If you haven’t heard of the MR340, you should. Its a 340 mile paddling race from Kansas City to St. Louis on the Missouri river. I’ve done it a few times and written about it on here. This year, I didn’t paddle, but I did volunteer at the Klondike ramp and of course go to the finish line after work on Friday to celebrate.
First, our time at Klondike. I was scheduled from 6 pm to midnight on Thursday night at Klondike ramp. Corvin couldn’t make it, but Sonora came out with me. We started by going to the finish line in St. Charles as its mostly on the way. I have tons of friends from the race and one of them, Jon Marble was about to finish. I was looking forward to welcoming him at the finish line. He had a rough race, having his boat broken half way through. He fixed it and continued on determined to finish the race.
Before he came in, I got a frantic message from his wife, Colleen. She asked me to call her ASAP. I called and got voice mail and called a second time to no avail. I messaged her that the number didn’t work. I gave her my number and she called me. When caller ID showed up, she was off by 1 number. Turns out that her son was in a car accident (not his fault) and she couldn’t make it to the finish line. I assured her that I would drop everything and make sure Jon knew all was safe.
At this point, I contacted JoJo to let her know that I was going to be late and what was going on. JoJo and I planned to hand out Klondike Bars at the Klondike ramp. Since she was off work, she did all the leg work with dry ice and getting the Klondike bars. So she headed to the ramp ahead of me.
Back at the finish line, I greeted Jon and let him know what was going on. I also managed to perform a live stream of the finish on Facebook so Colleen could watch at the hospital while she waited for results (no serious injuries). It was a bittersweet way to finish the race, but I helped keep them all together!
Jon coming in strong for a finish.
Jon at the finish line.
Once Jon was in and settled, another close friend of his was there to help out. So I headed out to the Klondike ramp to assist paddlers till midnight.
The feel at the ramp was electric. All of the people here are just 27 miles from finishing an epic adventure. This is the last rest/supply before they go on to finish their race!
At the ramp, our job was to help the racers out. Here, you can see JoJo carefully pulling out a boat.
Here are two safety boats. These motorboats often spend the whole week following the race down the river and helping out paddlers that get into trouble.
Time for a quick beverage break. It looks like we moved in with these three chairs, but we are here for a long time 🙂
Once we gave away the last Klondike bar, the only sensible thing to do was pour the dry ice into the river and stand in the fog.
And of course, the race wouldn’t be complete without going back to the finish line on Friday to celebrate a great race!
Here is a 12 person stand up paddle board that finished the race!
Mandy and Di are a force to be reckoned with. They even get their own signs!
One of the coolest things about this race is the any boat and participate as long as its paddled or pedaled. In this case, it was both. Its the first paddle wheel boat I’ve ever seen, and very cool!
If you have never done the race, come out and volunteer, you’ll be hooked!