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OFFICIAL DISPATCHES 2022 MR340 July 12-15 (Read 8877 times)
03/11/22 at 16:10:49
rivertrash   Ex Member


Hello Friends!

I'm Christina Ruiz and I am your new Race Manager with Missouri River Relief. I am so proud to have the opportunity to officially welcome you to this event. I’m delighted to have a new role involving this race, and I look forward to the collective journey.

Race Founder Scott Mansker is still serving as the Race Director this year. But you can consider me your first contact for any of your questions or needs for the race. If you email racing@riverrelief.org we'll both get it!

I have found every MR340 to be unique, and if you are a recurring veteran I think you’ll agree with that statement. If you are new to the MR340, congrats on the start of something great!

Having personally competed in MR340 races from “last in the pack” to an eventual 38 hour finish years later, I know that planning and strategizing can make a big impact on fulfilling your personal MR340 goals, whatever those goals happen to be.

This is the first Dispatch for 2022. We will send you 5 or more of these as we get closer to the race. It is REALLY IMPORTANT that you read all of these! I hope you find the first dispatch of 2022 a kick off to your own planning and strategizing because, in some ways, this is the start of your race.

It can also help to read past years' dispatches (though some info might be out of date), and you can find them on the Rivermiles forum. Here's a link to last year's dispatches - http://www.rivermiles.com/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1620314685


The 17th Annual MR340 is July 12-15 with mandatory check-in at Kaw Point Park on July 11 between noon and 8pm.

Here are some things to know.

The MR340 is Missouri River Relief’s biggest fundraising event of the year!  We are so excited to bring you this event as part of our portfolio of river activities including cleanups, education and paddling on our beautiful river.  Learn more about our mission at http://www.riverrelief.org

Please check the roster at http://www.rivermiles.com/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1637597723.

You can use CTRL-F to find your name.  Make sure we've got good information there for you, your partner and your boat.  If it says you need to choose a new number, that's because yours was taken when you signed up.  There are 10,000 number choices between 0001 and 9999 but somehow everyone wants the same 400 numbers.  Choose another number and use CTRL-F to see if it's already gone.  Send your choice to 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://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpEmRnibp2Y.

Your boat can be staged at the park on the 11th when you check in.  We will patrol the park all night but we are not responsible for any damage or loss of boat.  Make sure you leave boat only and no paddles or gear.  It will make the next morning much easier.

There are some early season races in the area that can get you out on the river so you can see what you need to work on and look at how other folks have rigged their boats.  Check these out:
April 9: Perche Creek Gut-Buster (10 miles) email Charlie at cnlockwood01@gmail.com
April 16: Mean Lamine (13.4 miles) https://midwestpaddleracing.com/mean-lamine
May 21: RPC3 Shootout (51 miles) https://midwestpaddleracing.com/shootout-1
June 18: Freedom Race (60 miles) https://midwestpaddleracing.com/freedom

You don't have to reinvent the single blade.  Literally 1000s of folks have taken on this challenge and refined the art of finishing.  Better to learn from mistakes before you even leave your couch.  Here's a place filled with links to resources that will keep you unproductive at work for weeks!

●      Rivermiles MR340 Resources - https://rivermiles.com/mr340-resources/#General_MR340_Race_Info
●      Pay special attention to this youtube channel where Chris Luedke has years of great videos to shorten the learning curve. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjTAGGN9ArvdwcofYeM1ZWQ
●      Also, Chris has been hosting webinars with veteran paddlers called MR340 LIVE, which you can check out here - https://riverrelief.org/mr340-live_2021/
●      "MR340 First Time Finisher" - This book by racer Steve Jackson was written in  2013, so some of the race details are out of date. But it has tons of timeless advice on training, preparing, gearing up and strategies for finishing your first time in the race - https://www.amazon.com/Missouri-River-First-Time-Finisher/dp/0989637514

Our Facebook group is over 8000 strong.  A great community of racers who share news about training runs on the river, gear for sale, ground crew information, shuttle opportunities, etc.  Ask a question and you'll get an answer FAST.  It's also where our sponsors can share info on sales and promotions.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/188849561244166/

Checkpoints and Cutoff Times:


1. Kaw Point, mile 367.5, Race Begins Tuesday, July 12.  7am solos, 8am everything else.  All boats MUST check in via RaceOwl on July 11 at packet pickup between noon and 8pm.
2. Waverly, mile 293.5, (74 miles) 800pm Tuesday  Leg avg. (5.69mph for solos, 6.17mph tandems)

3. Glasgow, mile 226, (68 miles) 4pm Wed.  Leg avg. 3.4mph  (assumes Waverly departure of 8pm Tuesday)


4. Jefferson City, mile 144, (82 miles) 4pm Thurs.  Leg avg. 3.42mph (assumes Glasgow departure of 4pm Wednesday)
5. Hermann, mile 98, (46 miles) 8am Friday  Leg avg. 2.88mph (assumes Jeff City departure of 4pm Thursday)
6. Klondike, mile 56 (42 miles) 4pm Friday  Leg avg. 5.25mph   
7. St. Charles, mile 29, finish line, (27 miles)  9pm Friday  Leg avg. 5.4mph

Total of 85 Hours for 8am start (4mph) 86 for 7am start.  (3.95mph)

You have control over your destiny via training and preparation.  Efficient paddling is crucial for those first 74 miles.  Minimize wasted time.  Stay in the fast water.  Stay in the boat.  Draft when possible.  Travel as light as possible.  Keep yourself in your boat and your paddle in the water.

