29/23

Thanks to a donation from the very talented Tim Sanders of TS Paddles, we are raffling an MR340-inspired touring kayak paddle with all proceeds supporting Missouri River Relief! This unique paddle features the visual representations of 50 hallucination stories that Tim personally documented from MR340 racers. Purchase tickets online now through noon on August 4th. We will announce the winner during the MR340 Finish Line Party the evening of August 4th. Get all the details and purchase your tickets on our raffle page. Good luck!

Hello MR340 friends!

This is the second email dispatch in a series that you will receive leading up to the 18th Annual Missouri American Water MR340. Thank you all for your amazing fundraising for Missouri River Relief! All fundraiser links will remain open through the end of the year, so feel free to continue to share on social media and among friends and family. We’ll continue to send out fun perks for those of you who reach certain fundraising tiers. If you haven’t yet, check out the Leaderboard to find out about the amazing offer from Llama Racks for racers who raise $1500 or more.

You and Your Boat

Double-check the Roster! If you don’t have a boat number listed it simply means your number selection was already taken when you registered. To select a unique number, use Ctrl-F to search on the roster page for a number not already in use. Email racing@riverrelief.org to update. Or just let me know if you want me to pick one for you. If you see a “TBD” listed in your boat on the roster, it means you have a partner who isn’t registered. Send them to the registration page and have them include the same boat number and team name as they sign up so we can match them up with you.

Your Waiver

Please print and legibly complete your 2023 race waiver. Bring it to Kaw Point and drop off during Pre-Race Check-In on Monday 7/31/23. We will have some blank ones there if you forget, but it will save you time to bring yours with you. One waiver per paddler per boat. Once you have read all racer dispatches and have watched the 2023 Safety Video (we’re working on that and will let you know when it’s ready for you to view), be sure to initial the top of your waiver indicating you’ve done these things. Also include your boat number in the upper right. Read it all and fill it out appropriately.

Pre-Race Check-In at Kaw Point

Check-in at Kaw Point on 7/31/23 is mandatory for all racers. We’ll be there from noon to 8pm for you to go through the Check-In process. You’ll turn in your waiver, pick up your t-shirt, and grab a required safety card with safety info you’ll keep in your boat (we’ll have some printed on waterproof paper for you). You’ll double-check all of your contact and race info with us and provide any last-minute edits. Chat with some of our race sponsors that will be available, load up on some MR340 and Missouri River Relief merch at our big merch tent, and get your last minute RaceOwl questions answered. You’ll have your first official Checkpoint check-in via RaceOwl at Kaw Point during this time. More RaceOwl info coming in a future dispatch.

You are welcome to drop off your empty boat during Check-In. This is also a good time to check out the Kansas River and available bank space to launch the next morning. We will have folks at Kaw Point Park all night keeping an eye on things. Leave your empty boat at your own risk, but we’ve never had any issues with this. Then bring your paddles and other race gear and supplies the morning of race start. It’ll make your early morning arrival for the race a lot easier. We’ll have specific parking info available for you in an upcoming dispatch.

Other Ramps

The reason we say the MR340 is non-stop is because there are no required stops along the course. Once you leave Kaw Point in Kansas City at race start, you aren’t required to stop anywhere until the finish line in St Charles. Is it realistic to not stop anywhere? Nope, it’s not! And it doesn’t mean your best approach is going to be to load up you and your partner in a canoe with all of your food, water, gear, and supplies needed for multiple days and nights. No, no... The Reaper can smell these boats miles away. What this really means is you can make some best choices for what works easiest for you and your ground crew to meet.

Are there other ramps besides the Checkpoints and Paddlestops? You bet. Find the Google map with all available access noted, and a full list of each ramp here. Share with your ground crew. You have options out there.

Ramp Etiquette

Speaking of ramps. You are going to be joined by hundreds of other racers on the Missouri River, and you all will look amazing out there in your boats, connecting with this big and beautiful waterway. And though the river is big and there is plenty of room for you all on it, each boat ramp along the course is the size of, well, a boat ramp.

