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OFFICIAL DISPATCHES 2021 MR340 July 20-23 (Read 19982 times)
05/06/21 at 09:24:45
Scott Mansker   Ex Member


Hello Friends!

The 16th Annual MR340 is July 20-23 with mandatory check-in at Kaw Point Park on July 19 between noon and 8pm.

Here are some things to know.

Our friends at Missouri River Relief now own and operate the MR340.  This is the best news we could hope for the longevity of the race.  Having them in charge with all the people power and infrastructure they bring to a river event is a huge boon.  They've been involved with the race since 2008 so we're used to seeing them out there in force.  Not much will change to the untrained eye except that Scott sleeps a little better and Steve sleeps a little worse.https://riverrelief.org/

Things are looking much better than last year at this time.  Case numbers in Kansas City and along the river to St. Charles are dropping as more and more folks get vaccinated.  We are watching for evolving local regulations regarding large outdoor gatherings.  Right now, things are more relaxed than last year, though we've been waiting to get final details from Kansas City, Kansas Parks.  They requested we have a COVID plan in place for July 19 and 20.  To satisfy the regulations at the time we wrote the permit, we confirmed we would wear masks at the park during check in on July 19 and while on shore July 20.  This may change over the next couple of months and masks may NOT be required at the park.  But for now, plan accordingly.

Please bring a mask for paddlers and ground crew along the course in case any concession stands request patrons use a mask while ordering. 

Snowpack was slightly below normal and the reservoirs are in decent shape for all the big watersheds that feed the Missouri.  Much can change week to week but with the baseline normal in the lakes, we have more room for the inevitable storms.  I know you crazy people all want the river running right below flood stage.  But that is a recipe for a delay and nobody wants that.  So far so good!

Please check the roster at http://www.rivermiles.com/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1605122180/

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 scott@rivermiles.com 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://youtu.be/CpEmRnibp2Y

Your boat can be staged at the park on the 19th 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.

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 out the Alpine Shop Race Calendar  https://rivermiles.com/events-calendar/


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!

Our facebook group is over 6000 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 20.  7am solos, 8am everything else.  All boats MUST check in via RaceOwl on July 19 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 will be the second year of this schedule.  Last year only one boat was eliminated by a cutoff time and that was at Waverly.  The water was above average and temperatures were below average so it was pretty ideal.  We may see more eliminated this year.  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.


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.

RaceOwl is the easy to use tracking app developed and maintained by Jon Marble, a multi year MR340 Veteran.  With it, you can do all sorts of thing and your friends and family can watch your progress.  Here's some instructions from Jon about how to familiarize yourself with the app for tracking and checking in at checkpoints.

Raceowl is a phone app that will track your boat down the river and help you check in at the checkpoints. 

We strongly encourage tracking so that:
  • Safety crews have an approximate current location of each racer
  • Ground crews can know when to expect you at the next checkpoint or paddlestop.
  • Spectators can enjoy tracking racers during the event.

There are two ways to track your position during the race:
  • Use a satellite tracker, such as Garmin InReach or SPOT Tracker OR 
  • Use the RaceOwl app for iOS or Android.

The benefit of using a satellite tracker is that you will have continuous connectivity over the entire race course. However, satellite trackers can be very costly and don’t provide the checkpoint logging capabilities required by the race.

The RaceOwl app offers the ability to both track the racer and handle the required checkpoint logging.

So you can learn more about how to track, use the RaceOwl app and use the website during the MR340, we have created a series of training materials and opportunities:
  • Follow the MR340 Facebook page and Rivermiles Forum to learn about upcoming Zoom training meeting(s) and/or training videos.

Download/update the RaceOwl app for iOS or Android.

It is essential that you train on your own, attend a virtual race or participate in other race events, such as the Freedom Race, that use RaceOwl so you can become familiar with the app and the RaceOwl website ahead of the MR340.

If you have any questions, contact RaceOwl at RaceOwl.Info@gmail.com

Remember, your first check in from the RaceOwl app on your phone happens the day before the race at Kaw Point Park between noon and 8pm, July 19.  Please come with the app on your phone and if you have questions we can help answer them there.  Once you get that first check in under your belt, the next one isn't until the next day at Waverly.  We'll iron out the questions for you if any.  But if you download the app and play with it a little, you'll catch on quickly.

If RaceOwl is beyond your tech abilities, you can step down to another MarbleWare product called MR340 Checkpoint Texter which is also available for free.  It will format a text for you with the proper criteria for checking in.  The text will appear in your outbox and you hit Send. Voila, you are checked in.

Paddler or ground crew can perform the check in.  The sooner you get the apps, the sooner you can practice and ask any questions. 

Another great product from Jon is MR340 PRO Paddler (Android Only, sorry).  This costs a few bucks but will do all kinds of cool stuff including a night-friendly chart of the river to keep you in the fast water.  Totally worth it. 

  • 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. 

When you registered,  you listed a ground crew.  Soon you'll get an email with all your registration details, ground crew, boat color, phone numbers, etc.  and you'll have the opportunity to update everything before July 19. 

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.

Lexington (Paddlestop)
Boy scout grill

Waverly (Checkpoint)
Boy scout grill at both ramps

Miami (Paddlestop)
Community fundraiser grill

Glasgow (Checkpoint)
Fresh On The Go food truck

Franklin Island (Paddlestop)
Trevor Tilton Mortgage Grill  (complimentary from the sponsor)

Cooper's Landing (Paddlestop)
Cooper's will be selling food and drink throughout to paddlers and spectators

Jefferson City (Checkpoint)
Boy scout grill

Hermann (Checkpoint)
Boy scout grill

New Haven (Paddlestop)

Klondike (Checkpoint)
Nature Conservancy Grill

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.  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.

Due to covid we are again avoiding the crammed, sweaty confines of an awards ceremony under the museum.  Instead, we will award medals to you as you finish.  BUT we are planning sort of an outdoor party Friday, July 23 at the finish line.  There will be food and beer available as well as live music. The Party is sponsored by Terrain Magazine and Schlafly Brewing. 

And, we plan to recognize all podium (1st -3rd) finishers and hand them trophies live on the music stage between songs.  So it should be a great time!  I believe 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!  While I usually dread the awards ceremony, I'm actually looking forward to this!  You should too!

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 me your questions, scott@rivermiles.com and we'll get you squared away. 

Shameless plug: https://rivermiles.com/shop/ 

100% of purchases go to Missouri River Relief operations!

Your Race Director,
Scott Mansker

« Last Edit: 11/07/22 at 09:23:40 by N/A »  
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Reply #1 - 05/11/21 at 21:57:51
Scott Mansker   Ex Member


Hello Fellow River Friends,

Hopefully, you've had some time to digest all the great resources we tagged in Dispatch 1.  And for some of you, there were questions answered in there that you didn't even realize you had!  And maybe some new ones born from the avalanche of good stuff.  We're here to help.  This isn't some super secret society of paddlers.  We're an open book and everyone is happy to share and get the new folks up to speed. 

Let's march through what your first 24 hours of this experience might look like.

Monday, July 19 you'll come by Kaw Point Park anytime between noon and 8pm to drop off your waiver and pick up your tshirt and required safety card. We will also have you prove to us that you know how to "Check IN" via phone so your first check in will happen there at Kaw Point the day before the race.  You are also welcome to stage your boat to make the next morning easier for you. We will have a presence at the park from noon on Monday, July 19 up until the 8am start the next day.  We've never had an issue with damage to a boat but this is still at your discretion to leave your boat.  Please do not leave gear or paddles.  Just your boat to make race morning easier for you.

Prior to the race, we will be sharing an Online Safety Meeting and it will be required that all participants and ground crews watch this video.

The morning of the race you'll want to arrive at Kaw Point fairly early ahead of your start time.  The parking lot will fill up fast and we will overflow along the curb of the NorthPoint building outside the floodwall.  We've never had to exceed that.

For the 7am solo start, racers will start launching around 530am.  Everyone thinks they can wait to put in at 645 but that won't work.  A huge line will have formed by 615am and many will not be in the water for the start.  That's no big deal.  If you start a few minutes late you've got lots of time to make that up over the next 340 miles.  But we recommend jumping in the line and getting on the water early.

The boat ramp is the obvious place but there are other ways to get on the water.  Way out at the confluence is the actual "Kaw Point" and you'll find a nice, rocky slope into the river.  There should also be a line of folks launching there.  You can launch anywhere.  Try to be as quick as possible with this.  Have your gear all stashed and just slide in your boat and go hover with the pack.

The official starting line is anywhere upstream of the boat ramp.  There is plenty of room for all of you.  Typically, the Kaw if flowing pretty slowly so you'll have to work just a little to keep your boat above the ramp.

Race will start promptly at 7am unless a storm or fog causes a delay.

Again, Solo racers start at 7 am and all other divisions start at 8 am.

Chris Luedke has a good training video of the morning of the start.  https://youtu.be/3pkYod_xkR8

By the way, his channel is FULL of great videos as you should already know! https://www.youtube.com/c/340Paddler

Your second minor challenge (after launching) is to make the transition from the Kaw to the Missouri River.  The Kaw is usually pretty slack and the Missouri is moving pretty fast on that bend.  When racers crowd too close together we tend to have a boat or two collide and sometimes flip over.  Not a huge deal but an exhausting process for you to put your boat and gear back together and get on your way.