After Waverly, the cutoff times get easier because we assume short stops at the checkpoints and continued commitment to the Stay In The Boat philosophy.  By Glasgow, most paddlers have enough time banked up that they aren't worried about cutoff times anymore.

The Reaper is one of our safety boats.  But she has a specialized mission and that's to run at exactly the pace that a paddler would need to run to BARELY make the cutoff times at each checkpoint.  So the Reaper is a visual on the water of where the cutoff line is at it approaches a checkpoint. 

If the Reaper beats you to Waverly, you are out.  If it beats you to any checkpoint, you are out.  IF it passes you before a checkpoint but then you pass it back, you're fine.  All that matters is that you beat her to the checkpoint.  She'll be running the approximate MPH as indicated on the checkpoint chart above.  And arrives precisely at the cutoff. Keep in mind - if the Reaper is flying the skull & crossbones flag, it’s “reaping”, if not, it may be on another safety boat mission.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dKkbbstC_0 is about the reaper.

Firstly, you are not required to stop anywhere.  Just to check in as you pass. 
You are only required to check in at the checkpoints.  Paddlestops are just places we've got volunteers and safety boats if needed.  And sometimes food.
Check ins are done only at checkpoints and done only by phone.  We use RaceOwl, developed and maintained by the great Jon Marble.

We will explain more about Race Owl in the next Dispatch.

●      Every boat must have a ground crew.
●      Your ground crew may be physically present (preferred) or Virtual.

A physically present ground crew is pretty obvious.  They are following you by road ramp to ramp and meeting your resupply needs.  They can watch your progress on RaceOwl and know down to the minute when you will likely be at the next landing.  If you are exceptionally late to a meeting, they would know to alert one of our safety boats and we could check on you if needed.   

Ground crews tend to have fun and enjoy the experience.  It's an adventure for them too!  Sleep deprivation, boy scout hot dogs, pit toilets, they get the whole experience.  If you don't have a physical ground crew yet, work on getting one!

Virtual ground crew means they aren't actually there to meet you, but they are tracking your remotely.  This is important because they would alert us if you were late to a planned arrival.  We wouldn't know anything was amiss until the checkpoint closed.  But your VGC would know because they would be paying attention to RaceOwl or you would be texting them routinely saying "We plan to be at Hermann by midnight, will text you then" and if they didn't hear from you by, say, 2am, they could let us know that you may be having trouble upstream. 

Get your ground crew and get them trained up on RaceOwl, texting in, etc.  It will pay off!

We strive to have concessions at all the checkpoints and most paddlestops.  For the most part, these are non-profit groups that depend on the 340 for a big chunk of their annual fundraising.  Here's our list so far.

Lexington (Paddlestop)
Boy scout grill

Waverly (Checkpoint)
Boy scout grill at both ramps

Miami (Paddlestop)
Community fundraiser grill

Dalton Bottoms (Paddlestop – newly reopened!)
No food vendor, but safety boat will be available

Glasgow (Checkpoint)
Fresh On The Go food truck

Franklin Island (Paddlestop)
Pending – food will be available

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

Jefferson City (Checkpoint)
Boy scout grill

Hermann (Checkpoint)
Boy scout grill

New Haven (Paddlestop)

Klondike (Checkpoint)
Free Food from The Nature Conservancy

Finish Line (Checkpoint)
Lewis and Clark Boathouse and Schlafly Brewery and Athletic Brewing

PFD (Personal Flotation Device)
These are required by our Coast Guard Permit and must be worn on the water at all times subject to time penalty and disqualification.  Find one that is comfortable and functional.  They don't have to be expensive.  The kind they make for fishing are remarkably handy and allow for lots of movement (like casting a pole or a paddle) and have cool little pockets in front for sunscreen or lip balm, etc.  Treat YO Self.

Our Safety boats will be checking for PFDs. We know that some of you wear low-profile inflatable PFDs that we can’t see from a distance. If we ask, please graciously let us know you have an inflatable.

Medals and trophies are awarded to you as you finish. BUT you are all invited to our Finish Line Party sponsored by Big Muddy Adventures & Schlafly Brewing at the Lewis & Clark Boathouse.  There will be food and beer available as well as live music. The Party is sponsored by Terrain Magazine and Schlafly Brewing.

We will be recognizing all podium (1st -3rd) finishers live on the music stage between songs.  So it should be a great time!  The music starts at 6pm and trophies soon after during music breaks.  Beer will be cold and plentiful.  As well as the famous Lewis And Clark Boathouse hard lemonades! This was such a blast last year!  Plan to be there and celebrate!

This is just the beginning of the information fire hose aimed squarely at you.  But we'll let you digest all those links and videos and gain some skeletal background first before we flesh out the muscular details.  If you're a rookie, fear not!  We were all once rookies and we're still here.  You'll do great.  Welcome to the family!  And if you're a veteran, well, we knew you'd be back.  We told you.  And we're looking forward to seeing you again!

In the meantime, send your questions to racing@riverrelief.org and we'll get you squared away. 