Keeping the ramps clear is especially important from Kansas City to Glasgow where the race pack is most clumped up. There is a steady stream of boats trying to land at Waverly, Miami, and Glasgow. So, if you stop at these places, be quick to exit your boat and get your ground crew's help to then carry it up and ideally off the ramp so the next boat can land. If you’re in a team boat that is not easily manageable for getting up and off the ramp, find a piece of bank that works best for you and your crew that doesn’t block the space where ramp meets water. We will have volunteers to guide you at Checkpoints and Paddlestops. Once you're up and out of the way, you can work on your boat, resupply, etc.

Ramps need to be kept open for access by local recreational boaters and, most importantly, emergency response teams. We share the river and ramps with lots of other people, many of which consider their local ramp to be their backyard. We can help build goodwill amongst the river community by being respectful and not hogging the ramp. We know…you’re exhausted, you think you’ll only stop for five minutes or whatever… but there’s too many of us to leave boats on the ramp or blocking the trailer back-in lanes.

Knowledge is Power

Depending on the year, up to a third of all racers will not see the finish line in St. Charles. There are a number of reasons for this, but if finishing is your goal, you still have time to learn as much as you can about what to expect and how you want to plan. We have Chris Luedke’s YouTube channel and a couple other resources you might want to check out here.

Getting Familiar with the Missouri River

We touched on this a little before, but I want to mention it again. If you live near the Missouri River and have the time to get familiar with how to navigate on water, you don’t have to do it alone. Area races are good way to get familiar with navigation, and our River Race Calendar has some listed. You can also connect with other paddlers in your area on the MR340 Facebook Group to set up some training runs.

Wing Dikes

These are rock structures jutting out into the current. They are installed to artificially narrow the flow of the river so that it is deeper and faster for barge traffic. It's possible these will be mostly underwater during our high-water years, but there will undoubtedly be places where the water is flowing over the top or around the tip of these and making noise. You'll see the turbulence easily during the day, but at night, use your ears and be sure you're staying in the channel.

Bridge Piers

Luckily, bridges are easily seen for a couple miles before you get to them. They have lights set in such a way that a red light indicates a pier or a no-go space and a green light indicates the clear path. However, the piers at night have given paddlers trouble from time to time due to the turbulent water around them. And sometimes there are rafts of logs pinned to these that make it worse. But the green light is dead center over the navigable span between piers and so going right under this light is a nearly sure bet. But it is always a good idea to approach with caution and use your flashlight to verify.

Navigating Channel Markers

Knowing where the channel is located not only helps you stay in the best water for your race, it helps you know where the barge traffic has to operate. By knowing where barges must operate, you can predict where they will go and then know how to stay out of their way. A barge can only operate in the channel. You in a little kayak or canoe can navigate outside of that channel.

The channel will often stick to the outside of a bend and slowly cross to the other side of the river near the outside of another bend. The channel moves throughout the width of the river. So how do you know where it's at? There are a variety of clues, but the easiest way to know is to learn how to interpret channel markers (also referred to as day markers). These are signs you will see on the banks with symbols indicating the channel staying along that side of the river or crossing. These markers are also reflective and can be picked up with your flashlight at night. Steve Schnarr, Director of Missouri River Relief, gives a good explanation of these markers and how to use them in the 2022 Safety Video (25-minute mark).

Buoys

These giant 7ft steel tubes painted either green (called cans) or red (called nuns) mark the right "starboard" and left "port" descending channel. They are anchored in the river to mark the edges of the channel. We generally don't have to worry about which side of this warning to be on as our boats are only drafting inches deep, not 6 to 9 feet like barges. Again, they come in handy when you encounter an actual moving barge because it shows you where the barge MUST go and then you know where to NOT go. At night, these are easily heard and when you hear one, shine your light. They have reflective tape and stand out well. Swing away because hitting one is not as exciting as it might seem. They outweigh your boat 50 to 1 and often have logs and other debris pinned to them that is tough to see in the dark.

Barges and Dredges

You will likely see barge traffic a few times during your race. Knowing how navigation on the Missouri River works will enable you to know where barges have to operate and therefore the safest areas for you to be when you encounter barges. Dredges have some of their own unique features that you need to be aware of too. Please read up on the Barges and Dredges info we have on the website and check out another one of the videos from Chris Luedke we have linked there on the same page.

If you have any updates you need to communicate about you or your boat, or if you can’t find an answer on our website to a race question you might have, send me an email.

