Hogan participated in the 2013 MR340 race this year. The race started right on time at 7am CST on Tuesday, July 23, 2013. Use this information page to follow along and see more details about the race. Last updated 11:04am Thursday.
Spot Tracker: If you wanted to follow Hogan specifically, we rented a spot tracker for the race. It updated about every 10 minutes. (Although it always seemed to take longer as he was reaching a checkpoint!) It was very helpful for tracking him – we heard that several wonderful friends were checking in at least hourly!
Race Tracker: If you want to see the overall field, go to RaceOwl.com. Be forewarned: the site has been up and down a lot…
|Checkpoint||Distance||Total Distance||Planned Time||Actual Time|
|Kansas City||0||0||7 am Tuesday||7 am|
|Lexington||50||50||2 pm Tuesday||2:26 pm|
|Waverly||23||73||6 pm Tuesday||6:00 pm|
|Miami||32||105||11 pm Tuesday||11:05 pm|
|Glasgow||36||141||5:30 am Wednesday||5:23 am|
|Katfish Katy’s||46||187||12:30 pm Wednesday||4:26 pm|
|Jeff City||36||223||8 pm Wednesday||x x x x x x|
|Hermann||36||269||5:30 am Thursday|
|Klondike||42||311||3 pm Thursday|
|St. Charles/Finish||27||338||7 pm Thursday|
Race Updates (FINAL REPORT – See new photos below – check later for Hogan’s thoughts):
8:40pm Wed – The equipment failure was too much to overcome. When Hogan reached Katfish Katy’s, just south of I-70 near Columbia, he had blisters from paddling. After training for pedal power, it seems that his body could not take much more than 100 miles of paddle power. Hogan pulled out of the race at 4:26 this evening. Danelle drove home while Hogan and Henry slept – we are all home safely.
8:55am Wed – Hogan got under way again at 8:00 after a couple of hours of sleep. It was a rough start to the morning and it sounds like giving up crossed his mind for a moment, but this is Hogan we’re talking about! Hopefully the beautiful weather on an amazing river will lift his spirits. By the way, as of the most recent RaceOwl post, Hogan is in 34th place in a field of 274 boats. 53 racers have already dropped out.
5:30am Wed – You are getting sleepy…. Well, I know I am, and I’m sure Hogan must be! Despite the equipment failures, he has managed to get ahead of his planned time. Unfortunately, he skipped his sleep to do it. He must have had some good conversations going! It appears that he has pulled the kayak off the water at Glasgow to catch his 40 winks. Then the long slog to Catfish Katy’s – the second longest leg of the whole race.
11:17pm Tue – Hogan has made it to Miami and is off again for Glasgow and he’s moved up to 43rd place! He will probably be paddling in company with others – more eyes to watch for trouble and company to keep awake! He has planned for about 90 minutes of sleep along the way (off the water, of course), so hopefully he will be a bit refreshed when we catch up with him again in the morning. Expect this to be the last post of the night. I’ll try to post again in the morning once he’s passed Glasgow, but after that my internet connection may be sporatic. Sweet dreams, all!
7:52pm Tue – DOH!!! The damaged pedal drive is now totally non-functional. Hogan is still in the race and not planning to give up, but he is totally on paddle power rather than pedal power. It sounds like the part I got will not do the trick anymore and we will need to replace the whole drive. I’d love to bring him a new drive in the morning, but the shop is closed and won’t re-open until a half hour after my train leaves…
Here is the pedal drive with the damages circled.
7:25pm Tue – They finally got the RaceOwl site updated; Hogan has made up all his lost time!! And he gained ground in the field with only 50 boats ahead of him. And all this with a damaged kayak. Not to worry – I picked up the part he needs and will have it waiting for him tomorrow in Jefferson City!
6:08pm Tue – Hogan made up some time. The RaceOwl site hasn’t been updating, at least, not for me. Thankfully the Spot Tracker has been fairly reliable. He is at Waverly now!
2:33pm Tue – Hogan has checked in. He has about 60 boats ahead of him.
