I'm Christina Ruiz and I am your new Race Manager with Missouri River Relief. I am so proud to have the opportunity to officially welcome you to this event. I’m delighted to have a new role involving this race, and I look forward to the collective journey.
Race Founder Scott Mansker is still serving as the Race Director this year. But you can consider me your first contact for any of your questions or needs for the race. If you email email@example.com we'll both get it!
I have found every MR340 to be unique, and if you are a recurring veteran I think you’ll agree with that statement. If you are new to the MR340, congrats on the start of something great!
Having personally competed in MR340 races from “last in the pack” to an eventual 38 hour finish years later, I know that planning and strategizing can make a big impact on fulfilling your personal MR340 goals, whatever those goals happen to be.
This is the first Dispatch for 2022. We will send you 5 or more of these as we get closer to the race. It is REALLY IMPORTANT that you read all of these! I hope you find the first dispatch of 2022 a kick off to your own planning and strategizing because, in some ways, this is the start of your race.
It can also help to read past years' dispatches (though some info might be out of date), and you can find them on the Rivermiles forum. Here's a link to last year's dispatches - http://www.rivermiles.com/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1620314685
The 17th Annual MR340 is July 12-15 with mandatory check-in at Kaw Point Park on July 11 between noon and 8pm.
Here are some things to know.
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 including cleanups, education and paddling on our beautiful river. Learn more about our mission at http://www.riverrelief.org
YOU AND YOUR BOAT
Please check the roster at http://www.rivermiles.com/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1637597723.
You can use CTRL-F to find your name. Make sure we've got good information there for you, your partner and your boat. If it says you need to choose a new number, that's because yours was taken when you signed up. There are 10,000 number choices between 0001 and 9999 but somehow everyone wants the same 400 numbers. Choose another number and use CTRL-F to see if it's already gone. Send your choice to firstname.lastname@example.org You need these numbers on both sides of your bow. Please use numbers at least 3 inches high and reflective. Mailbox numbers work great and meet both criteria.
You should also start working on navigation lights for your boat. These are required. Red and Green at the bow and a White light at your stern. Our race sponsor Some Beach Outfitters carries these lights, which you can also find on Amazon and elsewhere - https://somebeachoutfitters.com/product-category/new/accessories/safety-and-pfds
They are waterproof, last 100 hours and pretty darn bright. Make sure you set them for steady on, not blinking. And you'll want to tape off the portions that shine toward you. You want them visible from 360 degrees around your boat, but you won't want them shining on you, including the one behind you which will light up your paddle and hurt your night vision.
These are relatively cheap and last forever. Don't scrimp on your lights! It's one of the easiest things you can do to keep yourself safe out there.
Here's a good video about navigation lights on the MR340 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpEmRnibp2Y.
Your boat can be staged at the park on the 11th when you check in. We will patrol the park all night but we are not responsible for any damage or loss of boat. Make sure you leave boat only and no paddles or gear. It will make the next morning much easier.
GET OUT AND PRACTICE
There are some early season races in the area that can get you out on the river so you can see what you need to work on and look at how other folks have rigged their boats. Check these out:
April 9: Perche Creek Gut-Buster (10 miles) email Charlie at email@example.com
April 16: Mean Lamine (13.4 miles) https://midwestpaddleracing.com/mean-lamine
May 21: RPC3 Shootout (51 miles) https://midwestpaddleracing.com/shootout-1
June 18: Freedom Race (60 miles) https://midwestpaddleracing.com/freedom
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
You don't have to reinvent the single blade. Literally 1000s of folks have taken on this challenge and refined the art of finishing. Better to learn from mistakes before you even leave your couch. Here's a place filled with links to resources that will keep you unproductive at work for weeks!
● Rivermiles MR340 Resources - https://rivermiles.com/mr340-resources/#General_MR340_Race_Info
● Pay special attention to this youtube channel where Chris Luedke has years of great videos to shorten the learning curve. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjTAGGN9ArvdwcofYeM1ZWQ
● Also, Chris has been hosting webinars with veteran paddlers called MR340 LIVE, which you can check out here - https://riverrelief.org/mr340-live_2021/
● "MR340 First Time Finisher" - This book by racer Steve Jackson was written in 2013, so some of the race details are out of date. But it has tons of timeless advice on training, preparing, gearing up and strategies for finishing your first time in the race - https://www.amazon.com/Missouri-River-First-Time-Finisher/dp/0989637514
Our Facebook group is over 8000 strong. A great community of racers who share news about training runs on the river, gear for sale, ground crew information, shuttle opportunities, etc. Ask a question and you'll get an answer FAST. It's also where our sponsors can share info on sales and promotions. https://www.facebook.com/groups/188849561244166/
Checkpoints and Cutoff Times:
1. Kaw Point, mile 367.5, Race Begins Tuesday, July 12. 7am solos, 8am everything else. All boats MUST check in via RaceOwl on July 11 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)
You have control over your destiny via training and preparation. Efficient paddling is crucial for those first 74 miles. Minimize wasted time. Stay in the fast water. Stay in the boat. Draft when possible. Travel as light as possible. Keep yourself in your boat and your paddle in the water.