We’re looking forward to seeing you all in a little over two months - oh my!

Christina Ruiz

Race Director

racing@riverrelief.org

Hello Racers!

This is the first email dispatch in a series that you will receive leading up to the 18th Annual Missouri American Water MR340. We are thrilled to have you join us and accept the challenge of this great race. If you’re new this year, as half of the racers are, we think you’ll find the MR340 to be an amazing experience and one of the best times of your life. There likely will be some less-best times involved, but hey, that’s what it takes to get to the finish line in Saint Charles, right? Seriously though, we can’t wait to see you in about 4 months!

Consider this first dispatch as a kick-off to your own planning and strategizing because, in some ways, this is the very start of your race. It is really important that you read all of these dispatches sent to you, visit all the links provided, poke around on our www.mr340.org website, and share all info with your Ground Crew. Knowledge is power, and that knowledge combined with your planning will determine a large portion of your success.

As a reminder, MR340 race dates this year are August 1st-4th, 2023 with mandatory Check-In at Kaw Point Park in Kansas City, KS on July 31st between noon at 8:00 p.m.

Missouri River Relief

The MR340 is Missouri River Relief’s biggest fundraising event of the year. We are so excited to bring you this event as part of our portfolio of river activities which include cleanups, education programs, and paddling races on the beautiful Missouri River. In addition to the MR340, we’d love to have you join us at any of our other upcoming events. Learn more about our mission and the ways we connect people to the Missouri River at www.riverrelief.org.

You and Your Boat

Double-check the Roster! If you don’t have a boat number listed it simply means your number selection was already taken when you registered. To select a unique number, use Ctrl-F to search on the roster page for a number not already in use. Email racing@riverrelief.org to update. Or just let me know if you want me to pick one for you – happy to do that. If you see a “TBD” listed in your boat on the roster, it means you have a partner who hasn’t registered. Send them to the registration page and have them include the same boat number and team name as they sign up so we can match them up with you.

Reflective Boat Numbers Your 3" tall and official 4-digit boat number should be reflective and affixed to both sides of your bow above the water line. These help us see and identify you, especially at night. Each team may choose their own 4-digit number upon entry on a first-come, first-served basis. Race numbers are to be affixed by the racers themselves, prior to the start of the race. Numbers should be a color that is high contrast against the background and reflective. Mailbox numbers from the hardware store work great!

Rules

Have you read through all of the MR340 rules? Be sure to check those out, and if you are a returning racer, please pay special attention to Rule #32 which was updated for the 2023 race. Discuss these rules with your Ground Crew as some pertain to their involvement.

Ground Crews

Every boat must have a Ground Crew. Your Ground Crew may be an In-Person Ground Crew (highly recommended) or a Virtual Ground Crew. In-Person Ground Crews can make a big difference between someone finishing the race or not.

Please read up on the Ground Crew Requirements and what the expectations are for In-Person and Virtual Ground Crews.

We can’t stress enough how important it is to have a solid crew. A strong Ground Crew will be involved in your pre-race planning, able to physically assist you at your ramp stops, have studied the route along the course, be able to track you on RaceOwl to not only know where you are at any given time but also anticipate your arrivals, and will be aware of your potentially unique health concerns.

Ground Crews act as the extra set of eyes and ears to monitor you throughout the race. Racers can get pretty loopy along the 340 miles of paddling, but a Ground Crew who knows you well will be able to determine if that’s just the river miles talking or if you’re on the cusp of a health issue. You and your Ground Crew know you best. And they can do so much more for you to help get you through this race – not just the precious cold Mountain Dew hand-offs, but their on-land strategizing can result in you getting closer to Saint Charles even faster.

If your Ground Crew has an opportunity to help another racer, another Ground Crew, or a ramp volunteer, we appreciate them giving a hand where help is needed. The MR340 includes a lot of congestion at certain Checkpoints and Paddlestops, so efficiency at ramps and some extra muscle sure helps matters! We have an amazing race community and we’re hope your crew is looking forward to their own MR340 big and muddy experience along the way.

Required and Recommended Gear

We have a full list of required and recommended gear. Some edits to this list for the 2023 race have been made, so be sure to know what all you need well in advance of the race. Also think about how you plan to secure your gear during the race. And what happens if you flip? What could you lose in the dark? Can you get back in your boat? What’s your plan?