1:36pm Tue – Nine paddlers have reached the first checkpoint. Hogan has about 40 minutes to go till the checkpoint at Lexington. His pedal drive has been giving him trouble. It appears that the drive’s wheel is warped, so I’ll be going out to pick up replacement parts in St. Louis after he reaches the checkpoint; I think I know what parts we need, but Henry will text me a photo. The more information I have, the more likely the repair will work. Tomorrow, I will catch the train to Jefferson City to get the parts to Hogan and to relieve Henry. It wouldn’t be the MR340 without a little bit of drama!!
9:52am Tue – Not quite 3 hours in, and Hogan has passed the 20-mile mark. He is pretty close to his planned pace, despite some technical difficulties. The pedal drive in his kayak was a bit too ‘loose’. Henry has set out to get the needed tools, so hopefully Hogan will be able to do even better after minor repairs at the first checkpoint.
6:30am Tue – Hogan called home about a half hour before the start. He was very excited and energetic and ready to go!
Hogan and Henry loading the kayak for the trip.
On the road at 8:30am Monday for the drive to Kansas City at Kaw Point.
Michael Doty (pictured) and his partner Jack Murgittroyd rode to KC with Hogan and Henry. In return, they let Hogan paddle for a bit on Monday afternoon in their Kruger canoe. Hogan has been wanting to be in a Kruger canoe ever since he first read about Verlen Kruger and the amazing paddling adventures he underwent!
This event drew a lot of racers. Here is part of the crowd at the safety meeting. Safety First!!
Gotta get the pedal drive settled in properly. We wouldn’t want anything to go wrong, would we……….
Hogan getting settled in before the start. (“You’re going the wrong way!”)
And they’re off!!
Hogan making his way in to Katfish Katy’s.
Kansas City’s Fox 4 News – Tuesday morning
Hogan’s Post Race Comments:
On Saturday, I slowly started gathering things that I needed for the race to be packed. We had a few things to do during the day that distracted from packing. However, we did find time to make it to Sam’s Club and pick up lots of snack food items to nurish me during the race. I was going to have an oatmeal cream pie, and nutty bar for every leg of the race! I got some other snacks that were more on the healthy side, but I wanted food that I would want to eat at every stop!
Sunday morning after church, I began the real packing. I made up bags for each checkpoint that had all of the supplies I needed and a note for the things like water that wouldn’t fit inside of the bag. Everything that I was going to need to make the race was coming together nicely. I next went outside to my van and began an hour long process of vacuuming and picking up trash out of it. If Henry was going to be living out of it, I was going to make it as nice as possible. Plus I was going to be transporting strangers.
With my van empty, I began re-filling it with the tools of my race. Boat parts, paddles, batteries, food, water. I was afraid I took too much stuff as the van filled up quickly, but it was all stuff to help me finish the race in good time. With the middle seats out of the van, it wouldn’t be too bad. Now I had to hope that Michael and Jack didn’t have too much stuff to go with mine!
Monday morning, I was up at 6:30am, ready to start the race. Of course we still had to drive to Kansas City before I could start on Tuesday morning. After Henry and I got ready, we went to the Kolache Factory and purchased breakfast for us and our new passengers. Then we took a leisurely drive up to St. Charles. As we arrived in the parking lot, there was a truck with a boat on the ground next to it. As we pulled up, a man was in the cab continuing to unpack the truck. Henry and I introduced ourselves to Michael. A short time later, Jack came walking back from looking at the river.
With introductions out of the way, they promptly presented us with some gifts. Henry and I received a patch from Verlen Kruger’s 28,000 Ultimate Challenge and some published papers of his travels. It may not sound like much, but we were quite excited to receive the materials and consider them a treasured possession! The final gift was two posters. Henry and I fussed over where to put these so they would stay in prime condition.