After Waverly, the cutoff times get easier because we assume short stops at the checkpoints and continued commitment to the Stay In The Boat philosophy. By Glasgow, most paddlers have enough time banked up that they aren't worried about cutoff times anymore.
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. She'll be running the approximate MPH as indicated on the checkpoint chart above. And arrives precisely at the cutoff. Keep in mind - if the Reaper is flying the skull & crossbones flag, it’s “reaping”, if not, it may be on another safety boat mission.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dKkbbstC_0 is about the reaper.
CHECKPOINT VS. PADDLESTOP
Firstly, you are not required to stop anywhere. Just to check in as you pass.
You are only required to check in at the checkpoints. Paddlestops are just places we've got volunteers and safety boats if needed. And sometimes food.
Check ins are done only at checkpoints and done only by phone. We use RaceOwl, developed and maintained by the great Jon Marble.
We will explain more about Race Owl in the next Dispatch.
GROUND CREW REQUIREMENTS
● Every boat must have a ground crew.
● Your ground crew may be physically present (preferred) or Virtual.
A physically present ground crew is pretty obvious. They are following you by road ramp to ramp and meeting your resupply needs. They can watch your progress on RaceOwl and know down to the minute when you will likely be at the next landing. If you are exceptionally late to a meeting, they would know to alert one of our safety boats and we could check on you if needed.
Ground crews tend to have fun and enjoy the experience. It's an adventure for them too! Sleep deprivation, boy scout hot dogs, pit toilets, they get the whole experience. If you don't have a physical ground crew yet, work on getting one!
Virtual ground crew means they aren't actually there to meet you, but they are tracking your remotely. This is important because they would alert us if you were late to a planned arrival. We wouldn't know anything was amiss until the checkpoint closed. But your VGC would know because they would be paying attention to RaceOwl or you would be texting them routinely saying "We plan to be at Hermann by midnight, will text you then" and if they didn't hear from you by, say, 2am, they could let us know that you may be having trouble upstream.
Get your ground crew and get them trained up on RaceOwl, texting in, etc. It will pay off!
We strive to have concessions at all the checkpoints and most paddlestops. For the most part, these are non-profit groups that depend on the 340 for a big chunk of their annual fundraising. Here's our list so far.
Boy scout grill
Boy scout grill at both ramps
Community fundraiser grill
Dalton Bottoms (Paddlestop – newly reopened!)
No food vendor, but safety boat will be available
Fresh On The Go food truck
Franklin Island (Paddlestop)
Pending – food will be available
Cooper's Landing (Paddlestop)
Cooper's will be selling food and drink throughout to paddlers and spectators
Jefferson City (Checkpoint)
Boy scout grill
Boy scout grill
New Haven (Paddlestop)
Free Food from The Nature Conservancy
Finish Line (Checkpoint)
Lewis and Clark Boathouse and Schlafly Brewery and Athletic Brewing
PFD (Personal Flotation Device)
These are required by our Coast Guard Permit and must be worn on the water at all times subject to time penalty and disqualification. Find one that is comfortable and functional. They don't have to be expensive. The kind they make for fishing are remarkably handy and allow for lots of movement (like casting a pole or a paddle) and have cool little pockets in front for sunscreen or lip balm, etc. Treat YO Self.
Our Safety boats will be checking for PFDs. We know that some of you wear low-profile inflatable PFDs that we can’t see from a distance. If we ask, please graciously let us know you have an inflatable.
Medals and trophies are awarded to you as you finish. BUT you are all invited to our Finish Line Party sponsored by Big Muddy Adventures & Schlafly Brewing at the Lewis & Clark Boathouse. There will be food and beer available as well as live music. The Party is sponsored by Terrain Magazine and Schlafly Brewing.
We will be recognizing all podium (1st -3rd) finishers live on the music stage between songs. So it should be a great time! The music starts at 6pm and trophies soon after during music breaks. Beer will be cold and plentiful. As well as the famous Lewis And Clark Boathouse hard lemonades! This was such a blast last year! Plan to be there and celebrate!
MORE TO COME
This is just the beginning of the information fire hose aimed squarely at you. But we'll let you digest all those links and videos and gain some skeletal background first before we flesh out the muscular details. If you're a rookie, fear not! We were all once rookies and we're still here. You'll do great. Welcome to the family! And if you're a veteran, well, we knew you'd be back. We told you. And we're looking forward to seeing you again!
In the meantime, send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get you squared away.
Shameless plug: https://rivermiles.com/shop/
100% of purchases go to Missouri River Relief operations!
Your Race Manager,