The mouth of the Kaw is quite large and there is plenty of room to put between you and the crowd.  Everyone tends to aim for the middle and that's where the collisions occur.  Consider a couple of options.

1. Choose the road less traveled.  Take the north or south route.  This is slightly slower water and a tad more distance but rarely do any of these folks have trouble.

2. Start the race slow and let the chaos and adrenaline happen in front of you.  Once it subsides you'll have all the room in the world to operate.

Should you flip over, relax.  Stay with your boat and gather your gear best you can.  Hopefully, you made sure everything was secured and you've got your required PFD fitted appropriately.  The Kansas City Fire Department is typically out there with 3 of their swift water rescue teams and they will help square you away.

Your 3rd challenge of the morning will be the gauntlet of bridges just downstream from the start.  You'll negotiate 5 of them in rapid fire.  This is very easy and we've never had anyone get in trouble through there.  But with 300 boats anything can happen.

The water is really fast in this narrow bend and the bridge piers amplify this.  So everything comes at you pretty fast.  You'll want to line up your approach and again make sure you've got room between you and other boats.  Should you end up swimming in this stretch, your priority should still be to move yourself and your boat so that you will not hit a bridge pier.  Your fellow paddlers will help you until the KC Fire Department or one of our safety boats can assist.

But all this will be over in a few minutes.  You'll clear the bridges and settle in to your pace.  The racers will all assume a pretty straight line of boats.  You'll pass a few boats and get passed by a few.  Pretty soon you are in your groove with others who have similar speed.  You might be stuck with some of them for days so make friends.

After about two hours of this, the fastest boats from the 8am start will begin whizzing by you.  This will go on for awhile and is a fun part of the dual start.  Pretty soon these bigger boats will find their spots in the conga line.  If you're a solo with a chance to draft off a heavy tandem or triple, go for it.  You'll see lines of boats bow to stern all drafting. This allows you to use less effort to maintain a similar speed to the boat in front of you. 

Don't wear yourself trying to stay on a draft that is too fast for you.  There's bound to be a tandem that matches your pace and allows you to save a few strokes while maintaining a good cruising speed.

Remember that every boat has a different hull speed and you want to keep your boat at an efficient glide for the race.  If you're trying to push your boat past its efficient hull speed you are wasting a lot of effort with little return.  As you prepare for the race, find your sweet spot where the boat is most efficient.  This isn't necessarily a gps thing because some of us train on lakes or slower water.  It's more of a feel and listening thing.  If your bow is making a bunch of noise and throwing a big wave, you're probably trying to push that boat too fast.  Remember, this race is 340 miles.  Your goal should be to move the same speed in the first 20 miles as you do in the final 20 miles.  A consistent, steady pace all the way to St. Charles.  You will see folks that are straining hard at the start throwing a big bow wake and passing people the first 5 miles or so.  Then they will slow down and you'll end up passing them as they try to recover from this burn.

Efficiency in all things should be your goal.  Some things to consider.

1. Weight.  There is a time penalty for every ounce you load on your boat.  The less you carry checkpoint to checkpoint, the easier it will be.  If you have a physical ground crew, this is much easier to accomplish.  You can carry just the bare essentials to get you to the next checkpoint.  If you have a virtual ground crew, you can still do your best to carry minimum needed before you can resupply.  And remember, the heaviest thing in your boat is you.  Dropping 5 pounds between now and July will pay off in many ways.

2. Time on shore.  Consider the river as a big, fast conveyor belt.  It is doing half the work for you.  But when you pull of the river for any reason, you lose that advantage.  Stay in the boat.  Yes, there will be times when you have to pull off to get supplies or sleep.  But those are the only reasons!  Do everything possible in the boat while letting the river help you.  If you haven't figured out how to pee in your boat yet, start working on it.  You simply cannot pull over to pee ever few hours.  It wastes time but more importantly, landing and launching is exhausting.  You will quickly run out of energy.  Guys and girls both can do this.  There are many great products out there for women that work very well.  And guys too will need to practice if you're in a kayak.  An empty gatorade bottle or Planter's Peanut jar can be very handy. You can certainly eat in your boat.  If your ground crew hands you an amazing sub sandwich with everything you've been craving for 40 miles, jump back in the boat and eat it while the river pulls you at 3mph towards your goal.  Biggest mistake we see at the back of the race is folks spending way too much time on shore doing stuff they could do on the water.

3. Efficient, present, ground crew.  Every boat is required to have a ground crew.  Your ground crew may be a physically present ground crew or a remote, virtual ground crew.  The ground crew's primary job is to be aware of the paddler's health and location.  For physical ground crews this is pretty easily done.  They will see their paddler at agreed to locations and there will be an appraisal of their well being.  For a virtual ground crew, this looks a bit different.  In a virtual set up, the ground crew and paddler arrange for text or voice contact and regular intervals.  If your virtual ground crew doesn't hear from you when expected, they are to call the safety boat hotline and report it.

Obviously, having a physically present ground crew gives you a big advantage.  There's someone to carry all the gear you might need for a rainstorm.  And to resupply your food and liquids so you don't have to carry so much... and to cheer you on and keep you moving.

If you're lucky enough to have a ground crew, make the most of them.  Make sure they have a foldable wagon or something to carry all your stuff over long parking distances at the more crowded checkpoints.  Make sure you have good communication with them about what you'll need at each checkpoint so that there is minimum delay.  Ideally, you hit the ramp, they help you pull your boat out of the way, you wander off to the bathroom while they attack your boat removing all the trash and empty containers and replacing everything.  You come back, help launch the boat, tell them what you need at next meeting and they hand you that sub sandwich and you're gone.  Minimal time wasted.

Assuming you've dialed all this in before race day, you're cruising along to your first meeting.  You've spent some time leading up to the race toughening up your hands with some long distance paddling.  Or some free weights.  Or some pull ups.  Or some good manual labor.  You're aware of any hot spots that are starting on your hands and adjusting your grip to spread the damage out.  Your hands will be hamburger by the end of this but your goal should be to avoid the worst of it for as long as possible.  You're drinking on a regular schedule that you've worked out with your training.  You are also eating every 20 - 30 minutes to avoid bonking out.  You're burning a ton of calories and have to keep the fire stoked.  If you've got a partner in the boat you're making sure they are eating and drinking on schedule.  As the heat begins to build you make sure you're staying cool.  You dip your hat in the river and let it keep your head and neck wet.  You applied a bunch of sunscreen at Kaw Point and plan to reapply at the first stop  You've got a tube of chapstick in one of your PFD pockets.  Sunglasses with a cord so you don't lose them.  Sun gaiter on your neck to keep the sun off and to use as a mask if needed at checkpoints.  Everything clicking along nicely.  You've got the RaceOwl app on your phone showing the channel and you're right on it.  As you round another bend you see the front end of a barge come in to view.

Barges and Dredges
Barge traffic on the Missouri is minimal but it is increasing. We will see 2 or 3 that week and potentially more.  They come in many configurations.  Some are long haul and travel night and day.  Some are short haul and just going a half mile back and forth from a sand dredge.  Let's look at both.

Sand dredges operate mostly during normal daylight work hours.  These are large noisy contraptions anchored night and day midstream.  We will pass one the first morning.  The dredge itself doesn't move but the cables that anchor it to the sandy bottom will rise and fall out of the water so you need to keep your distance to one side or the other.  The dredges auger up sand from the river bottom for use in construction.  The sand is deposited in sand flats (barges) tied alongside the dredge.  As the flat is filled, a small towboat will bring an empty to the other side of the dredge, tie it off, then grab the full one and haul it to shore for offloading.  So if you see a dredge pumping sand, look for the towboat and try to stay out of their path from shore to dredge and back.

At night, the dredges do not usually operate but they will still be there in the water.  They are supposed to leave a light on both ends but you can't count on this as the lights can fail.  You'll want to use your eyes and ears and be ready to grab that strong LED flashlight if needed to light up the river if you need to.

The other type of towboat will be pushing 2-3 barges for long distances, running night and day.  These are bigger and tend to throw a larger wake if moving upstream with a heavy load.  If you see a barge going upstream OR downstream, you need to exit the navigation channel and stay a safe distance away.

Due to the nature of the Missouri River the towboat will be constrained to the navigation channel to assure it will have the depth to proceed.  You, being a tiny little boat, are not constrained to this channel.  So if you move out of the channel you are almost assured of not being in the way.  Typically, the off channel side of the river will be the inside of bends.  Here's a great explainer video from Chris Luedke's 340 Paddler channel.


After the barge let's imagine you're getting to the first rendezvous with your ground crew.  Missouri is blessed with some pretty good boat ramps and adjacent parks.  But the 340 tends to overwhelm the parking and ramp size so we all have to work together to keep the ramps functional.  We all have to work together to make sure things go as smoothly as possible.

The big problem tends to be at the bottom of the ramp where folks are landing and launching and repacking boats all in a tight space.  We have to leave the bottom of the ramp open so folks can land.  So, once you land, grab your boat and carry it up the ramp to a spot out of the way.  Then you have time to work on the boat before jumping back in the launch line to get going again.  Only the fastest racers will get there early enough to have the ramp to themselves for the ground crew to service the boat at the waterline.  The rest of us will be crowded and will need to come up the ramp to a clear spot.  Please help this happen.