The drive out was filled with conversation about each others background learning about our new friends and them about us. Around the half way mark, we stopped for fuel and then a few miles later in Rocheport, MO. There, we went to Les Bourgeois winery at their overlook of the Missouri river. This is nearly the half way of the race and a fantastic way to look at the river. Michael and Jack were quite pleased to view the river from above and enjoy its beauty.
We arrived with the help of the GPS on Henry’s phone at Kaw point early in the afternoon. We each unloaded our boats and left them out with all of the other boats. Having the boats off the top of the van made it much easier to drive around without worrying about the boats. We walked around and talked to people for a bit. We made an appearance at the official hotel to check into the race. After checking, we headed to Michael and Jack’s hotel in Westport. Henry and I needed to go to my parents house in town and pick up a few things. After a discussion, Jack and Michael decided to go with us to be in the air conditioning. We stopped at a liquor store and picked up some beers and headed off. The guys in the back drank while Henry and I abstained in the front seats.
The trip to my parents and back took about 2 hours and we were back to Kaw point. There, I meet up with Scott Reeves. He was one of the other peddle powered competitors in my division. Its worth mentioning that Scott got first place in our division, smashing the previous record by 15 hours! After some boat talk, Michael, Henry, and I headed out to a local bar to eat, leaving Jack at Kaw point.. By the time we got there, we were famished.
Lucky for us, the bartender was quite pleasing on the eyes. She was pleasant to talk to along with the guy next to us. The food was good, but we decided water would be better than beer in our condition. After an excellent meal, we had to rush back to pick up Jack and get to the safety meeting. Arriving at the meeting, there was no parking, so I dropped off the group and parked. By the time I walked in, the meeting had started and it was full. We ended up standing on the outside of the hall trying to listen. I truly wanted to stay for the whole meeting, but being outside of the room, it was very hard to listen. Ultimately, we left early back to the hotel to get as much sleep as possible before the race.
I’ve been told 100 times never to change your plans before the race. We were offered to stay in Jack and Michael’s room before the race instead of sleeping in the van. It sounded like a great idea and the van was full of stuff that would have made it hard to sleep in it. We accepted and went to their suite that was basically two rooms. They took the room with the beds and Henry and I had the other. Henry blew up a mattress he brought from my parents house and I used the fold out sofa bed. Lucky for me, the fold out bed had a sheet on the mattress and another one to cover up with. I brought up my sleeping pad for the race and the sheet I was going to use with it. I gave my sheet to Henry so we each had one.
We all said goodnight and the lights went off. This is when things started to go slightly off track. There was random noise coming from Jack and Michael’s room. Then I heard a distinct “Momma Momma”. This was followed a couple minutes later by the room’s clock radio blaring at full volume. After a while, I was able to ignore it and went to sleep. Later I woke up freezing cold. I realized that they must have set the AC to the coldest possible setting. I walked across the room and did my best to close the vent in the ceiling but the controls were in the other room. While I was up, I took my phone off the charger and put Henry’s on as his battery was dead. I woke up several more times in the night putting more clothes on as I was freezing and even gave Henry my other set of pants.
In the morning, things continued to be weird. We woke up at 5 am and started getting ready to leave the hotel. As Jack emerged from his room, he made coffee and didn’t seem to happy. Without getting too into the details, Jack and Michael had a verbal disagreement. It turns out that Jack was snoring and Michael was trying to get him to stop. What could have been a mild disagreement was extended by neither seeing the others point or apologizing. Henry and I stayed out of the way in shock. When we finally loaded up the van and were leaving, it was a rather quiet ride back to Kaw Point. We did stop at McDonald’s for more coffee and some food.
When we arrived at Kaw Point and parked, we wished Jack and Michael luck and went to work getting supplies to the boat to get it set up for the race. I barked out orders of what I wanted to Henry and then went to the boat to put things in it the way that I wanted for the race. I had completed several long paddles and had a pretty good feel for how I wanted things set up and went to work to make them that way. I had to send Henry back to the van to get some things he missed on his first trip, but we were making good time. When Henry came back, we had everything that I needed to paddle and we walked the boat down the ramp to the water.
