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The Great River Race • Missouri Life Magazine

The Great River Race • Missouri Life Magazine

Lots of of canoeists around the globe take part in the MR340 in September, a shocking 340-mile race on the Missouri River from Kansas Metropolis to St. Charles. Get a taste of the journey from these veteran rivals and decide a spot along the river.

Tons of of kayaks and canoes sail the boat ramps, waiting in flip for Liu to go to the confluence of Kansas and the Missouri River. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark once stood right here at Kaw Point on their legendary voyage, one of the final stops in the recognized space earlier than diving into the unknown. While Kansas Metropolis skyscrapers now overtake the horizon, a whole lot of people leaving this place start their journey in the same adventurous spirit that Discovery Corps did in 1804.

Stretching from Kansas City to St. Charles, the annual MR340 (340 miles on the Missouri River) is the longest within the country ongoing river competition and undoubtedly not a traditional floating distance. Members are allowed 88 hours to complete the competition. behind them the dreaded Reaper boat follows. Reaper represents the slowest allowed velocity, and if it overtakes rivals, they will be rejected. From a competitive viewpoint, canoeists must stand up to 340 miles of heat, wind, bugs and rain, overlook about sleep and keep away from fatigue in lower than 40 hours to finish a race. In this case, the drained haven’t any relaxation.

What's in it for rivals in a race the place just ending is an achievement? Rivals have their reasons. Some see this as a form of extreme trip, a chance to get the private greatest, or a chance to prove something. Still others struggle to be one of the best and win the trophy. One factor is for certain concerning the competition that is now pulling rivals around the globe: the group built around it is getting stronger, and so is competitors.

This yr's first MR340 stroke is September 10 in Kansas City. Not everybody will graduate from St. Charles on September 13, however those that paddle the course will make life reminiscences and study something about you along the best way. Simply ask your rivals concerning the 2018 competition.

Christopher Luedke arrived early the primary morning of the race to organize the boat. Photograph: Evan Henningsen.


What brought you right here? Why take this grueling competition?

Mandy Urban:
There’s a lot symbolism that I get off the river. Discovering a race just like the MR340 where I can drive myself, problem my challenges and run the move are a number of the explanation why I really like operating on the river. I additionally love individuals. River individuals are the perfect individuals! I have a family of rivals and supporters that’s in contrast to some other group of people. They see you at your greatest and worst and still paddle by your aspect.

Christopher Luedke:
I stay in Wisconsin and I’ve competed in seven-MR340 race. I just like the race of the encompassing group; it keeps me coming again yr after yr. In water it’s troublesome to elucidate companionship. There are few secrets, and any query will probably be answered. These are the type of people who offers you a shirt off your back in the event you requested. I also have a competition devoted YouTube channel referred to as 340Paddler where I speak about ideas and recommendation. It's a superb useful resource for individuals who simply get there.

Anqi Dai:
I got here to america in 1988 with five bucks in my pocket and one suitcase to review in Kansas. It was a challenge, but I’ve achieved the American Dream! I used the identical willpower to finish the MR340 in 2017 and 2018. I needed to check my power and skill. I needed to prove to myself that I used to be capable of compete at 54. Closing the competition provides me a way of accomplishment and exhibits my youngsters that willpower helps you achieve a terrific deal.

  Creator and chief organizer of the MR340 competition. Scott Mansker, creator and chief organizer of the MR340, all the time provides security recommendation the day earlier than the race.

Diane McHenry:
I grew up in a small Missouri River city and my husband, Chuck, and I am considerably dependent on river sports activities. I am the only one that has been in every MR340-13 for – from the start, when rivals had lower than 20. The age of 62 I was also one of many oldest rivals who competed in 2018. I have beforehand made 4 combined tandem, and 2018 was the fourth yr ladies in tandem, one other with my teammate and good friend Mandy. Ladies's tandem-class'm among the many greatest 4 teams in ten. Two of them are with Mandy, so we're a very good staff. In 2017, I ended up in second place in ladies's singles.

Bob Hines:
People are by far the perfect part of this race. The first day of the competitors is so superior. Everyone is so shut to each other that I need to paddle to them and start talking a bit of, “The place do I come from? Is that this your first time? I see that your boat has an Iowa sticker on it. What half? Yes, I competed in 2016 as properly, it was scorching as hell. "I'm nonetheless buddies with some, who have been from the primary kisaani in 2013 and add them further every year.

Cecelia Hines:
I need to keep in mind the whole lot because in the long run I would like to be able to look back and know that it was all value it.

Close Calls

Big barges, warmth exhaustion, and fatigue are just a few of the risks. What have been you?

Anqi Dai:
One night time on my first MR340 in 2017, after midnight, I was exhausted after virtually 16 to 17 hours of canoeing that day. I used to be headed in the direction of the wing of a wing when somebody on my left abruptly yelled at me to observe. "I woke up right away" and shortly turned left to show past me. It was undoubtedly too near comfort.

