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Kawnivore Dispatch #2 (Read 2198 times)
07/12/11 at 23:07:16
Dispatch #2 July 12, 2011
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Blessed rain falling in the Kaw Valley. Turning to cursed rain once it crosses the state line into Missouri. Such is our river scenario this year.
More rain in the forecast for the next day or so. And maybe a little next week. It's a rare and unfamiliar feeling for me to root for rain before a race. Haven't done that since the 2006 MR340 when the river was so low the barges were stuck at Jeff City. Good thing about the Kaw, a little rain goes a long way. If the river goes up even a foot, things get much easier for everyone.
We're finally to the point where a 15 day forecast encompasses our race. Though nobody should ever put much faith in a 15 day forecast...Plan for anything. This thunderstorm we're in right now boiled up out of thin air as the sun set. Very common scenario on the Kansas Prairie this time of year. You should have with you anything you'd need to weather a storm hunkered down on a sandbar or in a cornfield. Those crunchy space blankets that everyone makes fun of until they need one are REQUIRED aboard your boat. It has saved some butts in the MR340 on a few stormy nights and cold mornings.
Also remember to have aboard or be wearing shoes that you could walk out in. Meaning, you hike through the north shore of the river until you hit 24 highway. Going barefoot is not an option. Lace up some sandals or old tennis shoes or at least have them stowed aboard.
Another NEW bit of equipment required is a whistle aboard every boat. This is required by our insurance.
This should cost a dollar. Maybe two. Clip it to your PFD and forget it. Or clip it to your boat somewhere. Cut the cord off if it comes with one because that will just get in your way. It's for signalling a rescue boat or in the case of the Kawnivore, maybe a rescue truck. Everyone needs one. It's like having a cell phone but cheaper.
Speaking of cell phones, you should really have one aboard as well. Secured and in a waterproof case. Especially if you're going unsupported. You should have good cell service over the entire course. If you have a problem, a cell phone will be the quickest way for us to help you.
Please remember that should you pull out at any point during the race, you must contact race officials or volunteers. A phone call to the numbers listed on your safety card (received at check in) is sufficient. HOWEVER, you should talk to a live person and if you do not, please drive to the nearest downstream checkpoint and sign out.
Other nuts and bolts...
This takes place at the Pathfinder Outdoor Store, 304 Poyntz Ave, just a block from the safety meeting. Store opens at 10am and you'll have from 10am to 145pm to sign in, grab your tshirt, safety card and other stuff. Browse the store and pick up last minute items like nav lights, flash lights, rain gear, etc. But be sure to be seated at the Wareham Opera House no later than 2pm.
MANDATORY SAFETY MEETING:
Begins at 2pm.
Wareham Opera House,
410 Poyntz Ave
There will be some pomp and circumstance with some guest speakers excited to welcome you to town and to the Kaw. The agenda is forming up but speeches are all said to be under 5 minutes. Folks are very excited about you coming to do this race so everyone wants a chance to say hello and thanks. There will be a safety video by Jodi Pfefferkorn that should only be about 15 minutes. We should be clearing out by 3pm giving everyone 2.5 hours until the first wave of paddlers (all multi person boats and all women solos) Followed immediately by all men's solos.
STARTING LINE: Linear Park, Blue River Access
Please note, parking is very limited at this park. We are asking that folks drop boats and gear in the grassy area and park in the designated area on the north side of 24 highway. You can then walk UNDER the highway along the trail and back to the park. You can leave boats there prior to the safety meeting we're told... there will be security there to watch them during the meeting. Please don't leave expensive electronic gear in the boats. Anything easy to carry on your person should be carried on your person.
It's a small ramp and there are few other places to put in. We'll need to start this process early to get everyone on the water. We are starting all multi person boats and all women's solos promptly at 530pm. If you are still waiting to get in, it means you should have started earlier. Please plan accordingly.
One option that many are planning is to put in at the 177 bridge access which is 2 miles upstream of our start. Racers will have no lines there and a bigger ramp. Then drift down to the Blue River and upstream about 100 yards in slack water. (we can't stage a start at 177 due to the current being fast there)
Once the first wave leaves at 530 we will begin launching men's solo boats. This needs to go quickly and we'll start once the last boat is in the water. Hoping for 615.
Wamego is rolling out the red carpet for your ground crew. They will be entertained while they wait. I'm hearing about good food, homemade ice cream, etc. Be sure to stock them with some cash so they can enjoy. This is their fun weekend too. Wamego has the cutest little river access you've ever seen, but parking is very limited. They are planning to offer golf cart shuttle service from the ramp to parking downtown. Park as close as you can and find your way to the ramp. Have a cart or a cooler with wheels to make serving your team easier.