Once you're back on the water and on your way you'll be heading to your first official checkpoint.  Waverly, MO is a blessed town in that it has TWO boat ramps.  The first is upstream of the bridge.  The second is just downstream.  You can choose either one.  Both will have food available for sale from the local boy scout troop.  Please support them!  And both ramps will have restrooms available.  So it's really a preference but you'd want to have worked it out with ground crew ahead of time.  Or, have them text you with whichever location they scout that day.

Protocol at a checkpoint is no different.  Help keep the ramp clear and be efficient.  The difference is that at a checkpoint, you are required to check in electronically using text messaging or the RaceOwl app.  We will talk more about the app in a future dispatch.

Checking in is a crucial part of the 340 safety plan.  Your first check in will have happened earlier that morning at Kaw Point Park before the starting gun.  Everyone will need to check in so we can confirm you started.  Volunteers will be there to help you at Kaw Point should you have a problem.  So by the time you get to Waverly, you will have done it once already.

The Waverly cutoff time is 8pm.  This is 13 hours for the solos and 12 hours for everyone else.  If you don't make it there by 8pm, you are out of the race.  So efficiency day 1 is super important.  One of our safety boats, The Reaper, acts as a pace boat and will run all day long at precisely the speed needed to make the 8pm cutoff.  Hopefully, you never see the Reaper behind you.  And we really hope you never see it in front of you.  If the Reaper beats you to Waverly, you are out.  Plan and train accordingly.

Here's a Chris Luedke video on the Reaper  https://youtu.be/4dKkbbstC_0

This is the second year of the 8pm Waverly cutoff.  Last year it only disqualified one boat.  It was a 4 person team from the 8am start.  No solos were disqualified.  Waverly is the most difficult checkpoint to make.  So efficiency from Kaw Point to Waverly is crucial!  Plan to meet your ground crew somewhere and only for a couple of minutes.  La Benite, Cooley Lake, Napoleon, Ft. Osage, Lexington... all of these are good options on the way to Waverly.  A good ground crew will be at the place you planned but will also be watching from another place just in case you need something.  The key if you need to stop, is to make it super quick.  Hand them your empty jugs, let them put the full stuff in and then go. 

But yes, it will be work.  And when you glide into Waverly ahead of the Reaper, it will be well earned.  And then, you get your first night of the race!

With everyone in by 8pm, it's unlikely we'd have anyone considering spending the night in Waverly.  There will be still be about an hour of decent light.  It will be hot, muggy and noisy at Waverly.  And you've got another cutoff time to beat tomorrow at Glasgow.  Better to make some miles in the evening and overnight if the weather and other conditions allow.

Night travel requires navigation lighting.  Here's another great Luedke video on night paddling which includes a primer on navigation lights.

You'll be surprised by the second wind you get once the sun goes down.  You're surrounded by paddlers and with the heat of the day fading, everyone gets a little boost.  The moon comes up and you wonder why anyone would ever want to paddle in the daytime.  Some of your best miles will come at night.  And guess what?  The Reaper takes the night off.  She usually parks at Hill's Island about 12 miles downstream of Waverly and doesn't pick up your trail again until 6am.  So, if you paddle most of Tuesday night, odds are you won't see the Reaper again. She simply can't catch you.

So that's a busy day 1.  You checked in twice.  Once at Kaw Point and once at Waverly.  You passed a sand dredge and maybe even a barge.  You met your ground crew a couple of times.  You peed in a bottle a few times with no mishaps.  You ate and drank on a good schedule with plenty of electrolytes and food you could tolerate.  And you got through the heat of the day and into the night.

Day 2
By sunrise of day 2 there will be racers from Hills Island (mile 281) to Jeff City (mile 144)  An unbelievable spread.  And by dinner time of day 2, the first boat will finish.  And the back of the race will be in Glasgow.  A spread of 199 miles from first place to last. 

You'll be somewhere in there.  The training, research, planning will all be paying off.  The mental toughness of gritting through the pain and staying in the boat will your biggest challenge.  But along with the bad hours there will be great hours!  Second winds that come out of nowhere and propel you along to the next checkpoint. 

More to come soon!  Try to get on the river if you can!  There are races and training runs happening all the time.  Check the facebook group! 

We're here if you have any questions.


« Last Edit: 05/14/21 at 10:17:54 by N/A »  
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Reply #2 - 06/07/21 at 21:40:06
Scott Mansker   Ex Member

Dispatch #3

Remain calm.  But the race is NEXT MONTH.

We're dialing things in on our end and hopefully you are too!  Plenty of time remains to get you and your ground crew ready for this adventure.  River levels look very friendly with lots of shoreline and sandbars currently above the water.  Hopefully, you are getting some time in your boat and building up some stamina and calluses.  And hopefully you're able to do some planning with your ground crew, whether they are physical or virtual, so that you've got a good plan A, B and C for day 1. 

Below is a list of stuff you may be on top of already.  If not, here's a handy to do list for the next couple of weeks. 

1. Boat number:  Please check the roster here: http://www.rivermiles.com/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1605122180
Verify that you have a valid boat number.  If it says you need a new one, that means you chose one that was already taken.  Send a new boat number choice.  You can use CTRL-F to search the page for boat numbers that are taken.  Ideally, the numbers should be minimum 3 inches high and reflective.  The kind of numbers you can buy for your mailbox are perfect. 

2. Reflective tape:  Make sure your boat has reflective tape.  Most commercially produced boats come with this.  Shine a flashlight on your boat in a dark garage and you'll see it.  If not, get some and place it along the boat so you're easy to see by fishermen, towboats, etc.  Also a good idea to put some around the shaft of your paddle in case you drop it in the water and need to spot it in the dark. 

3. Get a Ground Crew:  Everyone is required to have a ground crew.  You listed one when you registered.  They can either be physically present during the race or virtual.  A physical ground crew is obviously better and can help you finish by supplying you at checkpoints and keeping an eye on your condition.  A virtual ground crew's primary job is to simply track you and make sure you are staying in contact with them on a pre-planned basis.  If they lose track of you they must contact us to say they are concerned.  Your job is to make sure they never get concerned. 

4. WEAR YOUR PFD:  PFD is required to be worn at ALL TIMES while in your boat.  No Exceptions.  Safety boats can document infractions with cell phone photos and send them to the race director.  Time penalties will be added to final results.  You can wear inflatables but beware that these often fail to deploy if not worn properly.  Please test your inflatable prior to the race.  A good, regular PFD will have handy pockets in front and be comfortable.  It will also save your life. 

5. Navigation Lights:  Required on all boats.  Red/green on bow.  White on stern.  These are perfect and are carried by one of our awesome sponsors!  https://somebeachoutfitters.com/shop/page/3/  They run for 100 hours on a single battery.  Can be attached simply with velcro to any boat.  Use black tape to tape off the portion that shines towards the paddler.  Make sure you are visible from 360 degrees.  There should be no angle where fewer than two lights are visible.  Set them to be steady on.. not blinking. 

6. Strong Flashlight:  A strong flashlight in your boat is essential at night.  You can use it to shine up ahead and see what that noise is.  Or to just turn on inside your kayak turning the whole boat into a glow stick if you're worried that fisherman can't see you.  Or to signal a safety boat if you're pulled over and need help.

7. Rain gear/extra clothes:  Assume you will either get rained on or otherwise cold at night.  The steady drain of energy and calories can bite you at night and you can start to shiver.  Simply putting on a rain shell under your PFD can reverse this immediately.  Also, every boat must carry a foil "space" blanket per paddler for emergency warming. 

8. Cell phone:  Every boat must have at least one functional cell phone an a means of keeping it charged.  This is your lifeline.  Figure out how to keep it dry and charged aboard your boat.

9. Secure all gear:  What happens if you flip over?  What will you lose in the dark?  Can you get back in your boat?  What's your plan?

10. Duct Tape: Fix your paddle.  Fix a small hole in your boat.  Tape up your hands. For boat fixes consider taking it up a notch with having a stash of waterproof Flex Tape - https://flexsealproducts.com/products/flex-tape

11. Bring a lighter.  Almost no weight penalty.  Can start a fire.  Your ancestors would be so jealous.

12. Some kind of footwear:  Many folks end up barefoot and that's fine.  But if you have to walk out of a situation it might be hundreds of yards to a road and then 5 miles until you find a house.  Some sort of shoes stashed somewhere on your boat is important. 

13.  A whistle is required equipment per our insurance.  Attach to your pfd.  This can help us find you in the dark.

14.  While we're attaching things to your PFD, a small button flashlight or other way to signal is important.  Imagine separation from boat in the dark and you've swam to shore.  All you have is what's on your PFD.  So you've got a whistle and the flashlight or a chemical light to get the attention of a passing safety boat or fellow paddler. 

15. Bring some cash:  Especially important for the unsupported paddler.  We have been able to get food vendors at every checkpoint and even some non checkpoints.  These are usually local civic groups or boy scout troops raising money.  You can eat pretty good at one of these food stands for $5-$10.  Here are the places that we have food organized:

Franklin Island
Cooper's Landing
Jefferson City
Finish Line

Please support these fine folks.  If they don't make any money, they won't come back.  Some of these same boy scout troops have been serving pancakes or burgers to paddlers for 13+ years.  Some of these scouts weren't even born when we did the first MR340.  Help them out if you can. 

In a pinch, if you're out of food or water, ask a safety boat.  There is no penalty for getting a drink from a safety boat.  They will share what they have.