Diane McHenry:

  Canoeing on the Missouri River in Jefferson City Bob Hines and his daughter, Cecelia Hines, a combined tandem group, approached Jefferson City. Photograph: Evan Henningsen.

In my 2017 race alone I used to be under Hermann when the barge took off from anyplace. I hid alongside the bank and saw an entire bunch of people hit; the captain had to cease utterly. The second yr, the barge ran over the tandem pair and my husband noticed all of it occur. Someway, thank goodness they have been nice and have been capable of land their method underneath the barge.

Bob Hines:
Something can occur in the course of the race: heat exhaustion, stomach upset, Asian carp hanging your shoulder (all of this occurred to me in 2016). Most years are an event that everybody remembers. In 2018, it was The Barge. A heavy barge pushed upstream, inflicting an incredible revival. Most boats carried over and out of the water. I requested Cecelia what she needed to do, pull over or continue? "Let's do it!" There was his answer, so we handed the "aggressive" line over the barge. The awakening hit us exhausting and we went up five occasions. We have been filled with Lieutenant Dan (from Forrest Gump), twisting and burning on a regular basis. Cecelia was an explosion, and every time anybody mentioned The Barge, her reply was, "We went up in the air five times! It was awesome!"

Night time on the Water

One alone underneath the deep, darkish waters and with no clear view in front of you ways do you spend the night time?

Christopher Luedke:
At night time, the river is equal in measurement and terrifying and soothing, and there is a tranquil magnificence the place a random wing dike, buoy or carp blast the edges of the boat. staying and hallucinating later within the race.

Bob Hines:
Cecelia and I are huge area nerves. She needs to be an astronaut. The first night time we paddled from Miami to Glasgow, I observed a world area station flying above. We both dropped paddles and sat down. just floating in.

Help Groups

You possibly can't do this it alone because the shortage of help alongside the best way is against the law. What is dynamic together with your workforce?

Diane McHenry:
My husband and father are my help. My dad is 82 years previous and he is finding it more and more troublesome to assist me. But he's nonetheless there, all the time smiling and one thing quick to say. Thank you dad!

A one-man kayak stood at sundown on a river close to Miami's boat ramp. Rivals often get to see a number of spectacular sunsets and sunsets.

Mandy City:
Once we moved to Hermann, my family was there, together with my dad, who stunned me with my last-minute capability to return. It gave me love and help that I didn't know I had to end the race nicely. I couldn't have completed this with out my mom's help! He liked me via the ups and downs of Frank Sinatra's warmth strikes and religious decay.

Chuck McHenry (McHenry and Mandy Di Urbani crew member):
I competed within the white water in my entire life. I have made the Olympic workforce trials and competed in World Cup occasions, so for me it is extremely troublesome to stand on the sidelines and watch the superb circumstances that we had in 2018. But at the similar time help is one thing that is so much enjoyable. In Missouri, everybody needs to assist everyone else; we do not hesitate to help each other at any time. You see it in Missouri. We now have competed elsewhere, and they don’t seem to be. There's a fast competitors in Texas, they usually gained't inform you where it is. I competed in the east, and we have been advised to go house, because we have been from Missouri. Missouri is a very good place to be.

The Secret

Competing on over 500 separate ships, every one creates some ideas and tips for himself. What is your?

Diane McHenry:
I actually just like the insulated water tanks that have pipes to drink as a result of the ice can hold and maintain the water very cold. My kayak is mild, secure and fast. That's what you want for a great kayak. It is secure if you find yourself too tired so you possibly can loosen up a bit and glide. You are the engine on the boat, so in case you are educated correctly it is going to make the most important distinction. In case you are not educated, it doesn't matter which boat you might have.

John Vanderheyden:
waged boat was originally a 17-foot sailboat of the 1950s, which I have changed a lever of the pedal. Boat modifications embrace: full photo voltaic charging system, electrical bilge pump, battery, luminaires / USB hooks for telephones and more. The bicycle-paddle-bike assembly is my very own design. I used a mountain bike and edited and reduce / welded it myself. Paddle wheels are bicycle wheels mounted on an extended axis on each side of the boat. The wheels include 16 paddles on both sides. I spent several years working at bicycle repair outlets, so this is the best way to go. My good friend / paddle companion Tom Reed used his creativity to color a boat-length snake.

Small City Hospitality

Every year, Miami River Town volunteers come to help rivals with help and food. Such teams assist to enable competition and supply nice consolation to rivals.

Carrying the MR340 takes tons of of small river town volunteers. What impressed you?

Anqi Dai:
The volunteers of each boat are so unimaginable. They aid you get out of your boat and carry it out of the water, which is an enormous factor whenever you're exhausted. They nourish and offer you water and encourage you to continue. They’re the heroes of the race without saying. We couldn’t compete without their help and kindness.

