Wed - July 30, 2008

The Pitch: Missouri River 340 Stories by Carolyn Szczepanski

Missouri River 340 Race - Cooper's Landing
2008 MR340 - Cooper's Landing checkpoint in the evening of the second race day. Photo by Connie Uliasz

Carolyn Szczepanski, a staff writer of the Pitch ("Kansas City's leading source of sophisticated information") covered the 2008 MR340 Race in two articles full of dramatic and colorful stories:

Following the Missouri River 340: A How To

At dawn on Tuesday, July 15, more than 200 people stared down a nearly 350-mile challenge. For the next four days, as they gritted their teeth and flexed their muscle, I played the role of river rat, scurrying after them as they paddled from Kansas City to St. Charles.

Up Show Me Creek: The Missouri 340 river race takes endurance — and a fair share of crazy

It takes a determined sense of adventure to pay for this kind of pain. During the MR340, racers paddle through the oppressive midday heat after staying up all night. They struggle to navigate the difficult currents of the Missouri River when darkness is compounded by mist and hallucinations cloud their sight. They vomit. They bleed. Their asses go numb.

She interviewed many racers including West Hansen:

Caroline did some really great grass roots reporting, which included a lengthy phone interview with me and a couple of face to face meetings. Other, more mainstream, media folks did little or no research, no follow up questions and had pre-set ideals that theystuck to despite my answers to their questions. Caroline has what is missing in many news stories these days.

It looks like my race this year was pretty uneventful, almost boring - just paddling, paddling, and photographing. No tipping over, no hallucinations, no heat stroke, no vomiting, no blisters, no pain which a couple pills of ibuprofen could cure. Well, at least, I got a pretty good heat rash ...

2007 Missouri River 340 Race My 2007 race was much more exciting due to my Thunderbolt kayak sinking without any apparent reasons. I really couldn't figure that out during the race. Even filling the kayak with water at the Noren checkpoint to find the suspected crack didn't help.

My hypothesis after the race was that the piece of tape covering the unused under stern rudder fitting was getting loose in some conditions and water was getting inside through that tubing. The kayak stern was somewhat overloaded during the race. I installed a simple plug and haven't had this problem any more.

I have a lot of troubles to explain how to pronounce the last sound "sz" in my Polish last name. To explain the Polish whispering sound "Szcz" at the beginning of your name could be a more serious challenge.

Other posts from the 2008 Missouri River 340 Race:

Posted at 12:16 PM    

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