16. Plan with ground crew now:  Sit down and look at a map and start coming up with plan A, B and C for days 1, 2, 3 and 4.  Nobody sticks to plan A but you have to have one so you can throw it away.  Your plan A will be where you optimally will meet, what you will want to eat at each stop, etc.  If your crew is virtual, make sure you develop a plan like "I will text you at every stop and will tell you what my estimated time is at the next stop"  A good ground crew will be keeping tabs on the weather for you... and also any news about barges, etc.  Here's a nice little planning map put together by Steve Schnarr of River Relief!  https://rivermiles.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/mr340checkpointmapmatrix2021.p

17. Watch the weather:  If storms are possible, grab what you might need from ground crew.  Do you need a small tent?  Do you need extra clothes?  Is it smarter to wait at a checkpoint and catch some sleep?  If you are paddling and see distant lightning, start thinking about where you will pull off.  Once a storm unleashes with wind, whitecaps, lightning and pouring rain, it's too late to pull off...you're fighting to just keep the boat upright.  Better to be a half hour early pulling off than a half minute late.

18. DON'T Paddle In FOG:  There are spots along the course that almost always fog up every year.  It doesn't matter what fancy equipment you have or what GPS... fog is dangerous.  Your GPS doesn't know if there's a barge or a dredge dead ahead.  It's not worth it.  Budget time for fog.  If you start seeing the little wisps of fog dancing on the water, it's time to pull over.  Pull out your foil blanket and get some sleep!

19. Make sure your boat is visible if on shore:  If you pull over to sleep, please don't pull your boat up into the trees.  Leave it where a safety boat can see it from the river.  This is especially true at the back of the pack where the sweep boat is making sure no boat gets left behind.  At night, go ahead and leave your nav lights on if possible. 

20.  Thumbs Up:  If a safety boat is checking on you when pulled over or just drifting, they may just issue you a thumbs up.  This is actually a question from them...Are you good?  We're looking for you to return the thumbs up.  This is instead of getting close enough to yell "Are you good?"  99% of the time, ya good.  But sometimes there's a problem.  If you need us, just wave your arms which means we need to talk. 

21. Proceed as the way opens: There will be roadblocks that stop you and there will be opportunities for easy miles.  Don't beat you head against a wall but also, don't turn down the gifts that will come.  If your plan A was to sleep on night 2 from midnight to 5am, but you're feeling great at midnight and the moon is beautiful and you're with a good group of people...keep going!  By the same token if your plan was to paddle night 2 but there's rain and thunder, climb in the tent and let the beautiful sleep wash over you.  It will pay off later.

22. Use the river to stay cool: Heat stroke knocks folks out every year.  Especially day 1.  It will very possibly be in the mid to upper 90s with brutal heat indexes.  BUT, the water in the river will be around 80 degrees.  Dip your hat in it.  Dip your sponge in it.  Use it to help your body stay ahead of things.  At a checkpoint or a sandbar or some SAFE shallow spot with your PFD on, squat in the water up to your neck and really get a reboot. 

23. Stick with a group:  Groups always move faster.  And the miles go easier.  If you latch on with a group of two or three boats you can keep everyone safer and get to St. Charles faster.  AND your ground crews end up travelling together and looking out for each other. 

24. Avoid Death by 1000 Cuts:  For most, there is no one big moment that ends their race.  It's a combination of things that knocks them out.  Sun and heat leads to not drinking enough leads to not eating enough leads to feeling sick leads to dropping out...  Or a bad hand blister leads to over using the other hand leads to a sore shoulder leads to leaning awkwardly leads to lower back tightening leads to dropping out.  Choose your own disaster.  Pay attention to your body and put out those small fires before they become out of control. 

25. How Do You Eat An Elephant?  One bite at a time.  340 miles is a looooong way.  Missouri is a big state and the river is crooked.  But you're not doing it all at once.  You're doing it in 30-50 mile bites.  You're doing it one river bend at a time.  One song at a time.  Sometimes one stroke at a time.  Your boat is this little universe that you control.  It's all you have to worry about.  She'll take care of you.  Just keep her pointed in the right direction and keep her moving.  Keep your body fed, watered and protected.  Eventually, you've gone more miles than you have left to go.  Every 3.4 miles is 1% of the course.  Can you paddle 3.4 miles?  Of course you can.  3.4 miles is nothing.  How about 34 miles?  That's 10% of the course.  You'll do that in the first handful of hours.  There will be lots of small victories that will add up fast.  The veterans will tell you, this is mostly a mental event.  Your brain will tell you to quit more than once.  But your brain is just... you.  You get to decide what it tells you.  You can say to yourself, out loud, I am doing this... I don't get tired... I feel great... I can't believe how good I feel... This is so much better than being at work... I am loving this... Sounds corny, I know... but ask anyone who routinely does ultra distance events... it's proven medicine.  Consider the alternative self talk... This sucks... I can't do this... I hate this... what am I doing out here... how did I think I could finish this... That person, saying those things, is never going to finish.  Yep, you'll be hurting.  But you don't have to amplify that pain.  You don't have to give it a voice. 

67% of folks who start at Kaw Point end up finishing the MR340.  Real things happen out there.  Folks get stomach issues.  Elbows swell up.  Boats get cracked.  This can happen to anyone.  No shame in that.  You lined up and went for it.  Don't push yourself to an ambulance ride.  If your arm is swollen or you can't keep food down it's time to call it.  You're smart and you'll know if that time comes. 

If you're pulling out of the race you must notify race officials!  Tell safety boat or use the DNF feature on the RaceOwl app. 

26. FAMILIARIZE yourself with RACEOWL
RaceOwl is the easy to use tracking website and app system developed and maintained by Jon Marble, a multi-year MR340 Veteran.  With it, you can do all sorts of things and your friends and family can watch your progress.  Here's some instructions from Jon about how to familiarize yourself with the app for tracking and checking in at checkpoints.

RaceOwl provides the safety and status communication system used during the MR340. Some of its features:

·        Broadcast text messages update racers and ground crew on hazards such as barge traffic and incoming weather 

·        Race volunteers monitor the text messaging system to respond to questions and issues 24 hours a day while the race is underway   

·        Checkpoint check-in and check-out is accomplished by use of a RaceOwl app or text messages

·        The RaceOwl website provides up-to-the-minute leaderboard status

·        Racer locations are collected and presented to race watchers on a single website map page

·        Racer split times and estimated checkpoint/paddle stop arrival times are available to ground crews

So you can learn more about how to use the RaceOwl system, we’ve created a series of training materials and opportunities:

1.      Review the training documents available on RaceOwl.com. (http://raceowl.com/Home/Training)

2.      Participate in events that use the RaceOwl system. For example: the Freedom race (June 26) or the MR340 practice event - http://www.raceowl.com/MR3402021Practice  (going on now)

3.      Follow the MR340 Facebook page and Rivermiles Forum to learn about upcoming Zoom training meeting(s) and/or webinars.

It is essential that you take time NOW to familiarize yourself and your ground crew with the RaceOwl system.  If you wait until the 340 check-in to start thinking about a communication strategy, then you are going to have issues.

The following are some common strategies used by racers to check in/out and to be tracked down the river for family and friends.

1. ‘Checkpoint plus Tracking’:  (BEST CHOICE)

This maximizes the cool utility of the RaceOwl App and your friends and family (and ground crew) will see you moving down the river. 
You perform the required checkpoint status updates as required by the race and you provide periodic position updates to RaceOwl (aka position pings). RaceOwl then tracks and reports your current position.

This strategy is strongly encouraged because:

·        Safety crews have an approximate current location of each racer

·        Ground crews can know when to expect you at the next checkpoint or paddlestop.

·        Spectators can enjoy tracking racers during the event.

There are two ways to track your position during the race:

·        Use a satellite tracker, such as Garmin InReach or SPOT Tracker. The benefit of using a satellite tracker is that you will have continuous connectivity over the entire race course. However, satellite trackers can be very costly. RaceOwl requires the tracker ID’s be registered with the RaceOwl website. Instructions for registration are included in the RaceOwl training material on the website. Please register your device as soon as possible after the MR340 becomes available on RaceOwl in early July.

·        Use the RaceOwl app for iOS or Android. The RaceOwl app offers the ability to both track the racer and handle the required checkpoint logging. The apps will not be able to send your position when there is no cell service. During these times, the app will save your position pings and then send when service becomes available again. In the newer phones, position pings have minimal impact on battery usage. However, you will still need to have some sort of recharge capability.  Consider a 20k mah charging brick and charge your phone in a shaded dry area (e.g. a water proof electronics box).

2. The NON-Tracking, Check IN/Out at checkpoints strategy: (simple, no tracking, meets checkpoint requirements)

This means you have downloaded a RaceOwl app and you (or your ground crew) check in/out/dnf at checkpoints as you enter or exit.  The apps are available for iOS or android:

·        https://apps.apple.com/us/app/raceowl/id1095191030

·        https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.RaceOwl

Make sure if you have an older version that you update to the latest version for important updates and bug fixes.

There is also an older SMS (text based) version of the checkpoint app available for iOS and Android here:

·        https://apps.apple.com/us/app/checkpointtexter/id1006498694

·        https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.CheckPointTexter

The older version is no longer maintained and it is missing some of the ‘ease of use’ features from RaceOwl. It is recommended as a backup app if the more advanced version fails for whatever reason.  But it does work and will format the text for the system.  It is simple and SMS based (text based) so it will work in areas when you do not have data.