Diane McHenry:
The competitors couldn't have occurred with out the volunteers. It grows every year and it is superb that they arrive up and develop into part of the tradition. They love to help and make it a terrific experience for everyone. And on the similar time, they get somewhat fundraising for his or her cities, so it's great for them too. Actually, we went again a number of occasions to the cities within the river as a result of we really needed to see and discover them as soon as.


When you attempt to be aggressive and give up early, you're going to need to skip sleeping. This typically causes hallucinations. What did you see?

Christopher Luedke:
You may see mermaids or tree species. It happens to most individuals on the second or third night time. It’s a mixture of sleep deprivation and fixed bodily misery that’s pushed, so your brain is desperately making an attempt to shut down. It confuses your reality of making an attempt to pressure you to give up. I need to concentrate on issues I know to be real, like the feeling of a canoe in my arms. This system known as earthing and could be very helpful.

  Competitors in the MR340 Naps Rivals who win from sleeplessness after a night of kayaking are found in pole excuse at virtually each base station, comparable to Franklin Island. Mandy Urban:
Last yr, like I did the first yr, I saw the Elephants – infinite elephants – mile after mile march alongside the river. I have also seen all types of faces and cartoon characters. I was joyful to paddle alongside Dad and his teenage son. It was great speaking to him and laughing concerning the hallucinations we had and making it something enjoyable, not something scary.

John VanderHeyden:
One yr, my rowing companion and I someway acquired off the river and a highlight someplace near Jefferson City. We couldn't work out the best way to get again to the channel. We might see lights from other boats, but they have been via some timber. They seemed just like the robot that left us behind. We have been each seeing big timber and vegetation that seemed to grow and be harvested for sale. We spent loads of power that night time, and Tom broke his again making an attempt to get us out of there. We needed to call the security boat at 2 o'clock within the morning to help us out. We ultimately escaped however lost about 5 or 6 hours.

Speaking teammates

You and your teammates have been in the boat for a long time. How do you work together as a workforce?

Mandy Urban:
Di is affected person, previous and gracious. I’ve so much to study from him that there’s a degree of respect that provides to our dynamism. We are just some river gals who need to compete and have fun. You possibly can hear us singing or laughing before you see us. We’ve got constructive power that works nicely in troublesome conditions. He picks me up once I'm down, often initially of the competitors, and will increase him up when he is struggling, often in the direction of the top. I really like the competition with Di; she is a river to my mom.

Bob Hines:
The hardest half can also be one of the best part: I might compete with my daughter. The tandem technique with another grownup is difficult, however when it is a baby it adds a brand new layer of strain and concern. My wife as a national staff often knows what to expect, but final yr we have been each positive how our daughter would react to the three plus day race. He is robust and decided, however would he attempt to push himself too far? All in all, with the ability to have actual, in-depth conversations with my teenage daughter was the most effective part of all of it. Good and dangerous, I'm fairly positive that we have been talking about more than kicking in the course of the race within the history of the whole of the entrance of the fathers and teenage women. After this competitors and on a regular basis with Cecelia, going into the solo sooner or later looks like it's only a waste as a result of it's only a bunch of kayaking and never anchoring.

Photograph: Evan Henningsen

The Pain

Anyone In endurance sports activities, it is stated that the time will come if you hit the wall. What are you doing?

Mandy City:
I hit my sub about midway by way of the race, perhaps a mile 186. We've stopped at Franklin Island. The solar was coming and I let the emotions of the previous night time move. I had to sleep without pants as a result of my seat had massaged to create a tail. After 30 minutes, the ground employees woke us up. Di tied me up and we headed back to the boat. I shivered vigorously and I keep in mind crying and I didn't need anybody to see. I placed on my sunglasses and faked a smile. On the finish of this race, I noticed that I might have participated within the collected 800km race within the 2018 season. I felt the chances stacked towards me, and it all felt like there was too much to cope with. Di let me cry. Then realized that I'm the one one who determines how much hail has left hiekkapaperilleni. I have to determine if that is too much. It was a turning point for me, and I found a deep-seated energy and used it as a pressure for us in the second half of the race.

Bob Hines:
Cecelia was tired coming to New Haven around three:30. I’m so that I let her sleep on the boat while paddling. I paddled at the hours of darkness for over an hour and when daybreak came I noticed that his paddle was lacking from its holder. I woke up to Cecelia to elucidate the state of affairs and she or he started to cry. He had picked his particular paddle so he might compete. It had an ideal design and now it disappeared. I don't blame him for crying. I gave him a telephone to call the ground employees. "Your phone is dead," he informed me. "It can't be. It was 15 percent when I shut it down earlier," I replied. Luckily I keep in mind our new tracker had satellite tv for pc communication! So Cecelia sent a crew on the bottom they usually have been on the brink of meet us. paddle, and he found one.