Tuesday, July 31, 2007

MR 340 the during - part 1

Mark in the bow - pre-start

"3 -2 -1" "Bang" ...and we're off!

Quite the fan fair. Local radio and TV stations on hand, helicopters and a flurry of paddles. A crowd of spectators lined the shoreline. There were even fireworks as we departed Kaw Point. The funniest thing was embarrassment of Alan by the race director. I am sworn to secrecy, you must here it from Alan, well, I can be bought... an amber bock please...

We hit it with a moderate pace and fell into our cruise pace shortly after. It is a very long race and there was no sense killing yourself early on. There would be plenty of time for that later in the race.

Mark and I joked around most of the day, eating and drinking our way down the Missouri River. We hit the first two checkpoints rather quickly never getting out of the boat. We had packed heavy and planned to go non-stop. I think we had a total stop time of 15 seconds.

My biggest worry was my stomach. I had cramps all day and it was taking its toll. It was hot, Africa hot and it working its black magic. I was feeling less then perfect.

We saw one team pack it in as a chase boat pulled them from the river. I think one of the paddlers' tore a muscle? Shortly there after we saw Merek on the shore catching a wonderful sunset with his camera. We stopped briefly, said our hellos and pushed on.

Darkness was our friend and very much welcomed. The cooler temps and light breeze made the paddle enjoyable. I tried to catch a nap in the boat, but the motion just made me a bit ill. Mark made the call about 3:00am that we needed to pull over and catch a nap. I wasn't arguing at that point. No plan is a good plan unless it can be changed rather quickly.

The nap was rejuvenating. We were up before dawn feeling refreshed and ready to go. I activated a chemically heating coffee and grabbed a snack... I was feeling much better and the diarrhea seemed to have subsided.

We took a long look at our days accomplishment. 138 miles in 24 miles. A personal best. We were in the zone and loving it. But how to keep it going? We agreed that our biggest hurdle was the heat. We pulled over in the small town of Boonesville and got our first load of ice and a sandwich. Wow... it really helped. Though it was hard watching canoes and kayaks paddle by as we set idle.
Some great photos of the pre-start by Merek. My camera has seen the bottom of the river too many times...

more to follow... - The Capt'n

Monday, July 30, 2007

MR340 - the before

Pre-race Scouting

I have been thinking about the MR340 over the past couple of days, reflecting. What an outstanding experience to have had.

I see the event in three phases. The before, the during and the after. Here is a little insight on the before.

I was very fortunate to have been teamed up with Mark from Kruger Canoes. We had a great time. We scouted the route checking out all the CP's and socializing with the locals. My favorite story is our visit to Cooper's Landing.

But first I must talk about the bucket toilet I made for the cruiser. A 2 1/2 gallon bucket with a bagging system which would allow us to use the "head" while underway in the cruiser. As our plan was never to get out o the boat during the MR 340. Good idea gone bad and never tested...

Anyway Mark was pretty clear that he wasn't going to use the bucket "head" ever and then we arrived at Copper's Landing. After a short walk to the bathroom at Cooper's, Mark returned to our campsite... "Dude where's the bucket" --- Lets just say the bucket was the best option.

I got a lot of mileage out of that experience. We left Stan, Dana, Dawn and Alan shaking their heads.

Another worthy experience to mention as long as we are on the relieving yourself subject. I did have diarrhea during the whole event. Six minutes before the start I was in the "woods". Mark was like, Dude, thanks for joining us.... :-) Let the adventure begin.

I also would like to mention that the pre-race meeting was the best I have ever experienced. Very entertaining and informative. Outstanding overview of the days that follow.

And that's all I have to say about that... Tomorrow I will get into the first day of the race.

To pee or not to pee, that is the question - The Capt'n

Sunday, July 29, 2007

MR 340

Paul on SandyBottom's blog did an outstanding job following the event, that it wouldn't make much sense duplicating the information. Check her blog out it is awesome. Nice effort Paul!!

