Racing on the Big Muddy

kayak bug tent

How many of us are ready to take a week off work to paddle down the Missouri River?  Not your typical Huckleberry Finn float trip, but paddling from one end of Missouri to the other in America’s longest continuous river race which has to be completed within 88 hours (about 3 1/2 days) across 340 miles of water, heat and bugs!

You’ll start at Kansas city from where Lewis and Clark plunged into unknown territory and snake your way back towards St. Louis while dodging river traffic, parked barges, buoys, wing dams, bridge piers and 15 lb fish that fly out of the water into your canoe/kayak and if they hit you, can cause dislocated shoulders and concussions, all the while making sure you’re eating, staying hydrated (and ummm…. finding ways to relieve yourself) and avoiding sunburn.

To be competitive you’ll have to skip some sleep so by the second night, you will start hallucinating and might see mermaids or tree people.  You will question what madness you have got yourself into and you will probably cry.  By the time you’re done with the race, you will have a raw posterior (if you didn’t have a comfortable seat) and will need 4 showers before your family allows you back into your home.

Whatever your reasons for doing this, by the time you finish (if you do), you will be a changed person. This is the third year that Darrin will be using the 1-person SansBug in the annual MR340 (Missouri River 340 miles):

After 20 years in the Marine Corps and hip injury I can’t get out and run like I used to. The race still keeps me active and when done I know I’ve accomplished something most others wouldn’t try.  Pretty cool getting your picture at the finish line.

On some sections of the river you almost had to use your paddle as a Samurai Sword to keep the mosquitoes away.  Couple buddies had hammocks, all I had to do was toss out my SansBug pop-up bug net and I was long asleep while they were still tying theirs up.

Those 3 hours (which is all you can afford if you want a shot at winning) of bite-free, deep restorative sleep will help you get back to your kayak and keep going instead of quitting this definitely-not-normal race.  This year’s race is on August 4 – 7, 2020.