If you do not have a smart phone you can use your flip phone to text in your checkpoint status to the RaceOwl text in number provided at the safety meeting. The RaceOwl system needs the message formed in a specific way to automatically recognize your status. That format is: ‘[boat number] [checkpoint] [Day] [Time] [status]’. Where status can be in, out, or dnf (did not finish).  An example is: ‘1234 Waverly Tues 4:30PM in’ This strategy is not recommended. This satisfies minimum safety requirements. But, as you grow tired and everything hurts, typing a text becomes exceedingly difficult. Many of the texts will become unreadable by the automated system. In that case, the texts are forwarded to the volunteers. Text message interpretation provides some comic relief but can lead to inaccuracies and un-necessary distractions from other safety critical situations.  So ideally, you'll use one of the free RaceOwl apps to format the text for you on a smart phone.  But if the flip is all you have, that will work.  And you can keep resending the same message and just change the checkpoint and time so that the format stays intact.

If you have any questions, contact RaceOwl at RaceOwl.Info@gmail.com

Remember, your first check in from the RaceOwl app on your phone happens the day before the race at Kaw Point Park between noon and 8pm.  Please come with the app on your phone and if you have questions we can help answer them there.  Once you get that first check in under your belt, the next one isn't until the next day at Waverly.  We'll iron out the questions for you if any.  But if you download the app and play with it a little, you'll catch on quickly.

Download some of the above choices and start familiarizing yourself now.  It sounds daunting if you've never used any of them.  But by playing with them now you'll find that you quickly "get it" and can easily grasp the concept.  And we're here if you have questions!  And there will also be volunteers and safety boats at the ramps to help. 

That's a bunch of stuff to digest for now.  We'll check back in soon with the next dispatch. 

See you July 19th at Kaw Point Park!!

The Race Team

« Last Edit: 06/11/21 at 14:42:43 by N/A »  
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Reply #3 - 06/21/21 at 19:37:04
Scott Mansker   Ex Member

Dispatch Number 4


One month from right now we'll be wrapping up the Monday night mandatory sign in at Kaw Point Park!  That will be Monday, July 19 from noon to 8pm.  Drop in anytime.  Your process should take about a half hour from waiver signing to tshirt pickup.  But there will be other fun things to distract you like SPONSOR TENTS and MERCH TABLES to support Missouri River Relief.  Oh, and the Missouri River will be there with special guest the Kansas River.  As well as lots of cool canoes and kayaks and SUPS all laid out for the race. 

Race staff and volunteers will guide you through and answer questions.  And before you leave, you'll be asked to perform your first Check In of the race.  And volunteers will be there to make sure you did it right and you don't have any questions. 

And you can, if you'd like, leave your boat there for the next day.  Make sure it's off the trail and out of the way and there is no gear, paddles, etc. 

When you leave Kaw Point, you'll feel like you're ready!  And you can, hopefully, get some rest the night before the race.

Here are the latest places we know will have food/beverages for sale by non profits.  Please support them when you can! 

Lexington - Boy Scouts
Waverly - Boy Scouts at both ramps
Miami - Friends of Miami!
Glasgow - Fresh On The Go!
Franklin Island - Trevor Tilton Mortgage (complimentary)
Cooper's Landing - Cooper's Crew
Jeff City - Boy Scout Troop
Hermann - Boy Scout Troop
Klondike - Nature Conservancy
Finish Line - Lewis and Clark Boathouse

Speaking of the finish line!  This year will have a very festive vibe with Terrain Magazine putting on an awards concert Friday night. 

All participants will receive medals (and trophies if top 3) when they finish.  But Friday night the top 3 for each division will be recognized between songs on a stage at the finish line.  So if you're able to stick around as a top 3 finisher, we'd love to have you up on stage with your hardware!  The band will start at about 630 pm Friday night and the first awards break will be at 715.  There will be 4 awards breaks to get all the divisions covered and then the Governor's Cup presentation.  Final boats should land at the finish line around 9pm. 

The boathouse will have food for sale as well as their famous Vodka Lemonades and Margaritas.  Schlafly will be pouring the beer!

So plan to stick around and celebrate!

But first things first!  Let's get you to that finish line.

Many of you are sweating the first cutoff time.  Kaw Point to Waverly is 74 miles  and will require an average speed of 5.69mph for solos (7am start) and 6.17mph for tandems who will start at 8am. 

First, I'll remind all the MR340 history buffs out there that for the first 5 years or so of the race, this is the exact amount of time we allowed solos.  We used to start everyone at 8am and the cutoff was 9am.  It was only after the race grew past 300 boats that we started doing the 7am start which gave solos a bit more time.  So now, we're just taking that hour back. 

It's really tandem boats that have lost an hour.  But tandems are faster, generally, and can carry more stuff and so can make the 74 miles with no stops if that's their strategy and maintain the needed speed. 

Last year only one boat was eliminated by this cutoff time.  It was a 4 person boat.  No solos were eliminated. 

That said the water was fairly high and the temperatures were fairly low.  It was nearly ideal conditions for paddling 74 miles.  So this year we may have a few more eliminations.  But this is certainly a manageable pace if you plan and execute.  Some advice follows!

1. Have a clean start at Kaw Point. 
This doesn't necessarily mean a super fast adrenaline spewing start.  This means a cleeeaaannn start with no tipping over or other silly catastrophes.  Choose a line that doesn't have you clanging around the pack at the confluence and gets you off the Kaw and onto the fast Missouri nice and smooth. 

2. Boat Trimmed and Efficient
Make sure your two or more person boat is trimmed for speed.  Make sure you're traveling as light as possible for your planned stops before Waverly (if any).  Make sure you're not dragging drink tubes or ropes or whatever.  You'll also want to account for possible headwind.  So minimize wind drag.  Probably not a good idea to have a huge college flag waving in the wind at the back of the boat.  Or a giant umbrella hat.

3. Ride the fast water
If you're using one of the MarbleWare apps like ProPaddler or RaceOwl with the river mapping, the fast water line is drawn for you on your screen!  But it's pretty easy to figure out.  Avoid slow water behind wing dikes or on the inside of bends.  And if you're hugging the shore too close the water is slower there.  Stay in the fast water as much as possible.

4. Draft other other boats.
The only drafting rule on the MR340 is you can't draft motorized vessels or vessels not competing in the race.  But you can draft each other!  And there will be such a pack of boats in that first 74 miles that you'd have a hard time not drafting.  Drafting is riding the stern wake, or even the wake coming off the bow of another boat.  Have you watched geese migrating?  Same idea.  The one in front is doing the hardest job.  The ones in back are having the easiest time.  What you'll generally see form as we get out of the bridges just downstream of the start, is a conga line of boats form up.  There will be passing as groups break off to find a faster slot further up the line, but for the most part it becomes a series of lines or pods of racers staying bow to stern or creating V formations like geese and staying as fast and efficient as possible.  This is just the solo boats!  Soon the big, heavy tandems and larger boats will start and begin to catch the solo pack.  Then you'll see solos hopping behind these boats and looking for a little more efficient ride. 

Drafting doesn't always mean you're trying to go faster.  It may mean you're trying to go the same speed you always paddle but doing a little less work.  This will add up over those 74 miles.  So maybe the 74 miles will only "feel" like 64 miles.  Which means you'll have a little kick at the end if you need it. 

5. One Efficient Stop (or less)
If you're a fast racer in a skinny boat, you're likely going to need to stop for supplies somewhere between Kaw Point and Waverly.  If you're in a big aluminum canoe with your buddy, you may be able to efficiently carry what you need to make zero stops point to point.  It all depends on your boat and your strategy.  You probably don't want to overload your efficient hull with a ton of weight.  Makes more sense to stop somewhere and meet your ground crew for fresh stuff.  But if your boat is already heavy and not exactly sleek, maybe it makes more sense to carry the liquids and food you need to make skip stops and just milk that average speed.  I can't tell you where you fall on the spectrum.  That's where training and practice come in.  But if you have a ground crew, you can direct them to be at various ramps "in case" and maybe you don't need them.  You can also dump water overboard if you figure out halfway to Waverly that you brought way too much.  But if you do stop, be efficient.  You're going zero mph.  That kills your average speed pretty quickly.  So get a fast exchange from ground crew.  Being your first stop you should have it planned out ahead of time.  We will need these jugs and this bag of food.  We will hand you our empty jugs and trash....then we're gone!  Back in the current.  Eating in the current.  Peeing while out in the current.  Doing everything you can in a boat that is moving downstream. 

Some stops between Kaw Point and Waverly:
La Benite
Cooley Lake
Ft. Osage

Research these and see what makes sense.  Cooley Lake is the only one on the north side of the river.  The rest are on the south side and fairly easy for your ground crew to leapfrog ahead of you if you need something. 

Another good idea is to make sure your ground crew has a distinctive colored shirt or flag on this first day so that you can spot them at these ramps in a crowd. 

Know your mileage for these ramps so you can do the math on speed.  For example, La Benite is about 15 miles into your 74-mile leg.  So about 20% of the way to Waverly.  You've hopefully used less than 20% of your allotted time.  You should be able to do a quick calculation and see if you're over the mph minimum.  If not you better turn it up.  Because the Reaper is already ahead of you.

The Reaper will creeping along at exactly the pace that the 8am tandem start would have to run in order to just barely make it to Waverly on time.  So for solos, the Reaper won't even have left Kaw Point for an entire HOUR after you've been gone.  You should never see the Reaper if you're a solo!  You get a one-hour head start on her.