Some fun facts:

1. I set a person record of paddling 340 miles in 59 hours and 26 minutes.
2. Mark and I did the first 138 miles in 24 hours, followed by another 130 in the next 24 hours.
3. We figured we each did over 180,000 paddle strokes in the 340 miles. 50+ a minute.
4. You can't eat too much or drink too much in an event like this.
5. When your stomach starts to turn sour, frosted mini wheat's are the ticket.
6. We used 80 lbs. of ice on our journey. 30 gallons of liquids.
7. This was the best run event I ever competed in. A pure joy.
8. Friendship - priceless! Two of my best friends in the whole wide world, Mike and Tommy ditched work drove 378 miles to see us finish. What a great way to end the challenge.

Over the next few days I will come back to the blog and tell our story... But right now the wind is light, the sun shines bright.... You guessed it. Laura and I are off for an early morning paddle.
A quick clip of the finish:

Hot roast beef and gravy, now that's what I am talking about!! - The Capt'n

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

We are go for race

In a shroud of darkness, "Old Blue" stands tall at the boat launch at Boscabel. A rare pre-MR340 photo, the cover has been pulled back, the logos sponsor names and numbers have been fixed.
Just in:
At the secret training and development location near Irons, Michigan: The lighting system has been checked. We are a "go" for launch. We are a "go" for race.
This will be the last post till "Old Blue" crosses the finish line in St. Charles. Follow the action and leader board at the Missouri 340 website.
We are Team Kruger 0017 - See you on the other side -The Capt'n

Monday, July 16, 2007

Oconomowoc River

Marissa and Dad a quick photo op from Saturday's paddle on the Rock.
Sunday was a great day for a paddle. Mid 70's wind to our back and both kids wanting to go for a paddle. Well actually for ice-cream. Below, a rare photo of Emily, up before noon.

Emily and Marissa

We paddled up the Oconomowoc River to one of our favorite places to stop for ice-cream, The Kiltie Drive In. It's a 50's style drive-in that offers frozen custard, car hops and some of the best burgers in town. Our family has frequented this drive in for over 50 years.

Marissa and Emily under the train bridge

A short hike up the trail to old Hwy 16. Marissa isn't posing for the camera, she really has to use the bathroom. She'll really appreciate this comment on the blog and on her wedding day. Dad's don't get mad they get even. :-)

I told the girls this great childhood story about jumping off a bridge we just went under. As the story goes, I cut my foot on some glass and needed 6 stitches. Emily went straight to the triple dog dare. Marissa took her up on it and was going to jump off the bridge into the river as I did 40 years earlier.

There are no photos to show the out come of this endeavour. Police arrived on the scene and thwarted Marissa's efforts to repeat history. As the story was told by the police officer, a kid jumped off a couple years ago broke his neck and was paralyzed. My bad, all fingers pointed to me. The officer was slightly amused as he was local and had jumped many times himself as a kid.

There is nothing like a day, like a day on the water with your daughters - The Capt'n

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Paddling the Rock

Dodging the morning thunderstorms, Marissa and I got out for a 2 1/2 hour paddle on the Rock River.
The wind was brisk out of the west steady 20 mile an hour gusting to who knows what. We hugged the windward shore and were treated to muskrats, herons, cranes and this bizarre carp that came up and winked at us. A great paddle!!
Laura's Birthday today!! Yea!! 27 years old and holding!!
Happy Birthday to Laura!! - The Capt'n

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Wisconsin Canoe Racing Association

I had the pleasure (torture) of paddling with the group last night. All prepared to do an easy paddle in the Sea Wind on the Rock River just outside of Johnson Creek. I found myself in the presence of many hardcore marathon canoe paddlers from the Wisconsin Canoe Racing Association for their Wednesday night training session..

I recognized a couple of people and said my hellos. Next thing I knew, I was in some sort of round robin, mini race series. Each race was short lasting around 20 minutes. The premise was to go hard and then some.

We would switch partners after each race allowing the opportunity to paddle with someone different. It was very exhilarating with challenging buoy roundings and a bit of wake riding.

