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2011 MR340: Playing the hand we're dealt. (Read 65072 times)
06/04/11 at 23:41:59
Scott   Ex Member

 
With 44 days left before the start of the MR340, some undeniable realities are staring us down hard.  I look at river gauges every day of my life.... every gauge in the Missouri River system from Toston to St. Charles... I know them all by heart.  2011 is going in the history books.  There will be farmers who never get their crops planted this year... there will be fields that never get planted again because there will be 6 feet of sand left behind.  There will be homes rendered unlivable.  There will be a new definition of "flood plain" for lots of folks.

The math is pretty hard to argue with.  We're dealing with water and gravity here.  That water is on a collision course with the Gulf of Mexico and it knows the easiest way to get there. 

The Missouri River is about to be closed to recreational traffic over the entire course of the MR340.  Soon, it will likely be closed to commercial traffic as well, to protect levies that will become more fragile day by day.  This is expected to go on for months.  July is not an option.  August, I'm told, is also not an option.  September is viable only in the most optimistic scenarios of dry, dry months between here and there.  And October is the second rainiest month for this part of the world.  And also expected to be at flood stage.

We have 600 paddlers with vacations scheduled and ground crews primed and boats rigged and training on pace.  There's a lot of energy and passion there ready to be expressed.  Rather than put you through the motions of a series of alternate dates with limited chances of success, we'd like to put a race on that's worthy of the work you've done to prepare yourselves.  A race to be held July 19th, 2011.

Back in 2005 when planning for the first race was underway, the original vision was for it to be held on the Kansas River.  A much shorter race, but equally as grueling of an adventure because of the challenges of a sandy, braided river.  The race was reconsidered for the Missouri because of some portages and other logistical issues.  It all turned out well and we've had wonderful success with the MR340.  But this year that door is closed, locked and under water.  So, we've dusted off the notes from 2005 on how to put on an ultra marathon on the Kansas or "Kaw" River.  That's where the race will be held this year, scheduled for the exact same time frame as the MR340, July 19th-22nd.

Details are firming up and will follow soon.  For the purposes of this post, here's what you need to know.

1. All basic rules will apply to the re-venued race.
2. The race will be approximately 150 miles long.
3. Tentative starting point will be Manhattan, KS.  Finish line is optimistically Kaw Point, though it is currently unusable due to flooding and will be underwater by this time next week.
4. There are boat ramps approx. every 10 miles on the Kansas River.
5. There will be 3 mandatory portages.
6. There will be checkpoints.  One at each of the 3 portages and likely 3 more... tbd.
7. In the event that the Kaw should be too dangerous due to flooding, the reschedule date would be August 9th.  Plan A would be the Missouri River, but if the math is still bleak, the August 9th race would be held on the Kaw.
8. Everyone is inconvenienced by this.
9. Become a fan of www.kansasriver.org ; Excellent website with maps and all access points.  Your ground crew will love you.
10. The Lawrence, KS portage can be ground crew assisted with a vehicle.  For those without ground crews, we will provide a portage shuttle.  First come, first served, running nonstop back and forth.  The other two portages, Topeka and Edwardsville, cannot be assisted.
11. If Kaw Point is still closed in July, the alternate finish line is Edwardsville, KS. 
12. There will be a mandatory safety meeting the night before the race in Manhattan, KS.  Venue TBD.
13. This race will be, in many ways, more challenging than the traditional MR340.
14. Next year, the race will return to the Missouri River.
15. First boats in will likely take 30 hours at normal July flows.  Less time if we end at Edwardsville which shortens the course to 135 miles.
16. The slowest boats may take up to 70 hours. 
17. Many will have quit by Topeka.
18. The race may have multiple starts due to the numbers of entrants.
19. Wind, heat, bugs and rain.
20. I'm dusting off the Kaw Warrior.

Scott

Please know that this is the result of lots of research into the situation in the Dakotas and the upper stretches of the river.  It was not a decision made lightly nor quickly nor drunkenly nor happily.  It's meant to make the best of a very nasty disaster that is unfolding in our friends and families backyards. 

The Kaw, for all her faults, has great infrastructure for a race like this.  The accesses are many, the roads are easy to navigate, the river is generally sedate.

There is still an unimaginable amount of work to be done by the Rivermiles team and we're working around the clock.  If things change and we have to make a major move, we'll let you know.  The intent of the venue change is to minimize the amount of moves you and your families have to make.  Keep your schedules, but change your starting and finish line.  We felt that was in everyone's best interest.  Especially when relying on the Missouri River this year would have likely meant  no race at all.

See you in Manhattan in 44 days.