The slowest tandems will be seeing the Reaper behind them pretty early on but as they get in a groove and stay efficient they will gain ground on the Reaper.  But she can catch and pass you at a ramp if you linger. 

If the Reaper is ahead of you, you are not out.  Not until she beats you to Waverly.  So catch her and pass her back. 

6. Paddle in Sync 
This only applies to tandem or larger boats, but the most efficient stroke is one where you and your partner are synched up.  The bow sets the pace and the others match up.  Either position can call the switches.  And you can ask the bow to slow down or speed up.  But hopefully you've practiced enough to know the stroke rate that works.  Some teams will use music that has certain beats per minute.  (you can google songs that fit your speed) and they'll play those songs or sing those songs!  But you will know, or quickly learn, your boat's most efficient speed.  It doesn't do any good to try to go faster than this quiet glide.  The quiet glide is what you want.  Without a big noisy bow wake... just a fast, quiet speed that you can do all day and night. 

7. Minimize paddle on the lap syndrome.
This goes for solos and tandems.  And we see it a whole lot at the back of the race.  4 strokes then the paddle is down and your messing with your gps.  3 more strokes and your fiddling with your music.  4 strokes and you're cleaning your sunglasses. 

Look, I get it!  It's hard!  But you can't set the paddle down on the way to Waverly!  Keep her moving!  If you beat the Reaper to Waverly, you WIN!  You'll probably never see the Reaper again!  So dig in and get that 74 miles behind you.  Find that mental grit that gets you there.  Imagine there's a long rope from Kaw Point to Waverly and each stroke is you reaching out and grabbing that rope and pulling Waverly closer to you.  You stop pulling that rope, it's not going to happen. 

8. Talk to yourself.

Stay positive.  Say things like, "I got this."  "This is easy!"  "I feel great"  "I can do this all day"  Say these things out loud!  Play some music that motivates you.  Stay with a group that is smiling and laughing and paddling.  Veterans of the race will tell you... it's 90% a mental game out there.  Maybe more.  If you're spending all of the first day saying how much it sucks and maybe I should quit.... well....?


Last year due to COVID we did the safety training online.  It worked great!  You can watch it at your leisure.  The video will be ready at the two-week mark and will come to you via email.  We like to wait until the two-week mark because then we have a pretty good idea about things like river levels and bridge construction, etc.  So look for it in a couple of weeks!

You are REQUIRED to watch this!  And we will be validating this based on your email account.  Chris Luedke, the man behind the 340Paddler Youtube channel will be producing and narrating the video.  Coming soon!


The online fundraising continues!  Click here to see all the great fundraising for River Relief that has happened so far: 
https://rivermiles.com/fundraising/  It might take a second to load the paddlers and the amounts raised! 

You can keep fundraising!  There are tiers of prizes.  Everyone has a personal fundraising page sent to you via email when you signed up.  If you're eligible for prizes like the sweatshirt, hats etc, we'll have those bagged for you at the registration table at Kaw Point.  If you've earned a bigger prize like a Llama Rack, they will have a sponsor tent at Kaw Point and can finalize arrangements there for pickup! 


Click here to review the official roster: http://www.rivermiles.com/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1605122180/0#0
Use CTRL-F to find your name or just hunt for it.  Does everything look right?  Has your partner signed up yet?  Is your boat number valid?  It's time to get this stuff figured out! 

We will be in touch a few more times via email in the next 4 weeks.  If you have any questions, we are happy to help.  scott@rivermiles.com  Thanks and we will see you soon at Kaw Point Park!

The MR340 Team

« Last Edit: 06/23/21 at 10:56:44 by N/A »  
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Reply #4 - 07/10/21 at 21:05:37
rivertrash   Ex Member


Hello MR340 family!

The days have narrowed to just a few.  Time to pull all those threads together into a rope and start pulling for St. Charles. 

We've addressed so many details in previous dispatches, you should definitely go back through and read them to make sure you've checked your boxes.  I go through both some new and old stuff here, but certainly not everything. 

Also, it's really important that your ground crew also reads these dispatches. There's a lot of stuff in here that is directed to them. They play such an important role in this race and there's a lot for them to know!

You are required to watch it and you're responsible for all the information within.  Here's the link if you've misplaced it.  www.rivermiles.com/safety

For "nickname" please put your boat number and last name.  If you're not racing but just curious, you can put "ground crew" or "just curious". 

Thanks again to Chris Luedke for creating this for the second year in a row.  It is very well done and much appreciated!  Thank Chris when you see him out on the river IF you can catch him.

July 19th, Kaw Point Park, noon to 8pm.

If you arrive early, great!  We need help setting everything up! 

Be sure to print and fill out and bring this waiver with you.  Click here - https://rivermiles.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/2021-MR340-Waiver.pdf

This is the second year for the outdoor Check-in.  We're hoping to be lucky again with the weather.  We’ll also be joined by several of our sponsors who will have booths with info, equipment, some great raffles and more.

The entire Check-In process, start to finish, should only take you about 10 minutes.  You'll move station to station, get your shirt and you'll finish by performing your first "Check IN" of the race at the RaceOwl table.  So be sure to have your phone there with whatever app you prefer to use.  Here are the two easiest and most used:

  • MR340 CheckPoint Texter (formats texts for perfect check-ins.  Free app)

  • RaceOwl  (formats texts for perfect check-ins AND gives you access to all the race data as the race is happening.  Free app)

Another cool app for the race is MR340 ProPaddler.  This costs a few bucks but includes a map that makes staying in the channel and night paddling a breeze.  It can also be rigged for automatic check in as you pass checkpoints.  But still a good idea to have one of the other apps installed as well as a backup. 

You can practice using these apps now if you have them.  But once you check-in at Kaw Point it will be pretty easy to do it again the next day at Waverly. 

Again, here are the Mandatory Checkpoints and cutoff times -

Kaw Point Park anytime between noon and 8pm, a volunteer will watch you perform your first check in successfully.

Waverly, mile 293.5 (74 miles)  8pm Tuesday.

Glasgow, mile 226 (68 miles) 4pm Wednesday

Jefferson City, mile 144  (82 miles)  4pm Thursday

Hermann, mile 88 (56 miles) 8am Friday
Klondike, mile 56 (42 miles) 4pm Friday
Finish Line, mile 29 (27 miles) 9pm Friday (volunteers will check everyone in here)

These are the only places you will check-in.  But there are many other access points where you might choose to meet your ground crew or take a break.

What you should do now, is research with your ground crew where these places are so you're both on the same page about what options lie ahead as you're leaving a ramp. 

Before the race you pretty much just need to know where you plan to connect on day 1.  The rest you can figure out later.  But leaving Kaw Point, have a plan where you want to meet day 1.  You'll probably want to meet at least twice between Kaw Point and Glasgow.  So you might choose Lexington and Miami.  Or Napoleon and Waverly.  Or Lexington and Waverly. 

It really depends on your strategy and what portion of that 140 mile trip from Kaw Point to Glasgow you will run in daylight vs. night.  It also depends if your ground crew is physical or virtual.  If you don't have a ground crew meeting you, you'll have to stop for food and drink at ramps that will be selling it. 

Between Kaw Point and Glasgow, these will have food:
Waverly (both ramps)

So plan accordingly.  But with a ground crew, you can take advantage of some of the ramps before Lexington:
La Benite
Cooley Lake
Ft. Osage

Remember that even if you choose not to stop at Waverly, you MUST check in as you pass the ramp there.  You can do it from your boat or your ground crew can do it from shore if they are 100% sure they see you.  This is the same for all checkpoints, all the way to St. Charles.

This will be the biggest 340 ever by about 50 boats.  So Kaw Point will be very crowded.  Last year several people were turned away because the parking was full.  This will probably happen again.  So plan ahead. 

We probably have about 500 parking spaces available total.  That's one per boat!  But it never works out that way.  Some spots go unused due to poor parking.  Some folks have trailers or RVS that take up multiple spaces.  Fire department is there, volunteers are there, sponsors are there, etc.  So some of you won't make the cut.  So think ahead and nobody is unprepared.

First, most folks will leave their boats at Kaw Point during registration.  I'd say about 80% do this.  So there will be close to 400 boats there.  Please don't leave electronics, paddles, etc.  Just the boat.  And this is at your own risk because anything is possible including accidental damage from someone tripping, etc.  But I'm unaware of any past problems.  We will be there all night working and keeping an eye on the place.  And the park closes at 10pm to the public.  So access will be limited.

Second, arrive early.  If you are part of the 7am start, consider arriving at 5am.  You'll likely be assured of a spot and it will be one less thing to worry about. 

Third, be prepared to walk.  Not everyone will get primo parking.  Some of the spots are over a quarter of a mile away from the entrance.  You'll be glad your boat is already in there.  All you need is your paddle and whatever load out you are starting with.  This is where your ground crew collapsible wagon will come in handy.  And your ground crew will be making long walks to boat ramps for day 1 and day 2 until the crowding dies down so this is a good chance to test the walking shoes.

Fourth, please listen and cooperate with our VOLUNTEER parking attendants.  Who have gotten up at 330am to help this event succeed.  If they give you directions, please say "thank you ma'am" and do what she says!

