This blog has been “on the air” for three and a half years and now we’re headed back to where it all started – the Missouri River and the MR340. Most of you already know what that’s all about but, for our new recruits a recap is in order.
The MR340 is the longest non-stop river race in the world and is one of National Geographic’s top 100 adventures. Racers start in Kansas City, MO. and have 88 hours to make their way to St. Charles (a little northwest of St. Louis). They can go straight through or stop anywhere along the way to rest and sleep. The record is around 37 hours but some folks take the entire 88 to finish. Racers run the gamut from young guys who have arms as big as my legs, paddling high tech carbon boats, to older guys out for an adventure in their heavy aluminum canoes. They are both men and women (a lot of those women will beat us guys by a large margin!), in solo boats and in teams of up to six paddlers in a boat. The interesting thing is that about 1/3 of the starters don’t make it to St. Charles – and many of those are the people you’d expect to finish fast, young bucks in fast boats.
The organizers say it’s “just you and your boat thrown against 340 miles of wind, heat, bugs and rain. This ain’t no mama’s boy float trip. This race promises to test your mettle from the first stroke in Kansas City to the last gasp in St. Charles” and that’s about right. The racers will tell you it’s 90% mental and that the other 10% is – mental and they’re right, too. Along the way we’ll find out about whirlpools and boils, barges, hallucinations caused by exhaustion, cramps, blisters, sunburn and dehydration, isolation, and river bouys and bridge pilings that want to eat us. We’ll roast in the afternoon sun and be chilled at night when the temperatures drop and we’re wet. We’ll be ravenous with hunger but have to force ourselves to eat. We may have to sleep on rocks, in parking lots, in the mud, or in the weeds.
We’ll also see spectacular sunsets, make amazing friends, sleep better than we ever have, and watch the Missouri sky at night with stars that are usually obscured by city lights. We’ll see Missouri from a perspective that few get – on one of the mighty rivers of our country. We’ll see our ground crews giving up a week of their lives, dedicating themselves to OUR dreams, and appreciate their sacrifice more than they can imagine. We’ll get in better physical and mental shape, and accomplish something many of us doubted we could do.
Walt Birmingham, one of the legends of the race, talked about it in his blog and it’s worth a read, click HERE to take a look.
That’s it in a nutshell. That’s what Christian and I are aiming for in less than six months. If you’ve signed on for updates or are clicking over from our Facebook page we truly appreciate it. As I said in my last post, we’re attempting a solitary sport but we count on you for encouragement.
By the way, I see we got our first contribution to the fundraiser. It’s just ten bucks from an anonymous donor but it’s a start! If you’re “pro-life” you’ll want to support this cause. If you’re “pro-choice” you should remember that Birth Choice of Dallas provides many women a choice they didn’t think they had, and think about helping out.