I hadn’t put the pedal drive in yet, so it was sitting on my lap and I used my single blade (canoe paddle) to move me out into the river so I could finish setting up the boat. Once I was out far enough, I slipped the pedal drive down into its slot, but it wouldn’t stick. Noticing that I was floating down with the current, I repositioned myself further up river before I tried again to get the pedal drive seated into its holder. On the second try, it still didn’t work. I’ve not had issues with it in the past, so I was slightly concerned. I scooted up out of my seat forward in the boat with my feet hanging down in the water. It took about 5 more tries before the pedal drive settled down and locked into position.
With the drive in place, I started to pedal upstream out of the way as there were about 15 more minutes before the race started at 7 am. As I pedaled, I noticed that a cable on the pedal drive slipped off track. I pulled the drive out and set it in place and the drive locked back in place the first time. A few pedals later and the cable slipped right off track again. I was frustrated, and pulled the drive system to look at it. It seemed to me that it just needed to be tightened up. Of course I never thought to bring tools for the pedal drive, so I called Henry and asked him to figure out what size wrench I needed and have it ASAP.
With a pedal drive that was only operating on half of the mechanism it was designed for, I figured it was best to take it easy. My plan was to start near the back and pick off people as the race went on. Typically people start out the race too fast including me and I didn’t want to have that happen to me. So I took my time passing people nice and slowly, but not too many. I knew I would pass many more as the day wore on.
I didn’t talk to many people, instead focusing on the race and trying to maintain my speed and stay in the channel. People were interested in my boat and wondered how it worked. Part of it was just being so different from most of the other boats. The most common reaction came when I would eat while paddling while others had to keep using their hands if they wanted any forward momentum.
Henry couldn’t get the tools I needed before I got to La Banette, so I kept going. By the time I got to Fort Osage ramp, Henry was there with the wrench I was looking for. I had to cross to the wrong side of the river to get to the ramp, but I was excited to get supplies and have the boat back at full strength. After getting the wrench, I pushed back out into the river to let it carry me downstream while I worked getting some progress during the fix. I made numerous adjustments to the drive and every one of them failed with the cable coming off the track. Upon closer inspection, the track is a pulley to guide the cable and move the pedal drive. The track on the pulley got misshapen and didn’t have the required U shape to guide the cable.
Frustrated, I called Henry back and let him know the situation. I decided to keep on going easy on the pedals while Henry worked out a spare of some sort. He called Danelle and she was able to go to St. Louis Sail and Paddle where we purchased the boat and get a spare. Since she was coming out the next day on the train, she would bring it then. With part in hand just 24 some hours away, I was relieved and kept at my race. My plan that I was sticking to was to peddle 8 miles and paddle 2 miles to give my body a rest. Things were going as well as they could for me.
Its worth mentioning that to cut down on congestion at the start and checkpoints, the race now has two separate starts. All solo competitors start at 7 am while boats with 2 or more start at 8 am. There was much talk about when the first boat would pass. I suggested that it would happen around 11am. I was off by an hour. I distinctly remember being 22 miles into the race and being passed by a 6 man Texas boat like I was standing still. I guessed that they were moving close to 11 mph. It seemed like a crazy number, but I heard that they averaged over 10 mph going into the first checkpoint. Team Winter Is Coming finished the race with a new all time record in the 35 hour time frame. It took them 2 hours tocatch me paddling for 3 hours. Frustrating and impressive at the same time!
As I neared the first checkpoint of the race, I realized that I had not urinated at all and I was about 6 hours since the start at this time. I realized that this could be a very bad thing for me if I didn’t start going soon. So I started taking a drink every few minutes even if I didn’t feel like it. By the time I went for the first time, it was a bad color and I just kept drinking. I know how important hydration is and vowed not to leave the race due to not drinking enough.