Scott
 
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Reply #1 - 06/05/11 at 00:08:57

Meanhorse   Offline
5X MR340 Veteran
Kawlloween Veteran

Posts: 84
*****
 
Its a shame to be unable to race on the Missouri, but what the hell; it should be exciting to do some thing different.
                                                   *Jay*
 
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Reply #2 - 06/05/11 at 01:37:12

cronchetto   Offline
3X MR340 Veteran
Gritty Fitty Veteran
Columbia, Missouri

Posts: 93
***
 
That's so sad. Well, you just never know what you're gonna get! Have a fun and safe race everyone.
 

Age is a process of mind over matter, if you don't mind, it doesn't matter. -Mark Twain
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Reply #3 - 06/05/11 at 01:39:39

ventures   Offline
MR340 Veteran
2011 MR 340 veteran

Posts: 18
*
 
Looks like it is official. Missouri River is canceled. We are going to the Kaw. I do not know how I am going to work out the Manhattan drop.
Oh man, I can just hear all the boaters smashing things against the wall.
I hope the Kaw does not get cancelled.

Will we ever see the Missouri River race again?
 
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Reply #4 - 06/05/11 at 02:51:00

SkiBumJoe   Offline
2X MR340 Veteran
Race Volunteer
Kawnivore Veteran
Ballwin, MO

Posts: 506
**
 
Scott,

I hope to see everyone in Manhattan, KC.
 
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Reply #5 - 06/05/11 at 05:47:08
Scott   Ex Member

 
Here are a picture taken by Vicki Richmond Friday at Kaw Point.  Note that the biggest water from Gavins Point dam is yet to come.

 Click the link above the picture for easier viewing.
 
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Reply #6 - 06/05/11 at 06:10:31
Scott   Ex Member

 
The Kaw will be a different adventure, but definitely a memorable few days.  I suspect the finishing percentage will be more like 50% compared to the 70% we see during the 340.  Good lighting will be important as there are more snags.   "Deep" water at normal summer levels means it's up to your chest.  Sandbars all along the course for sleeping.  No barges.  Few fishing boats.  A couple of small dredges.  3 mandatory portages and a possible 4th depending on water level. 

Huge challenges for racers and volunteers.  We're working to make it a good experience.

We would switch everything back to the Missouri in a heartbeat if a miracle starts to manifest up in the mountains and badlands.  I've been looking for some reason to believe a miracle might happen up there, but all the experts just shake their heads.  Last year the Coast Guard "strongly suggested" we cancel the 340.  This year they've skipped right past suggesting.

Yes, we will be back on the Missouri next year for the 7th annual.  This is a Plan C scenario we're making do with for 2011.

Thanks for all the emails and phone calls over the last week with your support and offers of help.  We're going to need it!  You guys are an amazing group.

Scott
 
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Reply #7 - 06/05/11 at 06:18:29
Scott   Ex Member

 
The latest inside scoop.  This is the real deal. 