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

100% of purchases go to Missouri River Relief operations!

Your Race Manager,
Christina Ruiz
IP Logged
Reply #1 - 04/22/22 at 10:48:22
Christina   Ex Member


Hello again!

Thank you for all of your Missouri River Relief fundraising efforts that met the April 1st deadline! You have played a big role in continuing our Missouri River education programs, river cleanups, and special events which include the MR340.

For those of you continuing your fundraising, we’re looking forward to sending more cool MR340 merch your way. Check out the Leaderboard! Llama Racks is providing car/truck racks for racers who hit our highest fundraising tier. So far, we have one racer who has hit this tier, and we hope some of the rest of you can receive a Llama Rack too!

As a reminder, the 17th Annual MR340 is July 12-15 with mandatory Race Check-In at Kaw Point Park on July 11 between noon and 8pm. When we see you on July 11, we will have you officially check-in to RaceOwl at your first ramp of the race, Kaw Point.

RaceOwl is the tracking and communication system used by the MR340 and maintained by Jon Marble, a multi-year MR340 veteran.

RaceOwl is a key aspect of the race’s safety plan and consists of the RaceOwl website, texting services, phone apps and location trackers. The system serves 3 main purposes:
•      Communication: RaceOwl provides a critical communication link between race officials, paddlers, and ground crew. Safety related text messages are broadcast to participants alerting you to hazards such as barges and weather events. You may send text messages to RaceOwl where volunteers can answer your questions and assist you with non-emergency issues.
•      Location: Officials need to know that you are progressing along the race course within the expected times and in a safe manner. Race observers want to keep up with where you are along the race course.
•      Leader board and statistics: Current leader status is gathered, estimated and displayed on the RaceOwl website. RaceOwl also calculates and displays estimated racer arrival times at Checkpoints and PaddleStop. Split times, speeds, and location history are also available. 

There are two parts of the RaceOwl system!
•      The App – this is the easiest way to check in and out at official Checkpoints (and utilized for automatic tracking and check-ins/outs – more on that below).
•      The Website– this is where you, your Ground Crew and your fans at home can access the Live Race Map, Race Results, and Check-in/out times.

Download/Update the RaceOwl app for iOS or Android.
      https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.RaceOwl&hl=en
      https://apps.apple.com/us/app/raceowl/id1095191030?ls=1

Follow setup instructions available from RaceOwl
      http://raceowl.com/Documents/Race%20Tracking%20and%20Checkpoint%20guide%20(iOS)....
      http://raceowl.com/Documents/RaceOwl%20Tracking%20and%20Checkpoint%20Usage%20Gui...

Don’t wait until the night before race registration to familiarize yourself with RaceOwl. To learn more about the RaceOwl system usage such as: check-in/out, tracking, app use and website during the MR340, take advantage of training materials and opportunities:
•      Review the training documents available on RaceOwl.com. (http://raceowl.com/Home/Training)
•      Follow the MR340 Facebook page and Rivermiles Forum to learn about upcoming Zoom training meeting(s) and/or training videos. Our 2021 webinar recording is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83CSjLoEiPY

It is essential that you train with the 340-practice race or participate in other race events that use RaceOwl so you become familiar with the app and the RaceOwl website ahead of the MR340. Download the app and play with it a little, you'll catch on quickly.

CHECKPOINT Check-In/Check-Out with RACEOWL
Racers must provide their position along the race course. This is required for our safety protocols. Official Checkpoint check-in and check-out provides a way for you to report your position along the race course. Minimally, you are required to know how to check in and check out of Checkpoints and have a phone capable of sending text and receiving texts from the RaceOwl text number.

Manual texts to the RaceOwl text number (8163406395) should have the form:

<boat number> <checkpoint> <day> <time> <am|pm> <in|out>

For example: When boat number 1234 arrives at Waverly just after 6 p.m. on Tuesday, they text the following message to RaceOwl:
1234 Waverly tues 6:15 pm in

They have a burger and relax a while and as they leave the Checkpoint they text out:
1234 Waverly tues 7:50 pm out

Manual texting works, but an easier, less error prone way is accomplished with the RaceOwl app. The app takes care of the formatting for you and is highly recommended as it reduces your workload down to a couple of button pushes and provides immediate feedback from RaceOwl that your check-in/out was accepted.

Your first official 340 Race Check-In on your phone happens the day before the race at Kaw Point Park between noon and 8pm, July 11. 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 will have some RaceOwl volunteers at this Checkpoint in case you need assistance.

Check-ins and check-outs do not have to be done by the paddler; they may be accomplished by ground crew or other volunteers.

Racers that track themselves provide RaceOwl with periodic GPS location pings of their location as they paddle downstream. Doing this provides RaceOwl with real time information regarding where the paddler is at. We strongly encourage every boat to track their position 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 costly and their web setup is ‘non-trivial’.

The benefit of using a phone tracker is that the apps are free. However, you may experience a few cell phone coverage drop outs (for example the Glasgow black hole) and phones require a bit more ‘care and feeding’. That is, you will have to charge the phone. A 20000 mah charging brick is typically sufficient for the whole race’s charging needs.  Some boats will choose to swap a phone with ground crew to allow them to charge it. NOTE: if you swap phones be sure that you turn off tracking! We’ve tracked many ground crews across Missouri roads.

