Monday, July 29, 2013


Last week I participated in the MR340, the longest non-stop canoe and kayak race in the world, with a few friends. Team SoDak was made up of Steven Dahlmeier and Cecil Caulkins running support crew for Kati Albers, David Mays, and me and Donna Savage running support crew for Doc Savage.

The checkpoints and a couple of other important boat ramps were as follows:
START Kaw Point (RM 367)
CP1 Lexington (RM 317)
CP2 Waverly (RM 294)
CP3 Miami (RM 262)
Dalton (RM 239)
CP4 Glasgow (RM 226)
CP5 Katfish Katy's (RM 180)
CP6 Jefferson City (RM 144)
CP7 Hermann (RM 98)
Washington (RM 68)
CP8 Klondike (RM 56)
FINISH St Charles (RM 29)

The race began at 7 AM on Tuesday to the firing of muskets and a cannon; 8 AM for the tandem and team boats. When I paddled into Miami on Tuesday night, I decided to take a 30 minute break and eat some real food, fried chicken. I was already finding out that the food sold at the checkpoints sounded better than the tortillas and peanut butter I had brought.

I pushed on from Miami with a couple of local paddlers and Dave and Kati tried to get some sleep at Miami. Part way to Glasgow, I was struggling to keep up, so around 4:30 AM (Wednesday) I pulled off at the Dalton access for some sleep. I covered 128 miles on the first day. Doc pushed all the way to Glasgow on the first day. The local paddlers were Charles and Bob; they will come up again.

I left Dalton around 6:30 AM. When I arrived at Glasgow, Charles and Bob's boats were there. I waited for Steven to arrive so I could resupply then I was off for Katfish Katy's. At Katfish Katy's, I had an awesome bbq pork sandwich and coleslaw. Delicious. From there it was on to Jeff City. I ended up paddling with Charles and Bob again when night came too. This is also when lack of sleep hit me. My depth perception was gone. I kept thinking the trees on shore were in the river until I saw a boat go through them. We arrived at Jeff City at midnight. I think Charles and Bob pushed on to camp on a sandbar between Jeff City and Herrman. I later found out that David's tent was near me too. Kati slept at Katfish Katy's. Doc, I think, pushed to Herrman on day 2. I covered 95 miles on day 2.

I had planned to get on the water by 5 AM, but I didn't wake up until then. Instead, I departed around 6:30 AM which was fine. A paddler I quickly caught up to said that her brother, further ahead, had texted that the fog was bad at 5 AM. I ate more real food at Hermann and kept pushing. At Klondike, I had Cecil pour some Coke into an empty Gatorade bottle, so I had a source of caffeine on me. The first half of the final stretch went fine. I had some trouble navigating a couple of times. There was a wing dike that I got stuck behind that seemed to stretch halfway across the river. After that, a few other paddlers showed up and I finished with them before 4 AM on Friday. My time was 68:48. My last day was 115 miles. And, somehow, I finished before Charles and Bob.

By the end of the race, my hands were blistered up pretty good. My feet were sore from wearing the five fingers all week and ruddering. My side was sore from my paddling rotation. And, my back had a large rash from my wet shirts riding up on me. It was the single toughest event of my life, but totally worth enduring.

What I would do differently: use gurney goo to prevent blisters, petroleum jelly to prevent chafing, carry a spotlight. My 100 lumens headlamp was not as adequate as I could of hoped. It worked, but something with more range would be better. I would push all the way to Glasgow on day 1 and Hermann on day 2. Also, spend less time at checkpoints.

I should also note we had near perfect weather for the race. Highs in the 80s and lows in the lower 60s or upper 50s. Also, a little wind (headwind though) and no storms. A little rain for Dave and Kati at the finish.

Online pictures/videos: => from the MR340 FB group


  1. And there you are, at 3:19 in the Vimeo vid.

  2. Thanks Pat! Charles and Bob were lazy in Jeff City and decided to camp in a hotel room. On the paddle into Jeff we talked a lot about our plans and decided that we had two options. Push for a finish between 10 pm Thursday and 2 am Friday or take the father apporach and finish Friday morning around 9 am so our wives could bring the kids and friends down to see us finish. Our daughters had been missing us (Bob has three and I have two) so we decided to slow it down and finish Friday morning so that they could see us land. It was a good decision (with the exception that we ended up "racing" a barge down the river - we actually landed before it came under the bridge; but it looked a lot closer when we were in the water). It was a fun 340 miles and I was glad to see you finished along with some of the other people we ended up "grouped" with over the long days of paddling. On Thursday afternoon we met up with a solo paddler and elected to travel with them to Klondike to ensure that no one crashed or got themselves into trouble, so it all worked out for the best!

  3. saw Doc in video, but will have to look again for the rest of you, you all did fantastic!!

  4. That was an excellent video, I was part of a ground crew, the weather was beautiful. One more time came in at 7:38, then we stayed to watch my nephew Christian come in at 3pm and Ned came in at 9pm .. It was a great time. Carol