Some of our awesome race sponsors can supply gear to you, so go visit the Sponsors page and click on a sponsor to visit their site. Shopping with MR340 sponsors is a wonderful way to show appreciation of their race support! They are all MR340 fans, so you’ll be in great company.

Checkpoint vs Paddlestop

Firstly, you are not required to stop anywhere. This is why the MR340 is the world's longest non-stop river race. This leaves some strategy opportunities wide open, and I hope you’re pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down.

You are only required to check in and out at Checkpoints, and that process is completed with the RaceOwl system. There will be new RaceOwl updates coming for 2023, and we will cover those details in a later dispatch.

Paddlestops are places where we will have a volunteer and safety boat presence. And sometimes a food vendor available.

Checkpoints and Cutoff Times

Checkpoints and Cutoff Times have not changed from last year. You’ll want to share the list with your Ground Crew– you’re going to hear that a lot. Let’s just have you go ahead and start making a handy binder of info for your crew – very official. Plus, they are going to get hungry out there and will want to know where they can snag a hot dog. (Food Along the Course will be discussed in a later dispatch.)

Race Course Map

The Race Course Map is handy to keep in your boat and for your Ground Crew to refer to. One side even includes moonrise times. If you want to dig in deep to all available ramps along the course, we’ve got that information on the Ramps page.

You could find yourself in a situation where you need to make an unplanned stop at a ramp where your Ground Crew isn’t present. Maybe you had a boat malfunction. Maybe you are seeking shelter from an upcoming storm. Having an idea of possible stops and being flexible in these scenarios is important. If your crew has all of the boat ramp options at hand, it will increase the chances of them being able to adjust their route quickly and meet you in person where you have landed.

The Reaper

The Reaper is one of our safety boats. But she has a specialized mission and that's to run at exactly the pace that a paddler would need to run to BARELY make the cutoff times at each Checkpoint. So the Reaper is a visual on the water of where the cutoff line is at it approaches a checkpoint.

If the Reaper beats you to Waverly, you are out. If it beats you to any checkpoint, you are out. IF it passes you before a checkpoint but then you pass it back, you're fine. All that matters is that you beat her to the Checkpoint.

Read more about the Reaper and watch a video by Chris Luedke (340 Paddler on YouTube) here.

Get Out and Practice

There are some early season races in the Missouri area that can give you an opportunity to test your boat and gear. These events also provide a way to converse in person with other potential MR340 racers. Visit our River Race Calendar for more info. These races begin in the next week or so, and one might be near you.

MR340 Facebook Group

This group is 11,000 strong and is a great community of racers, crews, and paddlers who share news about training runs on the river, gear and boats for sale, Ground Crew information, shuttle opportunities, etc. Ask a question and you’ll get a variety of advice really fast. It’s also where some of our sponsors can share info on sales and promotions. There is a search option too, in case you want to see if someone else has asked the same question before you and what the responses were. This group is chatting about MR340-related topics year-round, so jump in any time!

Need some merch?

Visit our online Shop so you can show all your friends and coworkers you’re planning to do “that crazy race?!” 100% of proceeds benefit Missouri River Relief.

MR340 Website

If you haven’t browsed the MR340 website before now, it’s a great time to start visiting all the pages and read up on all the things. We have the 2022 MR340 documentary by KMBC posted commercial-free, and that is sure to get you in the MR340 mood.

If you can’t find an answer on our website to a race question you might have, send me an email.

More to come!

Your Race Manager,

Christina Ruiz

racing@riverrelief.org

Lessons Learned about Cold Water Paddling on the Missouri River

Note from Missouri River Relief staff – As spring kicks in, we have some beautiful days on the Missouri River. It’s important to remember, even though the air temperature might be in the 70’s, that the water temperature is often much colder. This story is a reminder of how this can play out on a spring paddle on the Missouri River.

by Paddler Linda Bennett, March 2023 (edits by MRR staff)

In the spring of 2022, my partner and I were training for the MR340 under the guidance of two former MR340 participants and learned that we were not as prepared as we should have been. As a result, my partner and I capsized in the river and experienced a life-threatening situation. This post provides information and resources for spring paddling on the MO River so you can learn from our experience and prepare for the unexpected.

