The many threads that make up a good 340 are starting to come together pretty well at our end. We hope the same for you and yours as you prepare for the challenge.
For those new to the roster, a brief run down of events and times.
7/30/12 Mandatory sign in and safety meeting at the Kansas City, Kansas Hilton Garden Inn, 520 Minnesota.
Sign in and packet pickup from 2pm to 6pm. Meeting from 7-8pm.
7/31/12 Race begins, Kaw Point Park, Kansas City, KS All solo boats start at 7am. All other boats start at 8am. Roughly 200 boats in each group.
8/3/12 Race officially ends at midnight. 7pm there will be an awards ceremony. Lewis and Clark Boathouse and Nature Center, St. Charles, MO
Lots more information at www.rivermiles.com/forum
On to new business.
Reminding all boats that you must have your boat numbers affixed to both sides of your bow before Tuesday morning. This is something you can be working on right now if you haven't done it already. Your numbers should be at least 3 inches high and reflective. (like mailbox numbers or boat hull numbers) Be sure they match the numbers you have chosen on the roster.
All unsupported boats must have a functioning Spot Tracker WITH the Track Me subscription so that we may know where you are at all times. If you have a spot tracker, please register it at http://www.kattack.com/SPOTTracking/AboutSPOTandKattack/tabid/259/Default.aspx
OR, you can rent a spot tracker from trackleaders.com They have committed 50 units to the race. So far, 22 have been rented. These can be found at store.rivermiles.com If you rent one, you'll receive it at the safety meeting, already set up for the race. You just follow the on/off instructions and turn it in at the finish line.
All boats must carry a fully charged cell phone and a spare battery. These must be in a waterproof case aboard your boat or on your person.
Checkpoint procedures, again:
Boats with ground crews must be texted through by the ground crew upon visual confirmation at each checkpoint. This has been addressed in previous dispatches and will be covered in detail at the meeting. Boats must be texted in to race HQ at each of the 8 checkpoints.
Boats WITHOUT ground crews will be monitored remotely via their spot trackers. However, we know there will be glitches with the spot units. With about 120 unsupported boats, we have to have a system in place for spot failure. So here it is. All unsupported boats MUST stop in Lexington (Checkpoint 1) where we will have a list of boats that are not tracking properly. If you are not on the naughty list, you can move along. If your are on the list, we will help get your unit operating properly.
Going forward from there we require all unsupported boats to power up their cell phones at 7am and again at 7pm, every day of the race. Leave your phone on long enough to get a signal and see if you have any text messages from us indicating a problem with your unit. If you have no text message, all is well. If you have a message, it will have instructions on what to do. Feel free to have your phone on more often than those two times. But this is a minimum so that we can make contact with you if needed. It's a good idea to check your phone at any checkpoint where you've stopped to take on supplies or rest. Also, be sure to monitor your battery life. You should bring along a car charger so that you can grab a charge from a volunteer, a safety boat or a friendly ground crew. You must be sure your phone functions.
No stops required. Ground crew must text in time through each of 8 checkpoints.
All must carry Spot Trackers with Track me subscription. These must be restarted every 24 hours to function properly.
All must stop at Lexington for Spot verification.
All must power up cell phones at 7am and 7pm each day MINIMUM to check for text messages from race officials.
All must keep their cell phone charged and in working order.
As you can see, life is very simple with a ground crew. Keep trying to get one! Odds of finishing the race go way, way up.
Find yourself on the roster here:
Make sure your entry has a boat number. If it says, "needs to choose new number" it means you selected a number that was already taken and we need a new one. Contact me.
If it says "TBD" it means your partner hasn't signed up yet. There are 15 boats right now that need to finish registering. Time is running out.
The race is NOT sold out. We have room for about 40 boats. If you know someone interested, direct them to www.rivermiles.com to sign up. We have 403 boats currently on the roster but traditionally 15% do not show up. Several have already dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Per the registration agreement, the deadline for a partial refund was May 15th. There is no refund at this point. This race raises funds for 3 non-profit groups. Missouri River Relief, Lewis and Clark Nature Center and the Healthy Rivers Partnership. Over $10,000 will be raised for these groups. If you have to drop out, you are still helping 3 great causes along the Missouri River.
For those that are planning to attend, GET READY. It's shaping up to be a fantastic 7th running of the MR340. The water is right where it should be this time of year. The river is full of sandbars! Like it should be! It's beautiful at this stage and much safer with more places to stop and rest and more wing dams exposed to clarify where the channel is. And with 400 boats the race will be relentless. You'll always have a competitor right behind you. And one up ahead to chase down. The towns along the way are really excited to host you. Be sure to sample the food tents and hospitality along the way. And St. Charles will be a party! The finish beach will be the place to hang out and tell stories and watch boats come in all night and day. And get this; the Lewis and Clark Nature Center got a beer license this year. So you won't have to walk 3 blocks for a beer! Just grab one and have a seat around the fire and enjoy.
Next dispatch we're going to talk about strategies and common mistakes. That should land in your mailbox tomorrow!