Lexington was the first checkpoint. When I pulled up, the plan was for a touch and go. Henry agreed before we started that he would come out a bit into the water to help facilitate a quick transfer and send me on my merry way. The first stop went almost to plan. Henry came to the water, but didn’t want to get his fancy fraternity shoes wet. I didn’t’ want to get out of the boat, so it was a clumsy transfer. I suggested that he put on my sandals that I wasn’t planning on wearing during the race for the next stop instead of buying cheap water shoes at Wal-Mart.
Back on the water, I have a few more comments and called Henry to express my suggestions. Overall, he was a fantastic ground support, but I wanted him to try a few different things. By the time that I pulled into the Waverly checkpoint, Henry was ready for me. He was following my Spot Tracker and knew where I would be, making it easy for him to prepare. He came into the water to meet me wearing my sandals and quite pleased with them. He surprised me with two hamburgers that I was quite happy to receive.
All the way down the river, I planned on having some type of food every hour to the tune of 20 grams of carbs or more. This helped keep my energy up high all day. I was now 82 miles into the race and feeling good about my progress relative to the plan I had created. I happened to look behind me and see Jack and Michael coming up to pass me. I let out a loud “NOOOooooooooooooo!”. I couldn’t stop their relentless progress and had a quick discussion with them as they passed me. They were surprised it took them 82 miles to catch me, complimenting me on my speed as they steadily moved off in the distance. They are great paddlers, so I wasn’t surprised that they caught me.
I was now at a moment of the race where I was peddling between groups on my own. My hydration was back where it needed to be and I was eating and on target for time. If anything, I may have been too hydrated, but I do love my Gatorade. At my moment of happiness, tragedy struck. As I was peddling, I heard a huge snapping sound followed by my foot going forward way too fast. The pedals did nothing and I knew it was bad. I sat forward and pulled the pedal drive out. It turns out that the pulley in front was a critical piece. There was enough stress that a chain (like you see on a bicycle) snapped on the pedal drive system. In the process of snapping, it broke a plastic tooth that it used to propel the boat.
Frustrated, all I could do was laugh. I secured the pedal drive behind me in the boat and got out my cell phone. I posted on Facebook of my total equipment failure. Then I called Henry to tell him the whole pedal drive system broke. I was 85 miles into a 340 mile race. Another racer came by and asked what happened and I told him the story. When he asked what I was going to do, I said paddle the rest of the race. So I took out my single blade (canoe paddle) and started going to town.
Some of you might be wondering why I didn’t pull out a double blade (kayak paddle). First off, I did have one with me in the boat, but I don’t like them. I did very little training for the race that wasn’t using my feet with the pedal drive system. Historically I have been a canoe paddler and I just felt more comfortable with it. So I was off to paddle a few strokes on one side and switch to the other. For a while, I counted strokes in a rhythm to keep me distracted.
The pedal powered boat is a sit on top kayak. Traditionally sit on top boats are more wet than other kayaks. Add that to the fact that there was a huge hole between my legs where the pedal drive used to be. So now I have water lapping up in the boat and going back down. Hobie has a black plug that can lock in the hole when the pedal drive is not being used, but I never considered bring it with me for the race. Occasionally the water would get quite high and get into the seat section of the boat causing me to sit in a pool of water for the rest of the race!
I got to the Miami checkpoint at 11:05 pm. I don’t remember why, but I needed to pull the boat out of the water and get out of the way of the ramp. Miami is 105 miles into the race and this is the first time I have gotten out of the boat for the whole race. Henry had to run back to the van to get something but I was too tired to remember. While I was standing there at the ramp, I began to shiver. My whole body was freezing and my teeth were chattering.
Once I was able to get the boat back in the water and sit down, the river water came up into the boat splashing my legs. The river water was warm and immediately warmed up my body along with the paddling. It was full dark now just past 11 pm. As I pulled away, I was truly solo going through
the night. I had made no plans with anybody to paddle with them and I was still mildly frustrated at my equipment failure. I planned on approximately 7 hours of paddling until the next checkpoint.
