Friday, January 16, 2009

Got In Just Under the Wire

After realizing the Yukon1000 race wasn’t going to happen for me this year (Life's Disappointments), I began to look around for other paddling challenges. I wanted something that wouldn’t take too long, as I’m also planning a few recreational paddling and sailing trips this year, and I wanted something that I’d really enjoy in my Kruger Dreamcatcher.

One that certainly interested me was the Ultimate Hugh Heward Challenge, sponsored by the Verlen Kruger Memorial. This challenge follows the original route of the Heward party from Detroit to Chicago include many different water conditions including up river travel, big open water on Lake Michigan and Lake Erie, numerous portages and adverse springtime weather. A real challenge! Unfortunately, 3 weeks is a too long for me now, and April is too soon after the WaterTribe EC.

Then I started looking at the MR340 race. Kansas City to Saint Louis on the Missouri River, or as my husband has dubbed it the Misery340. I’d previously paddled this Challenge in 2007 with my son Alan (trip reports are posted in my July and August 2007 archives). It seems a number of WaterTribe alums and good friends were already registered, including Super Boo, the young girl who completed the Everglades Challenge last year, paddling with her Dad. She's still at it, raising awareness for breast cancer research through participation in small-boat adventures and challenges.

They’ve made a few changes to the MR340, the new cutpoint is 88 hrs instead of 100, that’s good, I’d previously finished it in 68 hours. Carter Johnson, 24 hr record holder, finished it last year in 38 hrs (the difference between a racer and a cruiser). They’ve also increased the participation to 200, and have planned a bigger and better finish and awards ceremony at the end.

This challenge actually starts with a big party, their Captains meeting the evening before the race is a must see, unlike any I'd been too, and with land support teams at all the checkpoints cheering on the paddlers, it’s a lot of fun. The increased number of paddlers on the water is really going to add to the total fun factor as well.

They were just a few shy of meeting their 200 registrants when I decided to go for it, and got one of the last few slots. Guess my WaterTribe EC will now be training for the MR340.


Capt'n O Dark 30 & Super Boo said...

Welcome to the show!!

Anonymous said...

We're so glad to have you back, SandyBottom. The craziness for the '09 MR340 should be even more than '08, which was a blast. If you need a local contact, don't hestitate to reach out to me. You can reach me by IM on the rivermiles forum or by e-mail at

Welcome back,

Scott Mansker said...

21 women's soloists entered so far. Our best year ever. Thanks for joining us again.