If you are successfully tracking, you are not required to check in and check out of official Checkpoints. RaceOwl will take care of this for you! If your tracker is misbehaving in any way, then your device will be put on a ‘bad list’, your tracker information will be rejected by RaceOwl, and you and your ground crew will get a text from RaceOwl instructing you to revert to Checkpoint check-in and check-out.

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

Still need a place to stay in Kansas City before the race or in St. Charles after? Here are some discounted MR340 room blocks you might want to check out:

Hilton Garden Inn Kansas City
(located a couple blocks from the Riverfront Heritage Trail which you can use to access Kaw Point Park on foot)
520 Minnesota Ave
Kansas City, KS  66101
(913) 342-7900

Use this link to make your reservation:

Ameristar Casino Resort Spa St. Charles
(located upstream of the race Finish Line within walking distance)
1 Ameristar Blvd
St. Charles, MO  63301
(636) 949-7777

If you book over the phone, tell them you need to utilize the "Missouri River 340 Kayak Race" group pricing. Use MISI22C if booking online at https://www.ameristarstcharles.com/groups.

The Alpine Shop Race Calendar has been updated on Rivermiles to include a variety of race opportunities for you to check out. The next race on the Missouri River is the RPC3 Shootout on May 21st and would be a great chance to test your RaceOwl app. This race from Kansas City, KS to Lexington, MO coincides with the MR340 start location to the first MR340 PaddleStop ramp and can give you a feel of what your first 51 miles of the MR340 could be like. Minus the Reaper.

Every boat must have a ground crew – physically present or virtual. Our preference is that yours is physically present, and we mentioned some details about the importance of your crew in the previous dispatch. Physically present ground crews can make a big difference between someone finishing the race or not.

If you are unsupported with a virtual ground crew, you need to consider the extra supplies that would have normally been transported in a crew’s vehicle and waiting for you at a ramp (think night-time clothing layers, first aid for those hands and heels, medications, extra toilet paper just in case, another hat because the river ate yours, etc.). Also, you need to scout out the food and water options ahead of the race so you can develop your own refueling plan. If you have any issues during the race, please do reach out to any of our safety boats which will be on the water and at various ramps throughout.

For those of you new to the race, I want to offer something additional to think about regarding what your physically present crews can be part of in your MR340.

Race strategy.

Sure, ground crews can wait around for you at Checkpoints, shove hot dogs into your mouth, and watch you slowly turning into a half-human river creature. That’s fun. But consider having them be your strategic on-land race teammates. They’ll have a blast and you’ll love them even more for it.

Ground crews can track your speed on RaceOwl (and the speed of your closest competitors) in order to know exactly when you are looking to slide in to the next ramp and have things ready for you, meet you at less used/less congested ramps, monitor your food and liquids and electrolytes between stops, give you that pep talk and shoulder massage, have a make-shift lounging spot set up in an air-conditioned vehicle or under the stars… The list and details can go on and on.

All of your partnered strategies with your ground crew turn in to you all getting to St. Charles that much faster. Schlafly’s Bankside is 440 paces from the water at the Finish Line ramp. Less if you cut through the grass.

More race info will be coming your way in future dispatches! Have any questions in the meantime? Email us at racing@riverrelief.org and we’ll get you taken care of.

Your Race Manager,
Christina Ruiz
IP Logged
Reply #2 - 06/07/22 at 12:40:55
Christina   Ex Member


Hello, MR340 friends!

If you’ve recently registered for this year’s race, please check out the previous Dispatches to catch up on a variety of race topics we’ve mentioned so far. You can also find info in the MR340 Resources that have been compiled over time. Join the MR340 Facebook community for race conversation as well. And as always, feel free to reach out if you still have any questions we can help answer.

About half of our racers are returning race veterans. If this is your first year, know that you will have a fair amount of contact with other racers on the water, especially during your first couple days. You’re not alone out there. Pick the brains of those veteran racers along the way. Every one of these folks will have their own unique pieces of advice, and many are going to be just as happy to share their experiences with you as you will be to learn from them.

And there is no end to the stories from repeat racers. I once saw Dracula in a blue bath robe on the back of Scott Mansker’s safety boat, holding his robe like a cape disguising his face. Scott was just standing there steering the boat, somehow completely clueless to the threat behind him. Dracula approached Scott sneakily on tip toes. I screamed loudly, “Scott, watch out!!” And suddenly, when Scott yelled back, “What?!”, the scary bather was gone.

Plenty to discuss out there along 340 miles.

We’re working on this year’s online safety meeting video which is required for all racers to watch. You’ll be able to watch that at your leisure and in advance of the mandatory Check-In on Monday 7/11/22. A link for that video will be coming your way before long.

Monday, 7/11/22 Race Check-In

You’ll arrive at Kaw Point between noon and 8:00 p.m. the day before the race to turn in your waiver, pick up your t-shirt, and grab a required safety card with safety info you’ll keep in your boat (we’ll have some printed on waterproof paper for you). You’ll double-check all of your contact and race info with us and provide any last-minute edits. Chat with some of the race sponsors that will be available, load up on some MR340 and Missouri River Relief merch at our merch tent, and get your last minute RaceOwl questions answered. You’ll have your first official Checkpoint check-in at Kaw Point during this time.