Next checkpoint is Maple Hill. This is NOT a town and NOT a ramp. It's a bridge next to a cornfield. Racers won't be getting here until dark. It's not a good place to view the race or help your racer. Parking is tough. And 4 wheel drive is needed to get there if there has been rain. Even under dry conditions, it's a rutted trail. We'll have race staff beneath the bridge to count boats and be of assistance if someone needs to pull out. Boats should transit the bridge at river left so volunteers can interact verbally. They will ask you your boat number, you will say "boat number XXXX" They will then repeat "boat number XXXX" and wish you well. We will have a flashing light under this bridge.
Next Checkpoint is the Topeka Mandatory Portage. Some boats will make this before sunrise. Upon approaching the Hwy 75 bridge you will see signs that on the piers indicating "DANGEROUS DAM ONE MILE AHEAD." The channel under the bridge is river right. The portage is RIVER LEFT. After you go under the bridge river right, you will have a good view of the portage river left, about a mile down. Plenty of time to transit left and no reason to panic. The portage will be lit. Essentially, at this point the river splits around a large island. Go left to the portage. Right of the island is very dangerous. The Topeka Fire Department will have a boat stationed at the tip of the island and will not allow you to go right. If you were to somehow sneak by them, there will be more fireman on top of the dam to wave you away from the deadly low head notch. You'd really have to try to screw this up so don't sweat it. It's very plain what to do and you should have no problem, even in the dark. In short, go under the bridge at river right, then take a path towards the left of the island and the lit portage area.
The water is very shallow on the left of the island and has some rocky areas (old wing dikes) that span chute. These dikes are just below the surface and are runnable but it may be more prudent to hug the island. This way you will shoal out in sand and not rock. Once you shoal out, exit your boat and drag it until you're past the rocks. It's not far. Maybe 10 yards. Everyone has the same scenario so no harm done. If you are not concerned about a scratch on your boat and don't want to walk, you're fine to get up a head of steam and shoot over the rocks. There are a few cuts that will get you through fine. This is not a big deal. The water is slow and shallow here. It's not a rapid or white water or even a drop. Just some rocks sticking up and some just below the surface.
Everyone must portage using the ramps. No shortcuts going directly over the dam. We will have volunteers including some boy scouts who will be willing to assist. And your ground crew may assist as well. Take advantage of the help.
There will be warm food being served here by a local high school drama department. Again, bring some cash or fund your ground crew so they can stay awake and socializing while you toil in despair. Once you portage, you've completed about 61 miles of the 94.
After the portage there a couple of railroad bridges that should be run river right to avoid debris beneath them.
Next time you see race staff is at the Tecumseh power plant dam. We'll have a boat above and a boat below. They will attempt to guide you over the dam. At most water levels, you can go right over the dam without a problem if you have a kickup rudder. You will see the
formed by a spot in the structure where there is clear paddling. There are many of these to choose from on the dam that stretches from river left to about 2/3 across the river. After the 2/3 there is a notch that opens up into a rocky area. It's also possible to go through that notch JUST LEFT of the rocks and cut hard around them. Worst case here you shoal out and drag a few feet. DO NOT go right of the rocks as this is dangerously close to the power plant and the intakes there. Our volunteers will wave you away from this chute. Make their lives easier and stay left. Similar to Maple Hill, they will ask your boat number. Make sure this is very visible in case you transit the dam further from their sandbar and verbal communication is not possible.
Again, written out this sounds more complicated than it is. Short version. You can most likely go right over the dam. You might rub the top of it or even scrape, but with a good head of steam you blow right over. No drop to speak of at current levels. Just a shallow ridge.
If you don't want to run over the dam, go just left of the rocky area in the notch. Basically make a hairpin turn around the southernmost tip of the dam. Do not go down the chute near the power plant. Volunteers are there to help. If you dump over, they'll help you get back together. Water is not deep here. Quite the opposite.
From here you have one more chance to see ground crew and that's Lecompton/Rising Sun ramp.
Then it's on to the finish line at Lawrence, river left. We'll have it marked with our tall yellow flags. All racers eat for free. Everyone else pays Friends of the Kaw who are cooking the food. Beer tent also benefits them. They're a great group and are responsible for so much of the Kaw infrastructure. The race would not be possible without their hard work.
It's recommended that everyone wear their PFD full time. As of this writing, PFD will be required worn from 9pm Friday night until your boat clears the Tecumseh dam. AND anytime there is a thunderstorm in the vicinity. If you clear Tecumseh and the sun's shining, you can remove your PFD at your own risk.
If conditions change, PFD usage may be required full time.
That's it for now. Let me know your questions. Read the forum under Kawnivore as there are many answered there.