Fifth, no trailers or rvs will be allowed in the park on Tuesday, the morning of the race.  I take that back.  There's room for about 20 trailers or RVs to park in a very few designated spots inside the park.  But once those are full, all trailers and RVs will be parked along the long curb that stretches from the stoplight to the floodwall entrance.  Once this parking is full, trailers and RVs will be looped around and back out to the stoplight.  THEN, you can park anywhere there is legal parking up by the hotel. 

There's a large public lot across from the Hilton Garden Inn at 5th and Minnesota where many of you are staying.  There are also street parking spots along many of the streets in the area.  AND there's a trail that runs from that parking right into the park.  Roughly at 4th and Armstrong is where the trail picks up.  AND there's a small lot at the head of this trail that holds about 20 cars. 

SO if you're dead set on getting a trailer or RV down near the park, you better get there extremely early.  BUT I would avoid bringing that mess into the parking chaos.  Better to park at the hotel lot (across from the hotel) and walk in.

SO you have many, many options for getting your human body and the gear you need down to Kaw Point and onto the water.

If you're staying in the hotel and you're an 8am start, I would seriously consider just walking down.  The 7am crowd will take up most of the room.  Traffic will already be backed up.  You'll be stressed and nervous already and the last thing you want to do is fight traffic and possibly just end up getting looped back to find parking near the hotel. 

But imagine just strolling down the sidewalk, pulling a small wagon with your stuff.  Sipping some hotel coffee.  Your ground crew vehicle safe up in the hotel parking lot.  You stroll in, load your boat, laugh at the stressed out people who are stuck on Fairfax Trafficway waiting in line.  You and your partner pick up your boat and jump in line at the ramp, easy as can be.  Your ground crew can now find a good place to watch the start.  Then leisurely stroll back up the trail.  Heck, you've still got the room until 11am.  They can take a nap before they have to hit the highway and meet you 6-7 hours later. 

AND, even if you aren't staying in the hotel, you can still park in that public lot across the street and enjoy the walk.  It's downhill! It's 15 minutes.  You'll beat all the people driving. 

GOOGLE the intersection of 5th and Armstrong Avenue in Kansas City, KS.  To the west, you'll see the large parking area around the Merc Co-op grocery store.  To the east, at 4th and Armstrong, you'll see the start of the Riverfront Heritage Trail.  You got this.

Is 8pm.  On the dot.  The Reaper will pass the upstream ramp at 8pm precisely.  The crew of the Reaper will have already spoken with every boat that is behind them as they passed them in the previous hours.  They will have warned you that you need to speed up in order to make the cutoff.  They will have slowly faded into the distance.   At first, there was denial.  Then, slowly, acceptance.  You've notified your ground crew that you will unlikely be able to catch back up and beat the Reaper.  The unrelenting, but very slow, Reaper.

Do whatever you can to stay ahead.  It's much easier to stay ahead of the Reaper than it is to catch back up.  Keep your stop short between Kaw Point and Waverly.  Keep in the fast water.  Keep your paddle wet.  You will make it.  This is the hardest one. 

By my calculations, I've been involved in about 50 MR340 "nights" over the years.  For those of you questioning my math, remember, back in the 100 hour days, we had 4 nights out there.

Anyway, 50 nights, give or take.  Of those 50, I'd estimate I dealt with fog maybe a total of 8-10  nights?   So 15-20% of the nights.  And some of those were light and never fully socked in.  And a few were brutally thick and we pulled over for a few hours and waited it out.  Paddling in the fog is very unwise. Our safety boats will not be moving in thick fog. But there might be barges moving or local fishermen checking their trotlines. They will be unable to see you. Even staying within sight of the bank can be dangerous as there can be barges tied up on the bank you cannot see. By the time you see them you are cruising at 6 mph right into their raked bow. If there’s fog, just pull over and take that opportunity to rest.

Similar story with storms.  There have been some humdingers.  But thankfully rare.  The big ones?  I can only think of 4 that I would describe as significant, memorable events.  4 in 15 years.

But we had lots of warning with all 4.  A good hour at least of lightning flashing on the horizon before it hit.  A whole day of weather reports saying that thunderstorms were likely that night.  We knew it was coming and most of us were off the water for it. 

Be weather aware.  Have your ground crew update you on the expected weather.  Ask the safety boats at a ramp if they know the weather for that night.  Always carry enough stuff as you leave a ramp at sunset that you could spend the night out in the wild if you had to because of fog or other weather.  Have the means to start a fire if you're wet and cold and shivering.  Have a rain jacket.  Some dry clothes.  A simple tarp could be the difference between a miserable night and a decent one. 

Required.  Period.  Must be worn as designed.  Inflatables qualify but I've seen them fail to deploy when tested.  Make sure they work and you know how to use them.  Our safety boats are instructed to ask you to put on a PFD if they see you without one and to record the time and your boat number and text it to race officials.  If we see a pattern of more than one instance sent by a safety boat there will be a time penalty imposed on the boat.  If officials deem it was intentional flouting of the rule then a disqualification will be imposed. 

It's part of our Coast Guard permit.  It's part of our insurance requirements.  The ongoing success of the race depends on all of us wearing our PFD.  Thank you for doing it!  If you are wearing a belt or inflatable PFD that our safety boats can’t see, they will likely ask you about it several times. Please be patient and understanding!

The latest food sources:
Waverly (both ramps)
Franklin Island (this access is currently closed to cars due to flood damage but we are hoping it will be open. Updates to follow.)
Cooper's Landing
Jefferson City

This list is important for those without a physical ground crew.  Less so for ground crewed racers.  Please remember, if you run out of liquids between checkpoints you can absolutely flag down a safety boat and borrow from them.  Or, in an emergency, borrow from a fellow paddler. 

1.      Ground Crews – if you are going to Columbia before heading to Cooper’s Landing, there is a road closure at the intersection of Route K and Old Plank Road that will require a detour.

Click here for a PDF that explains the recommended detour. https://rivermiles.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/MR340-2021-Road-Closure-Map-to...

If you are going straight to Cooper’s Landing from Midway or through Huntsdale or McBaine, there is an easy and obvious detour.

...was destroyed by flooding in 2019.  It is still destroyed.  You cannot get in there by car.  However, there is a boat ramp there.  So, we place a safety boat there on night one to split up the lonely miles between Miami (mm263) and Glasgow (mm226)  Dalton is nestled sweetly in between about mm239.

It is not pretty.  But if you are on that leg in the night and need someplace to exit the river because of fog or weather or you just want to hear a friendly voice, there will be a boat there.  Now, they may get deployed to go help someone and so they might be gone... but they will be there to start the night.  And even if they aren't there, the ramp will be there.  And maybe a few paddlers.  I think last year they had about 5 customers stop and visit.

Especially important from KC to Glasgow when we're pretty clumped up... we have to manage traffic on the ramp.  There is a steady stream of boats trying to land at Waverly, Miami and Glasgow... So be quick to exit your boat and then carry it up the ramp so the next boat can land.  Once you're up and out of the way you can work on your boat, resupply etc. 

Ramps also need to be open for access by local recreational boaters and, most importantly, emergency response teams. We share the river and ramps with lots of other people, many of which consider their local ramp to be their backyard. We can help build goodwill amongst the river community by being respectful and not hogging the ramp. We know…you’re exhausted, you think you’ll only stop for five minutes or whatever… but there’s too many of us to leave boats in the middle of the ramp or blocking the trailer back-in lanes.

This area is unique in that the parking lot is not overlooking the river but is set back a bit.  Please park in the lot and carry what you need to the park.  Cars cannot drive up to the ramp.  The ramp approach is for fishermen to turn around and back down the ramp.  We cannot block this.  Nor can we block with vehicles or canoes, any access by folks trying to launch boats.  This might sound confusing.  Don't worry about it.  It's just a common sense thing once you're out there. Park in marked parking areas or along the road on the way in leaving space for passing.  Don't clog roads that lead to the ramp.  Walk from marked parking spots.

You'll receive medals or trophies from volunteers as you land.  There will be beer, margaritas and food for sale as a fundraiser on Thursday AND Friday. There will be a celebration concert on Friday evening with live music and a recognition of all trophy winners during the concert.  If you can stay for that, great!  If you have to get back home we understand.  But it will be a blast.  Special thanks to Terrain Magazine, Big Muddy Adventures, Schlafly Brewing and The Lewis and Clark Boathouse for throwing this bash.

Friday's festivities will start at 6pm and go until 9pm. Trophy recognitions will start at 7 pm.

We have two webinars coming up with some last-minute details:

Safety Webinar with Scott Mansker and Steve Schnarr, Monday July 12 at 6:30 pm (CST) – This is not a substitute for the MANDATORY safety video linked above. Register on Zoom here - https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/3016104116663/WN_BK0QCRDtR7aIdJdTpzAbog

Raceowl Webinar with Jon Marble, Wednesday, July 14 at 6:30 pm (CST) – Find out how to use the RaceOwl app and website to track racers and more. Register on Zoom here - https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/3016104116663/WN_kgxGFy73Qoq7hHhbDDv3Mg

And you can watch all the previous webinars here (and find links for streaming live on YouTube) - https://riverrelief.org/mr340-live_2021/

Let us know what questions you have as we approach!  See everyone soon!

Scott Mansker, Race Director
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Reply #5 - 07/10/21 at 23:25:39
Waterboy   Ex Member

These Webinars links do not work or exist, when I click them from within the Dispatch.

#5 - "Checkpoints and Strategy" - Monday, May 17; 6:30 p.m.

