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2017 Race story for team Calico Moon (Read 857 times)
08/24/17 at 21:34:34

Rusty Coons   Offline
5X MR340 Veteran
Gritty Fitty Veteran

Posts: 191
2017 mr340 notes
We got in the water shortly after the solos went. We hung out on the side of the Kaw until they said 3 minutes. Then we started staging for the confluence. Our original plan was to go fairly early in the pack on the left side. Since Scott talked about it at the safety meeting it was where about two thirds of the pack were headed. We went right in the center and really didn't have many boats to near us. We paddled out at what we thought was was a decent race pace. Somewhere around 55 strokes a minute. We were passing quite a few of the pack but some boats were pulling away from us pretty well. We caught up to Donald and Aaron around broadway bridge. We paddled around each other for quite awhile. We started taking our breaks right on time. I took mine at a quarter to the hour and Amber took hers on the hour. We took about a 3 minute break while eating. I drank every 15 minutes to the minute. We passed the first solo at 9:45 he was a stand up paddle board. We started passing solos pretty consistently starting about 10:30. We were slowly inching away from Aaron and Donald when they were getting ready to hit their first stop at Napoleon. We told them we were headed to Waverly for our first stop and they looked at us like we were crazy. At this time we were starting to paddle around quite a few other mixed tandems. We were feeling good. Food was going down good. We passed Lexington at 3:03.
There were quite a few boats there and 5 or 6 boats squaring away their gear. We went on by them and pushed on. Talked to a fast mixed team called the Huckleberries. They were faster than us paddling but had a gourmet meal awaiting them in waverly. We were pretty happy to hear we'd be putting some distance between us. We planned to hit the second ramp at Waverly. Mom texted us saying that ramp was pretty open but we knew there were quite a few boats within a mile ahead of us. As we were going by the first ramp we saw Aluminaughty pulled way up on the bank. We were happy to have passed them knowing they were gonna be tough to beat as always but also worried about them because we like them and knew the only way they would stop would be an injury. By the time we got there the ramp was pretty full. I could see Mom and she started coming down the ramp but it was too full. I yelled let's just do it on the rocks upstream of the ramp. We heard some guy saying "hey that's Rusty and Amber" we pulled up to the rocks. Mom started hustling down to catch the boat and fell. She popped back up and said she was fine but I was worried she was just saying that. I hopped out and held the boat, Amber hopped out and went up towards the wagon. Mom handed her food and water. Amber handed it to Susan Tretter who jumped right in and was all over helping us. We got the boat outfitted and got back in under 7 minutes.
Pretty decent stop for getting everything ready for some night paddling into Miami. We were rejuvenated and started picking up the pace again. I felt like we were still at the same cadence but the MPH ticked up a bit. We talked to some aluminum paddlers Taylor Herring and his partner. Making up the Galactic Grumman Goombas. I thought they may be up front for the aluminum cup now the Aluminaughty was sitting on the bank. I asked how they thought their chances were and they said the paddlehawks were way out in front of them. I couldn't believe it. I thought these guys were moving along fast for aluminum. We went back and forth for a bit and then they cruised on ahead. We paddled around kayaks mostly until we could see Miami. There were 7-8 boats headed in to the ramp in the mile or so ahead of us. It was a major traffic jam lots of boats coming out as well as the boats ahead of us coming in. We pulled near the ramp and paddled upstream while waiting for our chance to get in. There was no way to pull sideways in front of the ramp. I hopped out in water just over my knee. I pulled the boat up as far as possible to get Amber out. She got out in the water and was waist deep. We pulled the boat up to the top of the ramp with some help from some volunteers. When we were ready to set it down Amber told Ryder to grab the rudder and he did. Then one of the volunteers grabbed the rudder after it was on the ground and twisted it hard to the right and asked how it locked out of the way. We told him it doesn't and just leave it. After that the left pedal was a bit deeper and spongier than before. There were quite a few boats pulled up the ramp and to the left as though they were planning on staying awhile. It was somewhere around 10:30 we think. We were both happy to use a normal bathroom while Mom and Ryder were outfitting the boat. We got Everything we needed and swung the boat around hoping to not get amber in as much water. We got in without too much trouble and headed out. We had grabbed our thermarest roll in case Amber needed a rest before Glasgow.
There were some boats ahead of us that had shoved off as we were coming in so they had a pretty good jump. Amber was cold after getting so wet and then being out of the boat not paddling for the bit of bank time. We paddled for about an hour and amber was still cold. She had her Columbia rain coat and frog togg bottoms on. She got the boat mopped out and laid out the thermarest. She worked her way down into the bottom of the boat and covered her head with the frog togg top. We were around some kayak paddlers that were talking loud and I knew there was no way Amber was getting any rest so I poured on some power and got out ahead of them so we wouldn't have to listen to them. She was down for about an hour and said she got a little rest. She got back in the seat and rolled up the sleep pad. We got back in sync and it was good to get the boat moving fast again. There were a couple of boats around us and were barely outpacing them. We got past them and we're out front of all the boats we could see for miles. We were just paddling away and didn't hear some boat sneak up behind us until one said Left loudly and we heard them back paddling hard. Amber said when she looked back they were only about 6" from our boat. We kept up and paddled on past Dalton bottoms about 2:45. We had been seeing lights forever. We were glad to cruise on by Dalton. We were wearing down pretty good at this point and knew we needed some rest. Pulling under the bridge under Glasgow was nerve wracking because they said there was a submerged can under the bridge. We never saw it If it was there. We pulled into the ramp and there weren't many boats there. It was 4:26am so we really made pretty good time. We got up the ramp and I don't think there was another tandem boat there. Amber changed into her clean clothes and we climbed into the sleeping bags. Mom set the alarm for an hour and 15 minutes. We got up when she said time was up but we weren't too quick getting off the bank. We used the restrooms and I was freezing. We bought some burritos and threw them in our coat pockets. We got the boat outfitted and walked it down the ramp. We just paddled out into the channel and ate our burritos. They were good. Amber ate most of hers and saved a little. We were out of the ramp at 6:51 making it 2hrs 26min stop. It was a big ask but we decided after outfitting the boat to have Mom outfit the boat while we slept the next time we slept.