You are welcome to drop off your empty boat during Check-In. We will have folks at Kaw Point Park all night keeping an eye on things. Leave at your own risk, but we’ve never had any issues either. Bring your paddles and other race gear and supplies the morning of race start. It’ll make your early morning arrival for the race a lot easier. We’ll have an important race day parking plan for you in an upcoming Dispatch that you’ll want to be sure to share with your crew.

What can you expect on the water Day 1? Hopefully not Dracula, but let’s run through it.

Butterflies in the stomach. You’ll want to arrive early, load up your boat, and quickly launch into water either from the ramp or along an open bank space of the Kansas River. Give yourself time to float around upstream of the ramp or park yourself along either side of the bank. The official starting line is anywhere upstream of the boat ramp. Take some time to sit, relax, and breathe.

The race begins promptly at 7:00 a.m. for all solos and at 8:00 a.m. for all other divisions, unless for some reason we have a storm or fog delay.

Once the race begins, be mindful of the transition of water from the Kansas “Kaw” River to the Missouri River. The Kaw is slow moving and the Missouri will be faster. If you crowd in close to other racers at the start take off, you increase your chances of colliding with other boats or flipping over at the confluence. Give yourself and everyone around you some room for that movement as you angle to the right entering the Missouri.

In the event you do flip at the start, Kansas City Fire Department will have rescue boats in the water, and we will have safety boats available as well. Stay with your boat and wait for help. Fellow racers – watch out for anyone in the water and lend a hand as you would anywhere else along the course until other help can assist.

The Kaw has plenty of room from bank to bank to spread out. And this race has plenty of hours for you to afford a little time to sort out your best starting path. Check out Chris Luedke’s video on the race start for some reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pkYod_xkR8

After you pass the start and clear the upcoming bridges, you’ll eventually get into the rhythm of your first day. You’ll get passed by some boats, and you will pass some boats. Find the pace that feels right for you. It’s a marathon, so you want that sweet spot where you can maintain a steady pace without overdoing it and needing long breaks. You’ll start to notice other boats traveling at your similar speed.

As you get settled into your day you might starting to notice details about your efficiency. Hopefully you have sorted out most of this ahead of time. Here are some things to consider while you can still plan now:

1.      Weight! Less is more. Have your crew carry all the things you won’t need until the next stop where they meet you. Your crew can be your refill of everything ramp to ramp. No need to take multiple days of supplies.

2.      Time off water! Every minute you aren’t on the water is time you’re not benefitting from free current moving toward the finish line. Live in the boat. Eat in the boat. Take any paddle breaks in the boat. Pee in the boat. We have porta-potties set up at a number of ramps along the way, but your body isn’t going to coincide with those exact locations. Plus, you will lose a considerable amount of time getting in and out of ramps just for a tiring walk up to a toilet. Save your time and energy and sort out a pee plan in your boat at your local lake, river, or in your garage ahead of time. The biggest waste of race time we see happens off water. You can easily get pulled into time sucks at ramps. Throw that cheeseburger in the boat and jump back in.

3.      Fine-tuned ground crew! Your ground crew can be physical or virtual, and their primary role is to be aware of your location and health. This is easier for physical ground crews. For virtual crews, you need to have an arrangement between racer and crew for texts or voice contact at regular intervals. If your virtual crew doesn’t hear from you as planned, they are to call a safety boat to report no contact.

Your physical ground crew’s efficiency becomes your efficiency. Have them approach the race with an on-land plan that can include things like using a cart to haul your refill items to the ramp, being the extra hands to move your boat once you are off the water at a stop, the hands that remove your trash from your boat while you stretch, the extra set of eyes to monitor how much and what you are eating and drinking between stops. Text them ahead of time if you have a special need they can have ready for you.

At this point, you’re paddling along as planned, drinking liquids and eating periodically. If you are in a tandem or team boat, use the buddy system and consistently check on each other. Stay cool by dipping your hat in the river. Be aware of your present location as you travel along. And be on the lookout for barge traffic.

Barges and Dredges

Barge traffic on the Missouri is minimal but increasing. We will see 2 or 3 during race week but potentially more. 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.

Sand dredges operate mostly during normal daylight work hours.  These are large, noisy, and anchored night and day midstream. You will pass one the first morning. The dredge itself doesn't move, but the cables that anchor it to the bottom will rise and fall out of the water. Keep your distance. The dredges auger up sand from the river bottom for use in construction. The sand is then 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. This can be a good time to tuck behind a wing dike to have a snack and a short rest from the paddle.

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. 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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xlvrs8ZdXv0&t=19s

After the barge let's imagine you're getting to a rendezvous with your ground crew. The Missouri River has many boat ramps and adjacent parks, but the MR340 does overwhelm the parking and ramp areas. We all have to work together to keep the ramps functional and keep things moving smoothly.

The main issue at ramps tends to be at the bottom where racers are landing, repacking, and launching in what is often a tight space. We have to leave the bottom of the ramp open so racers can land. Once you land, grab your boat (or have your crew do this) and carry it up the ramp to a spot out of the way. Only the fastest racers will get there early enough to have the ramp to themselves for the ground crew to service their boat at the waterline. Everyone else will often find a crowded ramp and will need to come up the ramp to a clear spot. Please help this happen not just for fellow racers, but for any potential emergency assistance that may need to get quickly out onto the water from a ramp.