#6 - "Ground Crews Part 2: For Ground Crews by Ground Crews" - Monday, June 21; 6:30 p.m.

Also, can you confirm whether New Haven and Washington will/will not have Food this year?
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Reply #6 - 07/13/21 at 18:54:25
Scott Mansker   Ex Member

New Haven might have some bbq available near the ramp at certain hours.  There's a new BBQ place in town.  I'm not sure of their hours of operation. 

Washington does not have food right at the ramp but there are a number of places a very short walk from the ramp.

Not sure why the links aren't working.  This youtube channel has it all I believe.  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjTAGGN9ArvdwcofYeM1ZWQ

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Reply #7 - 07/14/21 at 15:31:53
gaelicfire   Ex Member

This link will work to take you to the playlist with all the Webinars:

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Reply #8 - 07/16/21 at 14:38:58
rivertrash   Ex Member

Dispatch #6

Hello Paddlers –

We are just a few days out. We know you are obsessing about if you have enough or the right gear and thinking about how your next week is going to go. We are doing the same here at Race Headquarters! Plus we’ve been obsessing about rain. More about that in a second.

This dispatch includes some of our last updates on the race and a few reminders. We do recommend that you read and re-read the previous dispatches (http://www.rivermiles.com/forum/YaBB.pl?board=Race)  as well. There’s a lot to know to do this race and those dispatches are a great source for good info. Share with your ground crews!


The river remains high but the latest river projections from Friday morning show the river staying below flood stage throughout the race course. We believe that we are in the clear. If anything does change we will spread the word quickly. No rain is currently forecast for the week of the race although that can always change and you should be prepared for rain. You can monitor all the river forecasts here - https://www.weather.gov/mbrfc/MR340support


All racers MUST check in at Kaw Point on Monday, July 19 between noon and 8pm.  You may also drop off your boat on the lower level.  No electronics or expensive stuff, please.

Be sure to have watched the safety video before arriving. https://www.rivermiles.com/safety

Save time and pre-print and sign your waiver here:  https://rivermiles.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/2021-MR340-Waiver.pdf

We will have extra waivers as well.

Parking at Kaw Point on Tuesday morning will be very tight.  NO TRAILERS or RVS will be allowed inside the park after 5am or when trailer parking is full.  There will be limited trailer/rv parking along the curb of the property leading into the park.  When that is full, all trailer/rvs will be circled around and sent to find parking back up the hill towards the hotel.  Familiarize yourself with the area of 5th and Armstrong and the parking there as well as the easy walk down to the park from there.  Read Dispatch 5 for more details on this. http://www.rivermiles.com/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1620314685/4#4

When all spots are full, all vehicles will be turned around and sent back up the hill. 


Solos start at 7 a.m. All other boats at 8 a.m.

You must be upstream of an imaginary line directly across the river from the boat ramp at race start.


These boat ramps are handy between Kaw Point and Waverly:

La Benite – MM 352.6 Pit Toilets. No Water.

Cooley Lake
– MM 341.2 No Amenities

Ft. Osage/Sibley – MM 337.2 – No Amenities. Very limited space for parking.

Napoleon – MM 328.6 - Parking at Napoleon is very limited this year. The ramp is located on Corps of Engineers property. They are doing some repairs on their parking lot and the gate onto the property will be accessible by pedestrians only. Parking in the grass in the park just upstream of the ramp will be allowed. If you very carefully park and double park 30 cars max can park there. DO NOT park on rock ballast next to train tracks. Be VERY careful around train tracks. In the past some people have parked on the side of the highway. Again, please be very careful. Napoleon will be very tight this year.

The Corps building at Napoleon will be open for people to use the bathrooms and there is water available outside.

Lexington – MM 316.4 - Pit Toilets, Food from a local boy scout troop! Parking lot is pretty big.

And here’s info on some of the remaining boat ramps.

Waverly - MM 293.5:  CHECKPOINT Two ramps – one upstream and one downstream of bridge.  Both have food/toilets.  Please be very careful around the railroad tracks! There are no gates on the railroad tracks. Cutoff time is 8pm to pass the plane of the ramp before the Reaper.

Hills Island - MM 281.5: NO VEHICLE ACCESS.   Only boats can get there.  11 miles downstream of Waverly if you need a break.  Safety boat will be there all night.

Miami - MM 262.9: Great food.  Very Crowded parking.  Expect ground crew to have to walk on gravel road to park.

Dalton Bottoms - MM 239.1:  NO ROAD ACCESS.  But a ramp and a way to get off the river and up to a flat area for rest.  We will start the night with a safety boat here.

Glasgow - MM 226.2:   CHECKPOINT Food and pit toilet right by ramp. Bathrooms with water and shower are a short walk. Town with all the amenities is a short walk.

Franklin Island - MM 195.2:  The road to Franklin Island reopened last night!  Food will be available compliments of Trevor Tilton Insurance/Mortgage Services and distributed by Missouri River Relief volunteers.  Toilets available.

Katfish Katy's
- MM 180.2:  Breaking News – The gate to the boat ramp will be open! Enter at the restaurant and drive to the back of the parking lot. Go through that gate and a gravel road will take you to the ramp. Stay on the gravel…the mud can be treacherous down there. The ramp will have porta-potties and may have some water. This ramp will not be staffed by volunteers but we will often have a safety boat there and it is a good place for ground crews to meet their paddlers and avoid the very crowded parking at Cooper’s Landing. Please do not leave your boats on the ramp. This is a private ramp and they are allowing us to use it. Please respect other local boaters that pay to use the ramp.

The restaurant will be open Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. They may stay open later if there are people still coming by. Great food.

Cooper's Landing - MM 170.2:  Food trucks and MoRivCC volunteers will have food.  Parking will be very busy here, Expect to walk on gravel for parking.  If you are coming from Katfish Katy’s, there is a very obvious detour from Route K to Old Plank Rd. If you are coming from Columbia, the normal way to get there is closed. We have a PDF with recommended directions. Google maps should reroute you. https://rivermiles.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/MR340-2021-Road-Closure-Map-to
-Coopers-Landing.pdf. At the levels we are expecting for the race it can be difficult to land at this ramp. You will need to go slightly past the ramp to avoid wing dike then paddle hard up to ramp to avoid the dock and boats tied up to the dock.

Hartsburg - MM 160 – No amenities.

Jefferson City, Wilson’s Serenity Point at Noren Access - MM 144:  CHECKPOINT Food!  Missouri American Water will have water onsite. Sponsor UST Gear will be helping at ramp. The “beach” that is present some years downstream of the ramp some years is pretty much nonexistent. Will most likely need to land on the ramp. There is a wing dike on upstream side of ramp that will likely be underwater. Please limit parking to the marked spaces in the parking lot and on the side of the road to the parking lot.  Road from the parking lot to the ramp is for motor boat launching only – No Support vehicles allowed.  Paddlers be aware – there is a construction barge tied to one of the bridge pilings.

Mokane - MM 124.7 - no amenities

Chamois - MM 117.9– Bathrooms and showers nearby.

Hermann - MM 97.7:  CHECKPOINT  Food!  Town is right there!  Water and bathrooms at pavilion. There are two boat ramps right next to each other with a peninsula that juts out into the river between them. With expected higher water, that peninsula can be underwater and creating pretty crazy water extending out into the river. Racers are welcome to land on upper ramp then portage to the lower ramp to put in and avoid that. If you are passing by or plan on landing on lower ramp, give that peninsula plenty of room.

New Haven - MM 81.4:  Local BBQ restaurant is planning to have food from 11-4 on Thursday and Friday. Bathrooms a short walk.

Washington - MM 68.3:  Easy access to town.  Ramp can be tough to land at during high water.  Plan ahead for your landing.

Klondike - MM 56.3: CHECKPOINT  Food available courtesy of sponsor The Nature Conservancy.  Last stop before the finish!

FINISH LINE at Lewis & Clark Boathouse - MM 28.9:  Please land near the boat ramp just downstream of Boathouse Museum building.  An official finish is recorded when the nose of your boat hits the mud anywhere within 20 feet of either side of the concrete boat ramp. 


We'll be partying all week at the finish line with great beer, margaritas and hard lemonade sold starting Thursday!  On Friday, it really gets going with live music by Hazard To Ya Booty starting at 6pm and awards recognition for all podium finishers at 7pm!  Followed by more music! Try to make it!

This party is sponsored by Schlafly Brewing, Big Muddy Adventures, Terrain Magazine with huge help from Lewis & Clark Boathouse & Museum.


Reports from all along the race course about mosquitoes are intense. Worst year in recent memory for many locations. Both racers and ground crews need to be prepared. As long as you are on the river you should be fine. On land…not so much.


MR340 Resources page, with links to RaceOwl, course map, dispatches and much more. – https://rivermiles.com/mr340-resources/

Mandatory Safety Video – https://www.rivermiles.com/safety

Course Map – https://rivermiles.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/mr340checkpointmapmatrix2021.p...

Facebook Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/188849561244166

Waiver (print, sign and bring to Check-In) - https://rivermiles.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/2021-MR340-Waiver.pdf

MR340 Live Webinars - https://riverrelief.org/mr340-live_2021/

"How to RaceOwl" Webinar (race tracking) - https://youtu.be/83CSjLoEiPY

We can't wait to see you at Kaw Point!

Be safe and stay pumped!

Scott Mansker and Steve Schnarr
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