It sure was different then the type of paddling I am used to. When I paddle solo, I pretty much am in tune with my surroundings. The wildlife the sun the wind. In the pro boat my focus was pretty much not to fall out or tip the boat. My goal was met. I enjoyed the opportunity to paddle bow and stern in these very fast canoes.

For more information on the Wisconsin Canoe Racing Association, head on over to their website for a look see.

To canoe is to be moved -Doug E. Bell

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Let's light this rocket

Partner in crime - Oh the stories, the adventure!

13 days and counting

The phone calls have increased, e-mails are flying and our gear is carefully being sorted and packed.

"Old Blue" the Kruger Cruiser we are racing has been"tweaked" and will be outfitted with the 00-17 racing numbers this week.

It's all down river from here. The stars are aligned, it's all coming together. How fun it has been in preparation of the MR340. Thanks Mark!! Thanks Dawn!!

I paddled easy today, coffee on board and enjoyed the morning...

Now is the time to reflect on all the long "FUN" hours of paddling over the past few months It's the mental game, seeing it all unfold, watching it happen, a complete and total immersion.

Let's paddle- The Capt'n

Monday, July 9, 2007

Am I coming or going?

There is so much going on right now, it is hard to know if I am coming or going. The past couple of weeks has been one wild ride to say the least.

First off my X, and the mother of my children has the big "C". It has hit everyone pretty hard, though it is inspiring to see our kids rally around the situation. Teri is going through treatment and has a great attitude. It has helped everyone keep perspective.

Then there is the HAC outing we just finished up with. Outrageous to say the least.

We are so busy and with the up-coming MR340, it was the first time since we have been dating (6 years) that I had missed one of Laura's triathlon races. I was busy putting in some long hours on Lac La Belle in the Sea Wind. Laura won her age group, finished third over all and was pleased with her effort.

Sunday found us taking Laura's family out for a paddle in preparation of our Quetico trip in August. High winds and white cap conditions kept us off the lake. We headed over to the Rock River put-in in Johnson Creek and competed for space on the water with water skiers, fishing boats and the weekend warriors.

It was the first time we all paddled together as a group. I think it will be a good trip. Some great energy around the paddle. James having never been in a canoe, did outstanding. Hopefully we can get him out in the boat again to build confidence.

The MR340 sent out their first dispatch this pasted weekend. The event is closing in fast. I really have done all I could to prepare for this event. So much support from other Team Kruger members. So what ever happens, I will be happy with it. The big show is about to begin.

Lights camera .... action! - The Capt'n

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The power of now-- it's all happening

Mark from Kruger Canoes - taking the time to make a difference - One kid at a time.
Here is an e-mail that was forwarded to me from Danyel one of the case-managers working with a participant in the Hardcore Adventure Camp. The e-mail is from a very proud mom...


Thank you so much for letting us know how well he did! He said that everyone was very proud of him.. He has come such a long way.. He said that he wants to go on more trips with them. I'm really glad that everyone was really happy with Dale. It makes me want to cry happy tears. Could you please forward this message to Brain or give me his phone #. Dale has made him a card also...

Thank you guys for doing this for him he'll never forget it. It was a really good learning experience for him Thank you all again!


Time to make a difference - The Capt'n

Monday, July 2, 2007

Succeeding Through Teamwork

Group at the put-in Sauk City

What a life changing experience for all who participated in the Hardcore Adventure Camp this past week.

I paddled out this morning trying to figure out what I was going to say about the experience I had this past week. The only thing I could come up with to do it justice was summed up in one word. "Epic".
Team Kruger and all the volunteers made this a journey of discovery. This was really something. The power of positive attitude. A collective consciences. Teamwork...

A couple of cherubs

I'm hoping that e-mails and feedback will roll in over the next week or so from the participants. I would love to share with you their views of this truly amazing trip. 93 miles in 3 1/2 days to the Iowa shoreline of the Mississippi River.

Truly a life changing experience for all that participated - Jack Crammer