Last Edit: 07/13/11 at 08:02:38 by N/A
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Reply #1 -
07/13/11 at 08:32:44
6X MR340 Veteran
2X MR340 Record Holder
Kawnivore Record Holder
3X Gritty Veteran
Gritty Fitty Record Holder
He who hesitates is lunch.
Austin, Texas, Third Coast
Are the shirts technical shirts or cotton? What time will the food be served at the finish and what is the food? --West
Cognitive Dissonance: when being wrong just isn't an option.
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Reply #2 -
07/13/11 at 08:42:14
The race shirts are black cotton. There are also extra shirts for sale that are baseball Ts. Also cotton. Navy sleeves white torso. Hats. Stickers. Mugs. Swiss Army Kawnivore Knives for all finishers. Trophies 1st - 3rd. Sorted by size. Bigguns for first. Medium second. Small but shiny for third.
I believe they start the food at 11am. Probably a tad earlier. Finish, clean up, come eat.
I'm told grillable stuff. Brats, etc. as well as side dishes. Outdoor barbecue fare. Beer on tap.
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Reply #3 -
07/13/11 at 10:27:36
5X MR340 Safety Boat Pilot
Ground Crew Veteran
Finish line food menu is burgers, boca burgers and brats, a small chip, some veggies and dip and lemonade. Beer tent provided by Free State benefits Friends of the Kaw. Never has beer guzzling gone to a better cause. All of the boat ramps you are visiting are their work. You can say thanks with your donation while eating and drinking and telling stories.
Topeka promises breakfast burritos crafted with local eggs and sausage. They'll keep the coffee on. This benefits Topeka High's Drama Club.
Wamego is putting on the dog for the race. Plan on snacks there, but prepare to be amazed. I'm not telling. Mary Lyn from Wamego will keep you updated in the checkpoint hospitality thread!
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Reply #4 -
07/13/11 at 11:33:58
Am sure it's been addressed somewhere but am not seeing. Probably right in front of me...
--Have cutoff times been posted or are we waiting for a better feel on river speed? I saw Wamego is start time +4hrs but didn't see any others.
--Also, I know finish is Lawrence (river left). Is this the boathouse? Wasn't sure if that was finalized.
BTW food setup sounds great. Good thing we're getting pocket knives with the T-shirts. After the sausage, beer, breakfast, snacks, Mary Lyn's surprise and ice cream I'll be consuming I may need one to cut the other into something that fits me.
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Reply #5 -
07/13/11 at 16:01:32
Wamego cutoff is 4 hours after the men's solo start.
Topeka cutoff for a racer to DEPART the portage, not arrive... is noon.
Cutoff for successful finish is 8pm.
For the racer barely making cutoffs, it looks like this.
Manhattan to Wamego: 4.75 mph
Wamego to Topeka: 3.2 mph (slower for night travel)
Topeka to Lawrence: 4 mph
The entire 94 miles would work out to about 3.6 mph. Pretty reasonable for a one day race on the Kaw.
Since this is the first year we will be generous. If there are circumstances like storms we will have leeway. But all paddlers should have a sense of urgency for the task at hand. Paddles should be wet as should the furrowed brow.
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Reply #6 -
07/14/11 at 15:59:12
We are looking forward to having you all in Manhattan, and especially here at The Pathfinder to pick up your packets. I've been trying to stock up on items that may be of last-minute interest, but if you have things you plan to forget, let me know now!
We're a locally owned-operated outdoor store and don't typically carry a huge supply of canoe-related items but have a lot of outdoor-related items to hopefully help you out.
There are some great small eateries here in the downtown area which we try to test as much as possible -- super options for a quick, healthy (or not) lunch before the meeting at the Wareham. AJ's NY Pizza, Harry's Deli, The Chef Cafe and Radinas are among our favorites.
Also please be aware that downtown Manhattan has some road construction happening so if you're trying to park, especially with a large, canoe-laden vehicle, your best bet would probably be the mall parking lots west of Dillards and south/southwest of Sears.
See you all in a week!
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Reply #7 -
07/15/11 at 15:53:37
Ryan J. McCoy
3X Kawlloween Veteran
Kawnivore Safety Boat Pilot
3X Gritty Veteran
Topeka WEST High School, Vicki! Oh my gosh. We try not to talk about the school that should be unnamed!
At Topeka - We are working with Caribou Coffee of our local HyVee to provide a bit of Caribou Drip Coffee as well as plenty of Iced Lattes for our Theater Fundraiser. Price to be set by the folks at HyVee with a portion of the proceeds making it to the department. Looks like $2 will probably get you a cup.
Went to the Fiesta Mexicana looking for some pointers on breakfast burritos.
Looking forward to seeing everyone real soon.
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