To pass the time, I focused on paddling. At night, I’m like a dog chasing a car. I focus on the stern light of the next boat in front of me and paddle like a maniac until I pass it. I assume with this method that there are no wing dikes or other obstructions between myself and the boat in front of me. I do my best to follow the path they last took. As I pass one boat, I say hi and focus on the next boat. I worked on this method all night! I even went so far as to count my paddle strokes to take my mind off the task at hand.
Funny thing is that this method works amazingly well! I ended up passing every boat in front of me that I could see until I was the lead boat of the group, then I slowed down. I wasn’t quite sure where to go and slowed down. Eventually the Penny A Gallon dragon boat passed me and there was nothing I could do to catch them once they put the hammer down.
Somewhere along the way, I caught up with Shane Perrin. He is a local celebrity in the Stand Up Paddle board community. He was the only person to complete the MR340 on a paddle board to date. I paddled with him for over an hour until he had to pull over for a bio break. As the sun was coming up, I was surprisingly awake. It was nearly 5:30 in the morning when I pulled into Glasgow.
At this point, I had been eating every hour for almost 24 hours straight and I needed to have a bio break myself. I was surprisingly not as tired as I expected. However, I decided to pull out for a 100 minute nap and a toilet. As soon as I got out of the water and got the boat up on the ramp, I started shivering again. After the bathroom break, I stripped down to my bike shorts and slept on the floor of the van. Henry had kindly turned on the heat and I was loving it. There was some commotion with the gentleman next to us who had a slow leak in his tire.
I had an extremely fitful sleep if I slept at all. I remember asking Henry twice if it has been 100 minutes yet. Coming in at daybreak and waking up to nearly full light has the effect of making you feel as if you overslept. When I did finally wake up from sleep, or rather give up on trying to finish out my 100 minute nap, I felt awful! I contemplated quitting the race. I had my breakfast donuts, but they didn’t really hit the spot. Henry offered me pizza from the day before and I about got sick. I told him, “No more pizza or oatmeal cream pies”. The thought of those two foods was nearly unbearable. I got two Ibuprofen from Henry and he swears I took two before I went to sleep, but I don’t believe it.
The cell reception at the Glasgow checkpoint for t-mobile customers is non-existent. I wanted more than anything to talk to my wife! Henry is great ground support, but my life is built around this woman. Nobody knows me better and could have calmed and comforted me more! I knew that I wasn’t going to quit deep down inside, but I wanted her to tell me. I probably spent 30 minutes still feeling a bit cold and walking like a crippled 90 year old man before I was ready to commit more time to the wretched boat. Finally with determination set, I put on my wet pants. Then I opted for a dry shirt. I didn’t bring a spare shirt, but we received a nice white wicking shirt for entry into the race.
Dressed, Henry and I carried the boat back down the ramp and I put into the water. I started a slow warm up paddle down the river. I still didn’t feel 100 percent, so I checked my cell phone for text messages from the previous day that I had yet to read. Two messages stuck out to me. One from my brother Hiatt encouraging me not to be a sissy and keep going. The other from Ryan telling me that everybody at work was cheering me on and looking at the Spot Tracker.
I started rhythmically counting my paddle strokes getting back into the race. I knew that I had to work hard if I was going to make it. In fact, the 60 hour goal was still in sight if I just kept at it! I even saw what I thought was Shane Perrin ahead of me and I kept going trying to catch him. Ultimately, he disappeared in the distance as I couldn’t keep up with him.
Around the 150 mile mark on the GPS, I heard a rushing sound and realized that I was very close to the chute for Lisbon Bottoms. I kept going and enjoyed viewing it from the comfort of daylight. As I rounded the turn, I enjoyed a calm section of river with a wonderful sand bar at this level of water. Just a few miles past, there is a group of people that read your boat number and call out your name wishing you well in the race. This was a wonderful treat hearing their encouragement.
Approximately 5 miles before I reached Boonville, MO on the river, things took a turn south. I realized that my arm pits were getting sore. I was having trouble paddling on the right side as it was rubbing raw. I met up with another paddler and did something no man should ever do in his life… I asked another man if he had any lube. After searching, he didn’t have any on him, but called his parents who were waiting at Franklin Island. His parents found his lube and were waiting for me. So when I pulled over at the ramp, his mother gave me lube to use on my arm pit. I applied liberally and thanked her for helping and was on my way.