My friend Cinda Eichler wrote a report on this incident last year. It also has tons of great info and you should read it too!

Before you decide to embark on a spring kayaking adventure or training on the MO River, always check out sources such as your local weather forecast (here’s the link for the Jeff City National Weather Service forecast – you can search any location and bookmark it – or use your favorite app). Also review the Missouri River stage forecast AND the water temperature. USGS publishes real-time water temps for the Missouri River at the Hermann and St. Joseph gages.  Study the conditions before you get on the water and how the conditions might change during the day.

Dress for the Water Temperature

Assume that you will capsize and dress for immersion into the water, not just the weather. That is, select your clothing based on the water temperature. For example, if the water temperature is below 60 degrees, a drysuit is recommended. A wetsuit is recommended for water temperatures of 60-70. While wearing a drysuit or wetsuit may not be your choice, make an informed decision on what to wear. These pieces of lifesaving equipment are very expensive, so keep an eye out for deals. It's an investment in your safety. 

On the day we kayaked, the air temperature was 70 degrees and the water temperature was 46 degrees. When we capsized, we were immersed in the river for 20 minutes. No one in our group was wearing attire for the extremely cold-water temperature of 46 degrees. At that temperature, exhaustion and unconsciousness can occur in 30-60 minutes. We were lucky.

Hypothermia

Hypothermia is deadly. Moderate hypothermia is an internal body temperature of 82-90 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower than 82 degrees is considered “severe” and is very difficult to recover from. The EMS team said my body temperature was around 82 when I arrived at the ambulance and 85 at the hospital. I appreciate everyone that assisted in warming up my body and having access to the Bair Hugger Normothermia System.

It should also be said that it doesn’t have to be extremely cold out for you to suffer from hypothermia. In fact, during almost every MR340 there are participants that suffer from hypothermia. Exhaustion and dehydration combined with being wet at night can kick hypothermia into gear.

Lessons Learned

We were grateful that we were wearing our PFD vests. Pack a drybag with other gear such as an emergency mylar blanket, whistle, cell phone, extra clothing (bring it with you!), rain gear, first aid kit, a fire starting kit, duct tape, and throw rope are a few of the items to secure to your PFD or kayak. PFDs and other safety gear do save lives!

Being physically prepared to kayak the MO River in any weather can make all the difference when you capsize. Hydration, nutrition, body mass, fitness level, exertion, fatigue, and other physical factors contribute to an individual's success in an emergency. Know your body and take precautions.

In our case, we encountered very large barge wakes and strong cross winds. My physical fitness is at the top 10% for my age and gender which contributed to my ability to get to the sandbar. Yet, exertion while swimming in cold water increased the risk of hypothermia. I have a low body mass index (BMI) which makes me more susceptible to hypothermia. I was dehydrated at the hospital, so my nutrition and hydration levels were exhausted. My physical fitness, hydration, nutrition, and skills were factors in the outcome.

Also – you really need to practice self-rescue before you are forced to do it. Practice getting back in your boat midstream. Unlike on a smaller river, you’re not going to be able to stand on the riverbed of the Missouri River if you capsize. In cold water, it makes everything more difficult including self-rescue AND swimming to shore.

Prior to kayaking the river, paddlers should prepare for the hazards you will encounter such as rock dikes, sandbars, silver carp, barges, and other natural or manmade issues that are present on the river. Regardless of the season, hazards should be taken seriously. In our case, we capsized in the wake of a barge and our primary defense was problem-solving during the event. We can’t go back to that moment in time, but we can prepare for future “what if” situations.

Maintaining communication prior to kayaking, during the paddle, and in an emergency matter so plan for each. From the moment we realized we were going into the river, we began discussing what to do and worked together to make decisions. In the middle of the event, I was unable to make decisions, but I was able to contribute to getting us and the kayak to the sandbar. While in the water, we were not able to hear the other kayakers on the shore, but they were communicating with emergency services. Again, check out Cinda's post for more details on how they responded. At the end of the day, we were healthy and safe.

I appreciate the opportunity to share my experience with spring kayaking, capsizing and hypothermia. A year of careful reflection went into writing this post and I hope you find our story and the resources helpful while spring kayaking on the MO River.

Resources -

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