Waverly is the first official Checkpoint this year, river mile 293.5 (74 miles). And this town has two boat ramps. The first is upstream of the bridge, and 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! Both ramps will have restrooms available. If you choose to stop at Waverly, be sure it’s clear with your crew as to which ramp you plan to utilize.

Protocol at a Checkpoint is no different than any other ramp you use in the MR340. 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. Check out all of the detailed RaceOwl info in Dispatch #2.

Checking in is a crucial part of the MR340 safety plan. Remember that your first check in will have happened on Monday, the day before race start at Kaw Point. Waverly will then be the second time you officially check in. We will have a couple RaceOwl volunteers at Waverly if you or your ground crew need an extra bit of help to get the hang of it.

The Waverly Checkpoint cutoff time is 8:00 p.m. Soloists have 13 hours to get there, and everyone has 12 hours. If you don’t arrive by 8:00 p.m., you are out of the race. Remember – stay efficient, especially for Day 1. The Reaper is the pace boat at the rear of the race which will arrive at the speed needed to meet the 8:00 p.m. cutoff at Waverly (and every other Checkpoint close time along the way). More info on the Reaper in Dispatch #1. Beat the Reaper.

The odds are actually in your favor to beat the Reaper to Waverly. Planning can take you far in this race. So now is the time to sort out all the details you can. You still have time!

Some of you will feel a need to hang out or even spend the night at Waverly. Resist that feeling. The park at Waverly has train tracks running through it (and loud, fast trains), and it might well be muggy and buggy. You still have at least another hour of daylight. Have your crew refill what you need, make sure you have your navigation lights working on your boat, and grab your nighttime gear you prepared. Maybe you even have a new paddle buddy you have made on the water. Buddy up and take off.

A good spot downstream to get rest is Hill’s Island, about 12 miles from Waverly at river mile 281. The Reaper will overnight here. Racers who stop at Hill’s Island will leave at various times. Watch for others heading out and join their little packs or their spread-out lines of lights down the water. Gain distance from the Reaper. Hill’s Island can be the last time you even see the Reaper. You’re then headed toward your next Checkpoint, Glasgow, river mile 226.

And there you go. You are through Day 1. You have figured out your pace, you have stayed hydrated, you have eaten and peed in your boat, you have made buds, you have encountered a barge, and you have seen the moon rise over the beautiful Missouri River. You didn’t have many surprises along the way. And you didn’t see Dracula. So far, so good.

Stay tuned for the next Dispatch with more race details.

Do we still have your correct info? Are you in the correct division? Did your partner get registered?
Check the roster: http://www.rivermiles.com/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1637597723

Use CTRL-F to find your name or just hunt for it. Does everything look right? Is your boat number valid? Make sure your partner is registered. And Email us at racing@riverrelief.org to let us know if you have made any changes to your ground crew, emergency contact, or even boat color. We’ll get you up to date.

Thank you to all of you still actively fundraising for Missouri River Relief! We appreciate you all sharing your fundraiser links and moving up on the Leaderboard. We still have merch ready to send to you all as you hit your next levels on the board.

Keep planning! Get out on some water!

Christina Ruiz
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Reply #3 - 06/24/22 at 15:01:37
Christina   Ex Member


MR340 Racers and Crews,

It’s crunch time now. We only have a couple weeks until we arrive at Kaw Point for race start. But we still have a little time to sort out the last details!

We want you to have the best MR340 experience possible. And we want you to take care of yourself in preparation for this event and while you are out on the race course. This race will test you. For some of you, you will be tested in ways you’ve never been tested before and in ways you didn’t imagine. The MR340 can be physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging. Race week is not your average 9-5 Monday through Friday. We trust that because you have chosen to register for this race you are up to its challenges.


Everyone has their own unique set of things they have to be aware of regarding their own health, and those are details you need to share with your ground crew. Do you have a medical condition that you need to monitor? Do you have medications you need to take with consistency? Do you have any medication or food allergies? Do you carry an EpiPen?

Talk it over. Tell your crew what they can help keep an eye out for when they see you at your stops. You’re going to be exhausted, and it’s sometimes harder to monitor yourself once you get deeper into the river miles. Give your crew the info they need so you can rely on them as you would within any other buddy system. That’s part of their purpose. Utilize your crews.


It’s really hard to wrap your mind around 340 miles of paddling day in and day out. So don’t! Break it up in sections from ramp to ramp. Are you meeting your crew at Lexington the first day? Plan for Kansas City to Lexington. That’s 50 miles.

What do you need in order to do 50 miles? What is your plan with your crew at Lexington? What are you reloading into the boat at Lexington? When you pull in to Lexington, you and your crew will know your general plan. Assess yourself along the way.

So you made it 50 miles. Over. Forget about it. Your race just started over. Assess. Are you good? Anything causing concern for you? Do you feel like you are up to the next distance before you meet your crew again? If all is well, you’re back at it.

You’ve got 23 miles. Repeat the process.

For a number of racers, something happens in this process that causes them to pause to try to get control over a situation. Maybe it’s a long rest in an air-conditioned car because they are feeling a little too hot for what feels right for them. Maybe it’s something annoying in the boat that needs fixed. Maybe this isn’t what they thought it would be. Maybe it’s more serious. Maybe this is the end of their race.