There were a few boats that had left before us and we were heading toward Lisbon bottoms. We were feeling alright for early day2. I really enjoyed the App for this point as we needed to cross over to the right before I thought we should. We cruised through Lisbon and the cabin on the bluff hollered asking where we were from. They said have a good race and we paddled on. This was the fastest we went the whole race. Holding 9+ and hitting 9.9 for our max speed. We passed Franklin island where they were finding guns out in the water. Somewhere around 11:30. The day was starting to drag and our speed was dropping. I wasn't putting as much power intro the paddle and had to make a conscious effort to pick it back up. Amber went live on Facebook and it was pretty neat. We were about 50 miles out from Jeff city. Our next stop was Hartsburg. Mom and Ryder were having a tough time finding the ramp. We pulled into the ramp about 4:30pm. I started pulling gear out of the boat at the ramp for when they show up. Amber walked up the ramp to see if there was anyone there to help guide Mom in. When she got up the ramp she found out there was only two cars there and one was Stephanie. We messed around there a bit waiting and trying to guide Mom in. I asked Steph if she had enough water for us take a couple gallons or less. She said she had a bunch. We mostly filled up each gallon jug and put everything back in the boat. We got out and pushed on to Jeff city. There was only a couple boats ahead of us in view as we were headed into Jeff city. As we were pulling up to the ramp there were a few boats over at the sand beach waving us over there. I told them it would only be a 5 minute stop. They were still pretty insistent on us pulling over there because there was a motor boat coming upstream. Josh colbeck was there and jumped in to hold the boat while we did a quick stop. The motor boat came fairly close and said he had a trailer coming down. Then in a few seconds he said take all the time you need. Then he asked where we got the boat. I said a guy in Springfield but then said it used to be Hopkins boat. He said "I built that boat that's my boat!! You guys are kicking ass keep going!" We got our gear in and made sure our lights were on.
We paddled out into the channel and got our Chims Thai food out and started eating. I liked the kitchen chicken better but amber liked the pad Thai noodles. A safety boat caught up to us and asked our boat number and took some pics of us. After we ate some we got back on the paddles and right when we went around the last corner with the capitol building in view I looked back and it was framed by trees and the sunset. Amber got a pic of the sunset but we'd gone too far for the building to show up good. The Thai food was good and really seemed to add some fuel to the fire. We felt good heading to Chamois but were heading into a large debris field. There was stuff everywhere. As it was getting darker it was becoming apparent that the moon was gonna be late and and when it would come up there would be clouds. We were really slowed up by this. The spot light wasn't much use even when we moved the light to the front due to there being so much stuff in the water. At one point we just coasted with the river trash and waited until it cleared out some on our side. We could hear other boats crash into stuff as they were coming up on us. We were worried about the front of our boat since we didn't know how well it would hold up. The 27 miles to chamois took a nearly 4hrs. We saw moms light down at the end of the boat ramp and pulled in. We pulled the boat up a ways and went to the restrooms with warm water to wash hands with. We got back to the car and I looked at raceowl for the first time with some real interest. It showed the first place boat in mixed was done and second overall. It showed us in second and that the other teams had left about 2 hrs after us. There were 3 boats that all left within 25 minutes of each other. It was tough to shut my brain off after that to sleep and know they were gonna gain on us. We laid down to sleep and Mom got everything in the boat swapped out and woke us up in an hour. All we had to do when we woke up was pick a couple of drinks out of the cooler and put the boat in the water. We knew the barge was still coming upstream but we headed out under the full moon and were happy about our choice to sleep. We were able to paddle at full speed for the most part and we could see the light for where the gasconade came in we could also see a spot light coming upstream. Then a train went by and we thought it was just him. But the light remained. We zig zagged trying to decide what to do. We decided to go near the gasconade out of the channel and catch a spot on the bank. We tried a couple spots and pulled in behind a brush pile. Another boat came along and pulled up near us. We talked a bit and it was his second race. We never caught each other's name but I figured out through race owl he was William Poe. The barge was taking forever to make the turn on the river where we were because it was so huge and the turn was tight. At one point he was maybe 7' off the bank. After he went by it took maybe 20 minutes for the water to calm enough for us to get back in the boat. We got away from the bank and the water wasn't too bad. William headed out a bit before us and we chased him all the way to Herman. Mom said to swing near and holler because nobody was sleeping there. When we were coming to the Herman Bridge it was really confusing looking. There were lights all over it that made it look like there were a hundred pillars. I just kept aiming at the green light. We got through there and saw them down by a fire at the point between the two ramps. We hollered over and made sure they knew it was us going by and headed on. We cruised by at 4:21AM.