The lubrication worked for about 15 minutes before it wore off and my pit started hurting again. Around this time Brett Dufur paddled by and slowed to talk with me. Brett is a fantastic guy that Henry and I paddled with in 2009. He wrote a published article in the Missouri conservationist about the mr340. He encouraged me to finish by any means necessary. He was very positive but worried that I woudl be upset with myself if I didn’t finish. Eventually he wanted to speed up and took off.
Later, Shane Perrin came paddling up to me and I realized that I didn’t see him earlier in the day. We talked for a while. He was worried that he would have to pull out of the race at Katfish Katy’s because his SUP board was de-lamaniting. Shane said that it was getting soft under his feet and was worried that he was doing damage to it by continuing. He was going to get in contact with the manufacturer and see what they recommended before continuing. When discussing my predicament, Shane recommended taking care of my body. He said that there would always be more races, but I needed to be healthy to do them. This was the advice I was looking for.
With my mind made up, I was going to quit for sure at Katfish Katy’s. Now I just needed to talk to Danelle. Like I mentioned earlier, my life revolves around my wife, Danelle. I wanted badly to hear her voice and know that she agreed with my decision. Unfortunately for me, she didn’t answer her phone. She was scheduled to show up on the train in Jeff City some time in the afternoon. I was worried that she would be waiting at the train stop to see Henry and I pull up with the boat quitting before she ever saw me.
The last few miles into Katfish Katy’s were horrible. Not paddling made the trip twice as long! I tried to enjoy every moment floating in. The river allowed her beauty to show and all I did was take it in. I made the occasional paddle stroke to keep the boat straight, but not for forward progress. When I did paddle, my arms were up in the air to avoid my arm pits rubbing. By the time I saw Katfish Katy’s, I was ready to call it a race. I talked myself into it 100 different ways.
As I approached the ramp, I could see Danelle from a distance and I was happy! Her presence made my defeat easier. She was happy to see me and accepted my statement that the race was over. There were 24 some hours before the checkpoint closed and she offered to drive to St. Louis and get me another pedal drive system, but I declined. I worried that the next drive would fail and I would be stuck paddling a broken boat again with bad arm pits. I was probably on land less than an hour before we had the boat packed up and were on the way back to St. Louis.
The hardest part of the whole race for me was going back to the finish line for the awards ceremony. I had many friends getting awards for the amazing accomplishment they just had. I got there early to drink a beer with Mark and Jack. I also picked up a paddle from somebody selling on the message board. I was able to stay through all of the awards until the solo pedal drive group was up. After Scott Reeves got his award as the only finisher, I couldn’t stay any longer and had to head home.
Looking back, I broke two cardinal rules that threw the race for me. First, never stop at a checkpoint. I should have gone poop and moved on from Glasgow. This leads me to my second broken rule. NO NEW EQUIPMENT! At Glasgow, I took a new shirt that I had never paddled with and wore it out on the river. Its my belief that the larger seams in the new shirt caused my armpit rash. Had I put on my wet old shirt or kept going past Glasgow, I would have had on my training shirt that didn’t cause me issues.
Those two rules aside, I also have to blame the boat. I can’t honestly recommend that anybody purchase let alone race a Hobie Mirage drive boat on the MR 340. The only person that finished with a pedal drive [Scott Reeves], had numerous replacement parts along with a full replacement pedal drive. He ended up needing the replacement pedal drive to finish the race.
My final note about the race is that solo is lonely. While I have complained in the past about Henry sleeping in the boat, I miss him. The biggest value of the race is being able to share it with other people. While there are others that I can talk to about the race, only Henry understands what I have gone through. He was with me for the first two in the boat and the last one as ground crew. There is no better way than tandem. Of course, I’ve been told that I’m a talker…