The consistent assessment of your situation on the water and at ramps with your crew can help you make good decisions about your race. If you’re not feeling confident about the next 23-mile goal for any reason, talk it out. It’s easier to pause at a ramp with your crew to sort it all out than push on and have issues 5 miles later.


You’ve likely got a fancy smart phone with all your fancy apps on it. Use your favorite radar app or site on your phone to stay in tune with upcoming weather. Have your crew stay in tune with the weather so they can give you a call or text if they see a storm pop up in an area near you. Storms pop up out of nowhere in the Midwest.

Don’t wait for a storm to hit before you get off the water. If you start seeing dark clouds and hear thunder in the distance, you need to be ready to react. Find a safe place. Out on open water with the threat of lightening is very dangerous. Ideally you are heading in to the nearest ramp/shelter if you can, and also plan to stay at that location until you know it’s safe to proceed down river. It’s your responsibility to be aware on the water, and that includes weather. If you need to pull into a location without your crew there, do you have enough clothing to stay warm? Dry clothes after the rain? Enough calories to be stopped a while? This is part of that ramp to ramp thinking. Be prepared ramp to ramp.

PREVENTION IS KEY – Avoid heat-related illness

•      Stay protected from the sun (hats, long sleeves, cover legs, sunscreen).
•      Don’t rely on sunscreen on bare skin alone.
•      Dip your hat in the water, keep a wet handkerchief around your neck. Submerge yourself in
        water at a sandbar or checkpoint (with your PFD on).
•      Drink plenty of liquids with sports drinks intermixed.
•      Eat salty snacks. Keep eating in general. Have your crew monitor your food and liquids as
•      Staying with your crew at a ramp for a while? Rest in their air-conditioned car.
•      Educate yourself and your crew on heat-related illness. Watch out for light-headedness,
        muscle cramps, nausea, headache, confusion, weakness.
•      Share food or liquids with other paddlers if you find a fellow racer runs out while on water.
•      Keep your Safety Dispatch card in your boat. Flag down or call Safety Dispatch if you need
        some urgent liquids or food while on the water.
•      Call Safety Dispatch if you think a fellow racer is having trouble. Stay with them until help
•      Don’t tough it out. Heat-related illness can be difficult to reverse.


Know your limit. Everyone in this race will be pushing through adversity, but there could come a point at which that push is not realistic or healthy. This is a decision you might have to make.

Again, it’s easier to make this decision at a ramp.

Don’t worry, you’re still a total badass.

If you leave the race – submit the DNF (did not finish) option in RaceOwl or text in to RaceOwl. We must know you are leaving the race. Otherwise, a process involving a phone call to ramp volunteers, a call to your ground crew, and potentially a safety boat being dispatched begins as we try to track you down. Don’t make us search the river for you when you are in a car on your way back home.

PARKING (Yeah, I know you’re thrilled. But PLEASE READ!)

Review the 2 page 2022 Parking Map and information before the race. Come up with a parking plan!

Check-In Parking at Kaw Point  - Monday 7/11/22
•      Many racers leave their empty boats at Kaw Point during the mandatory Check-In on
        between 12:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Up to you.
•      Don’t leave electronics, paddles, etc. Just your boat. We will have people working all night
        keeping an eye on the area, and Kaw Point Park closes to the public at 10:00 p.m., so access
        will be limited overnight.
•      No trailer parking on Race Day Tuesday.

Race Day - Tuesday 7/12/22
Kaw Point parking fills quickly. If you aren’t there by 6:00 a.m. or so, you will probably get looped back out of the park. Plan to park outside Kaw Point when all possible.

Consider using the Riverfront Heritage Trail to access Kaw Point on foot.
(Racers/crews can easily use a foldable wagon to transport race day items to boats if they choose – great to use at checkpoints too.)

NEW THIS YEAR! Municipal Lot #4
•      Located between State Ave and Minnesota Ave – access east of N 5th St via State Ave or
        Minnesota Ave.
•      Hundreds of free parking spaces offered by the city between 5:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.

Hilton Garden Inn
•      Hotel guests can park in hotel parking garage.
•      Parking is also available directly south of hotel in free city parking lot.
•      Parking lot in further south section of above is metered parking.

Street Parking
•      Various street parking is available along Armstrong and N 5th streets

Small Parking Lot
•      Under the overpass off Armstrong northbound from N. St. James St.

Kaw Point Parking – Race Day - Tuesday 7/12/22
•      Please look out for and listen to our VOLUNTEER parking attendants for any instructions.
•      Racers can also be dropped off by crew at Kaw Point and have crew park in area parking
        outside Kaw Point.
•      Spectators are encouraged to carpool if possible and use area parking outside Kaw Point,
        taking the Riverfront Heritage Trail Connector when all possible.
•      All walk-in traffic should be via the Riverfront Heritage Connector Trail to avoid vehicle traffic
        near Kaw Point entrance.
•      Big trucks/SUVs should park in far SW parking section or in area under the overpass.
•      Cars should start filling in lot starting along the north, working south
•      Do not park in the Kaw Point Industrial Park lots.
•      Note the one-way entrance on west end of floodwall and one-way exit on east end of floodwall.