We had talked and we really thought we could push the rest of the way on the water we had. Mom said she would be at new haven. We paddled past new haven in the morning light. We were able to see Mom and tell her we were skipping Washington as well. About 4 miles up from Washington a motor boat was aiming right at us coming up the river. We pulled off channel and they aimed at us again so I aimed back at the channel. They pulled up on us and slowed to talk. The said they had a canoe capsize between Washington and New Haven overnight. They asked us to keep our eyes open and didn't say much else. Mom texted saying Washington ramp was closed and we were glad it wasn't a spot we had to resupply at. We were planning on a short break after the ramp but the bridge just downstream of it was a mess. A tug went from left to right and pushed up against a small barge that was spraying down the bank. We were gonna take the channel side of the bridge but a rec boat was coming upstream on that side. Then a big Jon boat ran from left to right to the tug and back. We went through on the right side and the water was a mess. We were glad to get past it and away from the mess. We were beginning to fight some stomach issues by now. Amber had eaten a couple apple sauce packs and a banana but it was a struggle. We discussed it was the best to back off eating. I was having a lot of heartburn and after eating salty stuff having a hard time keeping it down. The only thing I was able to eat after that was a small amount of trail mix every hour. It went down well enough but I didn't eat much of it. We paddled through the rest of the morning both worn pretty slick but we kept the hammer down. Amber was dealing with texts and we were getting a ton. Joe told us that the team behind us had gained some ground between the last two check points. At one point he said they could be 20 minutes or 2 hours behind us. We would check over our shoulder every so often but couldn't see any boats. The last few miles into Klondike were really a drag. We were past Klondike at 10:11am.
Only 28 miles left and it's one of my favorite parts of the river. I feel Like I read the river really well. The app was getting low on power but I wasn't concerned. Everybody kept texting encouragement knowing the last part of the race is always a low point and a grind. I think we took one small shared break through here and it was the only one. From here on out even the bits of trail mix didn't make me take a break to eat. We pushed knowing that the big break was at the end. We came around the corner into the bridge of false hope and stuttered for a second thinking we were seeing a barge. It was a dredge so we just kept after it. Knowing the finish line was close was motivation to click the pace up over 8.5mph. Our phones were blowing up. Quite a few people were watching us on spot so they knew. We caught a glimpse of the I-70 bridge and talked about game plans. We decided to take the inside line of the bridge which was slower water but less work to cross the river to the finish line. We paddled under the bridge and I had forgotten how loud it is under there. When we got clear of the bridge noise we could hear everybody yelling. Sawyers voice carries really well across the water. We heard the horn and paddled in off the point of the wing dyke by the finish line. We were just cruising and talking about getting everything ready to get out of the boat. We pulled into the ramp and has some help out of the boat right into everybody. Mom, Dad, the boys and Judy. We were able to get some pics at the finish line and got settled down on the bank. We asked our official time and it was 53:34. A 2nd place in mixed tandem and 24th overall.

Please keep in mind I wrote this for my own notes before I decided to post it. I decided to leave it as is. If you have any questions feel free to ask.
Rusty Coons
Calico Moon
Boat 3337
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Reply #1 - 08/25/17 at 12:56:59

KY Paddler   Offline
2X MR340 Veteran
Madisonville, KY

Posts: 70
Really great write up; brought back many of the same memories. Nice to see the mention of Billy Poe, a friend from the same town and a crazy strong paddler.

Thank for sharing.  See you next year.
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Reply #2 - 08/26/17 at 10:53:42

SalliOD   Offline
MR340 Veteran

Posts: 10
A great read! Sure wish I could remember such details. Great job - and that goes for the write-up as well as your race!!!
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Reply #3 - 08/27/17 at 20:25:21

Scott Mansker   Offline
Race Staff
12X MR340 Safety Boat Pilot

Posts: 8030
Fun read from the front side of the race.  We figured the fast boats would catch the debris field.  Glad it wasn't too awful bad. 

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Reply #4 - 09/03/17 at 08:57:59

Fubar Dave   Offline
MR340 Veteran

Posts: 4
Thanks for the write up. I'm hoping to be somewhere near your time next year. This was my first race and it's nice to read these notes for a little guidance for next year!

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