Hello to Everyone!
Welcome to what we hope will be the 15th Annual MR340.
We are continuing with planning at this time. We are following the MR340 mantra, "Proceed as the Way Opens" and are carefully nudging things forward. Should conditions allow, we will have things in place for the race. Let me say up front that everyone on the roster will have the option to defer to 2021. Nobody should feel any pressure to race, should we be lucky enough to race.
There will be some major changes to the usual routine. Some were in place before the pandemic. Others are in direct response.
Let's start with the COVID-19 stuff.
This is a highly infectious respiratory disease that is potentially dangerous to all age/health categories but is particularly dangerous for folks with complicating conditions like, but not limited to, diabetes, COPD, obesity and advanced years.
Recent stay at home orders have blunted the rate of infection in the area and social distancing continues to be the best tool as things start opening back up. I haven't had a handshake since February and it's hard for me to imagine having one anytime soon. I wash my hands like a madman. I have hand sanitizer pump in my truck that I use after every job. I wear a mask when I go into a store. These things all add up and when practiced by the larger community, can continue to keep things under control as we open back up.
There is also some science just out that says mask wearing cuts transmission between two folks by 75%. And more new science that is quantifying to what degree warmer, more humid air cuts transmission. The virus likes to float in particles of breath in cool, dry air. The cooler air allows for more time airborne before falling to the ground. Warm, humid air makes this tough and droplets tend to clump with other moisture and fall.
So, all things being equal, you are theoretically better off socially distanced and masked out in the summer heat than you would be in the frozen food isle of a grocery store or in your favorite air conditioned bar. Or, heaven forbid, stuck inside at work.
Those factors have guided some decisions regarding how to inch forward on a 340.
Virtual Safety Meeting:
It sure doesn't make sense to start things off with 1200 people in an air conditioned room for 90 minutes. This year, with the help of Chris Luedke, we will produce a youtube video with all the 2020 information. This will be required viewing for all participants. It will not be live but can be viewed at your convenience. To have the most updated information, it will not be available until the week or so prior to the race.
Waivers and Tshirt:
Prior to the race, those still on the roster will be emailed a waiver to print at home and sign. You will deliver this waiver to Kaw Point Park on Monday, August 3, between 12 noon and 8pm. You will wear a mask or sun gaiter. The waiver will have your tshirt size indicated. When you set your waiver in the tray, a masked volunteer will hand you a tshirt. You can stage your boat if you wish. Again, everyone in the park should be respectful of others and wear a mask or gaiter. With an 8 hour window of time, we're hoping this can all be done without much crowding.
This is a bit trickier and would have some more proximity. Our goal is to minimize this as much as possible. We will get out safety boat crews in their boats and out of the way early. We would ask that anyone not directly involved with the launching of paddle craft stay at home, hotel or in car. Only paddlers allowed on the lower level of the park. If you are a soloist and you need help carrying your boat, you can have one ground crew assist. Solos will start the race at 7am. All others at 8am. Keep a distance from others as much as possible. The lines will be longer with distancing, but hold the same number of people and should move just as quickly. Once on the water, masks are not required though the sun gaiters are great and will keep the sun off your face, ears and neck. Masks or gaiters must be carried aboard the boat for use at checkpoints.
Masks or gaiters please as you approach the ramp. Make sure your ground crew has them as well. The sooner you get back on the water, the sooner you can remove the mask.
There will be no awards ceremony on Friday. Trophies and medals will be awarded as you finish. You can remove your mask for the finish line photo with your hardware.
Our safety boat teams will have masks and sanitizer aboard the boats for interacting on the water with you should you need assistance.
We are in the process of contacting food vendors for the critical ramps. It is unclear at this time if we will have them at all the usual ramps. Confirmed so far are Glasgow, Cooper's Landing and Hermann. It may be difficult to get them this year. All the more reason that a ground crew is important for 2020. Please keep working towards this. But I think we'll get more interest from the food truck community as things get closer.
There are many shorter races on the Missouri still planning to take place. Check out our race calendar for more information. https://rivermiles.com/events-calendar/ There is one on May 30th from KC to Lexington. If you've never been on the Missouri before and you can get to this race, it's a good introduction to the first 50 miles of the MR340.
Non COVID changes:
First Checkpoint is Now Kaw Point:
Everyone will check in via RaceOwl at Kaw Point on August 3rd when you pick up your tshirt and packet. You must check in between noon and 8pm. We will have volunteers available to help.
Paddle Stop Lexington:
Lexington will no longer require a check in. There will be a safety boat there and hopefully a food vendor but you are not required to be spotted and checked in by ground crew.
Cutoff Time Adjustments:
New Cutoff Times for 2020 will shorten the race slightly.
Checkpoints and Cutoff Times:
1. Kaw Point, mile 367.5, Race Begins Tuesday, August 4. 7am solos, 8am everything else. All boats MUST check in via RaceOwl on August 3rd at packet pickup between noon and 8pm.
2. Waverly, mile 293.5, (74 miles) 800pm Tuesday Leg avg. (5.69mph for solos, 6.17mph tandems)
3. Glasgow, mile 226, (68 miles) 4pm Wed. Leg avg. 3.4mph (assumes Waverly departure of 8pm Tuesday)
4. Jefferson City, mile 144, (82 miles) 4pm Thurs. Leg avg. 3.42mph (assumes Glasgow departure of 4pm Wednesday)
5. Hermann, mile 98, (46 miles) 8am Friday Leg avg. 2.88mph (assumes Jeff City departure of 4pm Thursday)
6. Klondike, mile 56 (42 miles) 4pm Friday Leg avg. 5.25mph
7. St. Charles, mile 29, finish line, (27 miles) 9pm Friday Leg avg. 5.4mph
Total of 85 Hours for 8am start (4mph) 86 for 7am start. (3.95mph)
This time change will affect a very small number of racers who can make a few efficiency adjustments. But it allows for much better safety coverage at the back end of the race.
In summary, for the 15th Annual MR340, here's where we're at.
1. Nobody is pressured to participate. An opportunity to defer will open later in the summer to allow your choice. You will receive link via email.
2. Masks will be required of everyone while on shore.
3. Online safety meeting. Link sent via email.
4. No group awards ceremony. Individual awards given at finish.
5. Race will be postponed if agencies or towns pull the plug on our permits.
6. New cutoff times will shorten the race by 3 hours. 86 hours for solos. 85 hours for everything else.
Stay safe and sane. Get outside and safely enjoy your boat and the water. Better days are coming! Nobody can tough out rough times like the MR340 community.
More to come soon.