In order to get prepared for the MR340 this year, I planned two overnight training runs. This was the second and last training run. My plan was to go from Jefferson City [Noreen Access] back to St. Charles [Blanchette Access]. This route is approximately 117 river miles. I didn’t want to go alone and I’m glad that I didn’t! I posted my training plans on the forum and waited. I sweetened the deal by providing a shuttle for the first two people. I got one response from Bob saying that he was up for the trip and thought he could talk his friend Charles into joining us as well.
On the morning of 6/22, Ryan volunteered to drive us out to Jeff City and come back on his own to save us a trip after paddling. I probably still owe him more beer for that favor! Ryan walked over to my house around 6 am for our trip to begin. We started out going to the Kolache Factory for breakfast. This was my first introduction to a kolache. With that amazing and tasty breakfast filling our fat bellies, we were off to St. Charles to meet Bob and Charles.
Ryan and I were early, so we took the long way when we got into St. Charles. While driving slowly, we got a text from Bob stating that he would be a bit late as he had domestic duties to take care of. When we did get to the ramp, we saw the glimpse of a lady leaving with a bright yellow canoe. Ryan and I being guys are always trying to one up each other pointing out pretty ladies. At the ramp, we were the first ones there and parked to look around. We noticed the cute lady coming back into the parking lot a few minutes later. We quickly realized that the lady was actually a “Charles” with a cleanly shaven head. We make introductions and wait for Bob.
It didn’t take too long for Bob to show up. We made full introductions and started loading up the boats on top of my van. Ryan patiently waited while we got situated and took off for Jefferson city.
Bob, Hogan, Charles
We had a nice drive to Jeff City with one stop for supplies in Kingdom city. It took about 30 minutes to get the boats unloaded, setup and a final bathroom break before getting out on the water.
The paddle was scheduled for 120 ish miles and we got out around 10 am. I peddled my boat while the guys paddled. I occasionally had to slow down for them, but wanted to stick together. The weather was mostly good, but started to get questionable. By the time we got to Hermann Missouri ramp, we had thunder and lightning on the horizon in front of us. We decided to lay up at Hermann and wait out the weather.
We ended up staying at the ramp for a little over an hour before deciding that it was safe to move on. We spent the time eating snacks and making trips to the restroom. Talking with some locals, they were freaked out at the idea of being on the river after dark. We didn’t let their fear scare us from continuing on. All the time that we were at the ramp, there were fisherman going in and out. As we left, a fisherman told me to come over to his boat and check out the catfish that he caught. I wish that I had gotten a photo, the fish had to be 5 feet long and close to 100 pounds, still breathing in the bottom of the boat! Its hard to imagine fish this big in any river!
As we continued down the river, we started getting tired and Charles was wearing out. He participates in martial arts and had bruised ribs from some sparing that was getting worse. Eventually, Charles pulled out at the New Haven ramp and called his wife to come pick him up. Bob and I continued on. This was by far the longest paddle I had done training for the MR340. I was starting to feel stinging on my legs and other areas but kept going. We stopped at the Washington, MO ramp and I seriously considered pulling out. I couldn’t talk Bob into it, so we continued on.
We finished at the Blanchette ramp some time after 4 am. The GPS showed 117 miles paddled and I was spent. We loaded up the boats and Bob started driving me home. I fell asleep several times on the drive home. I have no idea how Bob stayed awake to drive me home and then go back home himself.
Looking at my painful leg the next day, I found the following…
The red spot you see below is now a scab. Its the only one I care to share. While I didn’t perform as well as I wanted during the paddle, I learned a valuable lesson about being wet and chafing. I ended up getting a pair of stretchy bicycle shorts for future long paddles to prevent this type of pain!
Who knows I had so much to learn after completing 2 MR340 races.