The Mackeen Family vs The MR340
The thought for Day One of the MR340: “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain
Last night we considered parking our RV at a nearby WalMart, but opted instead for the parking area by Kaw Point, a stopping point for Lewis and Clark, and for the MR340. Right by train tracks, and heard the loud whooshing and rattling of trains on the track all night. Despite that, most of us slept pretty well.
Ground crew up at 5:20am to make blueberry pancakes for breakfast. Coffee, pancakes, oranges, and we all piled out to get teams and kayaks to the river. A DJ playing upbeat music, Lewis and Clark reenactors walking around in costume, and even a flying GoPro whizzing over the river made for an animated early morning scene. As the 8am start neared, the DJ shouted over the loudspeaker to “Get your boat in the water!” About 250 boats of various sizes and colors filled the river, the Kansas City skyline in the background.
The mayor spoke, and several in 1800’s costume shot off guns to start the paddlers. With the crowd yelling and gun smoke filling the air, the paddlers were off! I managed to get some pictures of both teams, RED-E Oar Knot and RED-E Set Go before they followed the pack down the river.
Jarod and Kaity have been making awesome food, and were a great help to the teams, getting them down to the starting point on time. I had heard from Rich via cell phone, and Nikki and Chris via the Safety Boat Crew (not to worry, no problems, just no phone!) that both were due at the first checkpoint in Lexington, MO around 3:30pm. We arrived safely there at 2:00pm, after a few errands. Sandi and I took turns driving the RV. I did pretty well, if I do say so myself!
As we began day two of the race the thought of the day was “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities. Heather said, “This has been the worst day of my life! But it was fun!” The first day is the toughest day. It’s the longest, at 105 miles. Even if you don’t finish the entire race, even one day is an accomplishment. And at the end of it, there are blisters, sunburn, sore muscles, exhaustion…you get the picture.
RED-E Set Go (Rich and Heather, had it reversed yesterday!), and RED-E Oar Knot (Nikki and Chris) made it to the third checkpoint at about 1:30am! So, technically the second day. You can keep up with their progress on www.raceowl.com. Currently, RED-E Oar Knot (Nikki, Chris) are 176 out of 283 teams and RED-E Set Row(Rich, Heather) are 179!
Kayakers have to make it to a checkpoint by a certain time. The “Grim Reaper” Safety Boat (how’s that for ironic?) gets to each checkpoint by the deadline. If you end up behind the Grim Reaper, you are out of the race! The deadline for the third checkpoint, Miami, MO, was 11am today. So they were safe! And worn out.
As Jarod and Kaity, our youngest children and ground crew, waited at the boat dock with me. Jarod helped a safety crew member carry his kayak to a large grassy area. Those who were staying the night there kept their boats in this place. Safety crew have been so amazing and helpful, working round the clock.
Our son Josh who lives in Colorado is lending his support by racing with the USAFA Cycling Team while we race on the Missouri River.
We may be tired and sore but we are still in the race! We’ll update you on Day three as soon as possible!