Missouri River Joint Information Conference Call Report
June 4, 2011
Friends:
The Missouri River Joint Information Center held a conference call this evening from the Division offices in Omaha, Nebraska.  Mr. Erik Blechinger, at the Missouri River Joint Information Center, hosted the call.  The following is information from the call:
Opening remarks:
The Phone Number for the Joint Information Center is:
(877) 214-9110.
The Joint Information Center is open 7am-8pm.  Phone calls are forwarded during non-working hours and will be answered 24/7.
The JIC responded to 1 Kansas City media requests and 5 Omaha media requests.
Current Weather Conditions:
Calm next 24 hours.  Low pressure building of the coast of California will move to Northern High Plains Monday night.  Potential rainfall Monday night to Tuesday in Western and Northern Montana and Western North Dakota.  Rainfall amounts of 1-2” are forecast in the western Upper basin next week.
Water Release and Reservoir Information:
The Reservoir Control Center will adjust releases with ever changing conditions.  Daily planned releases will be posted each day on the Division website around 4:00-4:30 each day.
Current plans for the reservoirs are as follows:
Fort Peck 30,000 cfs today,40,000 cfs on Sunday, to 45,000 cfs Monday and 50,000cfs (max release) by Tuesday
Garrison 115,000 today to 120,000 cfs by Sunday to 130,000 cfs Tuesday 150,000 cfs by Mid June.
Oahe  120,000cfs today, Then up 10,000 cfs per day until releases reach 150,000 cfs by Tuesday.
Big Bend 120,000cfs today, Then up 10,000 cfs per day until releases reach 150,000 cfs by Tuesday.
Randall  107,000cfs today, Then up 10,000 cfs per day until releases reach 138,000 cfs by Tuesday and to 150,000 cfs by Mid June
Gavins Point 100,000 cfs today, Then up 10,000 cfs per day until releases reach 140,000 cfs by Wednesday and to 150,000 cfs by Mid June.
The 10,000 cfs per day releases will be accomplished in a two-step process each day.
Releases are expected to stay high until early to mid August.
Releases are based on conditions on the ground and subject to change
Omaha District Update:
Stakeholders are reminder to use the Corps websites, twitter and Facebook for information.  The Information Center continues to field may questions as well.
Levees in Bismarck and Mandan in North Dakota are complete and the levees in Pierre, South Dakota is 99% complete.
The height of the Omaha Levee System is 40’.  Current forecast predict the stage to reach 34-36’ by Mid June and sty there until at least August.
Omaha issued 12.5 Million sandbags, 16 pumps and 1,400 rolls of poly.  They have more resources on the way.
Levee sponsors at Levee L-575 near Hamburg, IA found seepage spots in the levee top. Engineers are working on the problem there.  Failure could impact I-29 or the City of Hamburg.
Kansas City District Update:
The KC District is preparing for the high water and is assisting Missouri River stakeholders.
Levee Sponsors who may be considering an intentional breach MUST coordinate with the Corps to continue to be eligible for P84-99 assistance.
Milford dam is under increased surveillance.
Tributaries remain in good shape on the lower Missouri River.
The Kansas City District 1. 5 million sandbags on hand.  They have issued 250,000 sandbags and 3 pumps.  All the sandbag machines are being used in the field.  Contracts are in place for more sandbag machines and pumps if needed.
The KC District has placed inundation maps on their website.
There is no restriction on navigation at this time.
The KC District is doing work on levees 471-460 and at 497 Forest City.  This work should be completed soon.
The Missouri State Emergency Operations Center is operating from 7am to 7pm.
Friend at L-497 Levee in Holt County report 40 end dump trucks arrived.  24/7 seepage repair operations in full swing.
General McMahon cautions the Corps does not know what the worse case scenario is and we have not seen the worse case scenario.  Conditions can change rapidly.  Everyone should remain alert to forecasts and information being provided.
Due to the expanding number of people on my list, I have blind copied everyone to avoid the long list of names at the beginning of the report.  I am still adding names to the list.  If you know someone who would like to be added, simply have them send me a message, so I will have their e-mail address.  I also set up a twitter site for the Missouri Levee and Drainage District Association and will slowly be putting some information on twitter at:  @MissouriLevees
Thanks to everyone for their positive feedback.  We are still planting soybeans, so some reports may come later in the evening, but I will do my best to keep the information coming.

Tom Waters
Missouri Levee & Drainage District Association
 
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Reply #8 - 06/05/11 at 06:29:33

jimmiethejet   Offline
MR340 Veteran

Posts: 435
*
 
Scott
   I know this was hard for you.....and hard for us and everyone around the Missouri river corridor.  Thanks for all you do.  We purchased an OC-2 for this year's race.  Beautiful boat.......I don't want to scrape it down the Kaw.  We don't have a back up beater.  What is plan B for those of us who don't want to do the Kaw?  Thanks

Jim
 
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Reply #9 - 06/05/11 at 07:39:17

Hellbender   Offline
2X MR340 Veteran
Kawnivore Veteran
Gritty Fitty Veteran
Race Volunteer
paddl-in dave

Posts: 259
**
 
Dang - Oh well finishing my home renovation was my priority this summer anyway-this means more time on the house and less in the boat ths month.   The wifes gonna be happy for that reason.    I was just walking out the door for a 6 mile workout when I read the news.   Guess Ill skip the paddle  and start laying some wood flooring today.   Or maybe put my dog and a fishing pole in my royalex boat and spend a couple hours on the backed and still flooded Black river do a lil paddling and fishing in the flooded forest...

The cards were pretty easy to read on this one, you could see a postpone or cancellation looming so no real surprise.    Vouchers again ths year an option?   Kansas is a long way fom SE MO........
 

Hellbenders have flat bodies and heads, with beady dorsal eyes and slimy skin
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Reply #10 - 06/05/11 at 08:15:28

rookinIraq   Offline
MR340 Veteran

Posts: 17
*
 
Scott
    Thanks for keeping us up to date on all of the info. I am sure this was hard to call to make, and at the same time an easy one for our safety.  I'm ganna do my best to get there any way. Heck I am comming from Iraq what's another few hundred miles East. I think I might have a lot more MRE requests with the challange of groud crews.  I say bring on the Kaw and to a whole new set of records. I am glad I donated to river miles that sticker will be a collectors item.

Good luck to everyone,

Hope to meet you all. No matter where it is, as long as it's wet.
 