Please print and complete your printed race waiver. Bring it with you to Kaw Point and drop off during Check-In noon to 8:00 p.m. We will have some blank ones there if you forget, but we might have those printed in another color so we can tell who forgot theirs. We send those names to the Reaper. Kidding on the last part!


Bring some cash, and tell your crews to do the same. If you have a chance to support these groups at ramps along the way, please do!

Lexington (rm 316.4): Boy Scouts selling food in the pavilion: burgers, hotdogs, chips, snacks, and drinks

Waverly (rm 293.5): Boy Scouts selling food and drinks at both ramps

Miami (rm 263): Food will be available for sale

Glasgow (rm 226): Fresh On the Go food truck

Franklin Island (rm 195): (We’re still trying to get some food sales here!)

Cooper’s Landing (rm 170): Food trucks each day from noon until 8 p.m., plus sandwiches, drinks, and snacks for purchase in the General Store: Tues noon-3am, Wed 5am-3am, Thur 5am-10pm, Fri 9am-10pm

Jeff City (rm 144): Boy Scouts selling food and drinks

Hermann (rm 98): Boy Scouts selling food and drinks

New Haven (rm 81.4): Paddle Stop New Haven and the Lang-A-Tang Snack Shack will have refreshments available for sale at the ramp, Paddle Stop Brewery will be open Wed morning non-stop through Friday morning

Klondike (rm 56): The Nature Conservancy is offering free grilled items, snacks, and drinks

St. Charles (rm 29): Lewis & Clark Boathouse will have tacos, hard lemonades, Schlafly beer, and a few other surprises for sale


•      Email us if you have any updates we need to make for you (changing divisions, changes to
        ground crew contact info, etc.) at racing@riverrelief.org
•      Check out the MR340 Resources page
•      Review the RaceOwl information posted in Dispatch #2.
•      Check the roster.
        Do you have a boat number and, if applicable, correct teammates listed there?

The new Safety Meeting Video will be coming your way soon. You are required to watch this video by Check-In on Monday 7/11/22. The top of your race waiver that you turn in at Check-In includes a statement that you have watched the video (and read these dispatches). That’s how much we want you to watch the video!

Get ready!

Christina Ruiz
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Reply #4 - 06/28/22 at 22:14:24
Christina   Ex Member


Hello again!

The 2022 MR340 Safety Video is available for you to watch!

All racers are required to watch this mandatory video. Included is crucial information you need to know for safely completing the race. You will be required to check on your Race Waiver that you’ve watched the video (and have read all the Dispatches).

Heads up – it’s pretty long. Get a snack and a beverage, sit back, and roll with it. Or watch it in batches if you like. Pause and take notes if you need to. It’s also super helpful if ground crews watch this video.

Need more info about RaceOwl? The 2022 RaceOwl Tutorial is being held on 6/29/22 7:00PM CST. We'll be joined by RaceOwl developer Jon Marble to walk through how to use the RaceOwl app for MR340 race checkpoint check-in and out and auto-tracking, and how race fans can use the RaceOwl website to track their racers' progress.

Only registered users can attend the webinar on Zoom, which allows for Q&A. Register here:

Or you can watch the presentation live-streamed on the Missouri River Relief YouTube Channel and the recording will later be shared.

Our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/rivertrash1875/

Hope you are fine-tuning your plans and getting as excited as we are!

Christina Ruiz
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Reply #5 - 07/07/22 at 12:50:03
Christina   Ex Member


Hello MR340 Racers!

This is the final dispatch, and you know what that means. It’s almost RACE TIME!

Here are some reminders for you as race day approaches:

Watch the Safety Meeting Video if you haven’t yet.

Review the MR340 race rules and the MR340 Resources page.

Watch the MR340 RaceOwl Tutorial if you missed it and want additional RaceOwl info.

Print your completed race Waiver (and remember to note on the top that you have watched the Safety Meeting Video and have read all Dispatches).

Come to the mandatory Check-In at Kaw Point on 7/11/22 any time between noon and 8:00 p.m. where you will turn in your waiver, complete your first official RaceOwl checkpoint check-in, pick up your cool race t-shirt, and grab a Safety Dispatch Card that you will keep in your boat during the race. Feel free to drop off your empty boat while you are there.

Consult the 2-page parking map that shows your best parking options and be sure you have a parking plan for race day Tuesday.

Check out the new ramp resource map that shows all possible ramps available along the race route, and share this link with your crew!

Please visit our list of all the amazing sponsors that help make this race possible. You will see some of our race sponsors at Check-In on Monday and at the finish line in St. Charles on Friday. Visit their tents and tell them thanks!

Those of us here at Missouri River Relief are so proud to have been part of this world-class race since 2008. And to have been the hosts since last year.

The community of paddlers and race lovers that have gathered around this event is something really special. The connection we all have to each other and the river is a treasure, something we need to take care to cultivate. Seeing all of you generously sharing information, ideas, tips and gentle jokes in the Facebook group is awesome. Watching you build the community in 5Ks and bigger races across the region is great to witness.

Your support of our work through race registrations, donations and t-shirt purchases makes our mission connecting people to the Missouri River more powerful. We really appreciate it and don’t take it for granted. We hope to see you at one of our other river cleanups, education programs or the Race to the Dome October 1!

And we can’t wait to share the river with you next week!

Christina Ruiz
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