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Reply #11 - 06/05/11 at 08:38:43

yankeeclipper   Offline
MR340 Veteran
4X Gritty Fitty Veteran
Kawlloween Veteran
2X Ground Crew Veteran
Katy 50 Veteran
Kawnivore Veteran

Posts: 1418
*
 
I have two boats for rent that are perfect for this type of river running-18.5 Sawyer fiberglass crusier and 18.5 Beaver lowline aluminum, $125.00 each these are the canoes to have for the Kaw's shallows (assuming its going to be shallow, you never know this year) both have sliding seats.
call 573-442-7109 Charlie
 
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Reply #12 - 06/05/11 at 09:17:09

Christina   Offline
5X MR340 Veteran
2X MR340 Record Holder
Kawnivore Veteran
Kawnivore Record Holder
3X Gritty Veteran
Kawlloween Veteran

Posts: 534
*****
 
For those of you who have never paddled the Kaw, it's worth it for you to try and come out to look at some sections of it if you can.  Including a portage would be good as well as any runs that don't include DeSoto to Kansas City - as that area is not consistent with what the rest of the Kaw is really like.  And remember that if you come out and do a training run on the Kaw, she won't look the same when you come out to race - there are subtle and sometimes not so subtle changes that happen on this water daily.  Expect to have to pay attention the whole time you are on this water.  You can't be mindless and just focus on paddling like you can on the Missouri.  But you needed something new, right?  Time for us all to suck it up.

Best wishes to everyone, and good thoughts out to Scott and everyone working with rivermiles to help provide an alternative.

Christina
 
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Reply #13 - 06/05/11 at 09:17:32

Manitou Paddler   Offline
5X MR340 Veteran
2X MR340 Safety Boat Pilot
4X Gritty Fitty Veteran
Kawnivore Veteran
Gritty Fitty Record Holder

Posts: 3017
*****
 
I fully reinforced the hull on my oc-1.....to take hits and abuse.......so as much as I would like an excuse to avoid 150 miles of a low water kaw.....I have none

I will be there.....unless the gritty fitty is so painful I cant make myself do it Roll Eyes

By the way......it is almost a given the kaw will be heartbreakingly low...as they will have the feeding reservoirs shut down so as not to add to mo river levels

Bring your running shoes....this one is gonna hurt

Bryan
 

river is as river does
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Reply #14 - 06/05/11 at 09:25:25

Christina   Offline
5X MR340 Veteran
2X MR340 Record Holder
Kawnivore Veteran
Kawnivore Record Holder
3X Gritty Veteran
Kawlloween Veteran

Posts: 534
*****
 
Good point, Bryan...running shoes needed.
There is only a trickle of water coming from our two lakes near Lawrence that feed the Kaw.  Our recent high water was from the NW tributaries and that is all subsiding.  I saw Clinton yesterday and it's not holding anything that made me think they are holding back discharge - they just don't have anything to contribute. 
We could get some heavy rain maybe.  That could bump us up a day or so somewhere along the way.  But nothing to bet on.  Expect the worst and if the Kaw gives you something good, smile and take it before it gets ripped out from under you.
 
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Reply #15 - 06/05/11 at 09:28:33

Bryba   Offline
MR340 Veteran
Ground Crew Veteran
Cocoa, FL

Posts: 7
*
 
Cry  Hey Scott, know it was a tough call, but we all understand this is out of your hands.
We will not be driving from FL to race the Kaw but do want to plan on the MR340 for next
year.  Let us know how you will be handeling that when you can.
Another year to work out. I should be able to finsh 1st in womens single then, lol.
We would be interested in 2011 T shirts if you need to unload them.
 
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Reply #16 - 06/05/11 at 09:40:55

Jmehuys   Offline
2X MR340 Veteran
Columbia, MO

Posts: 15
**
 
Will rain checks for next years MR340 be considered?
 
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Reply #17 - 06/05/11 at 09:46:39

Rusty Coons   Offline
4X MR340 Veteran
Gritty Fitty Veteran

Posts: 160
****
 
Scott,
   I would like to reiterate that i am willing to volunteer whereever you need me no matter the river venue. Please let Vicki know.
Thanks
 
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Reply #18 - 06/05/11 at 10:07:51

PDreiling   Offline
2X MR340 Veteran
Kansas City

Posts: 87
**
 
Very excited to run the Kaw, those of you thinking of backing out, don't, this race will be one hell of an adventure. I'm thinking Scott should make this an  annual run as well. See you all at Rock-A-Belly
 
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Reply #19 - 06/05/11 at 10:44:44

Green Wave paddler   Offline
4X MR340 Veteran
MR340 Record Holder
Gritty Fitty Veteran
I don't know Karate but
I do know crazy!
Grain Valley

Posts: 502
****
 
Wow,  We will have to make the best of it.  So how does portages work?  Can crews drop food and water at entrance points?  Un-assisted meaning they cannot touch your boat or paddle right?  They can hand you supplies at these locations? 
Scott feels the fastest time is going to be 30 hours, is that compared to, West Hansen and partners' 36hrs and some change, time in the 340 last year?  I feel more nervous about this 150 mile race than the 340. I don't know what to expect, which will make it hard to plan for.
 
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