Wednesday, August 29, 2012

2012 mr 340 Part 2

2012 mr 340 Part 2
 View from the crew (as observed by Karen)
                                      Leaving Kaw Point (pictured) to checkpoint #1 = 50 miles
Check point #1 Lexington, MO

Shane:  The first 50 miles of the race were  tougher than last year.  The river was moving half the speed.  But I still managed to get a good start off the line and settle in towards the upper middle of the pack.  I let all the inexperienced paddlers sprint in the beginning and didn't try to pace with them.  But I kept a pretty strong pace in the sprint (the first hour or so).  After an hour of humpin it, I slowed my paced a little. 
     I'll admit it, I'm not a sprinter, I'm a distance guy.  I hate the beginning of races when I have to jump out in the sprint to get in a decent position.  I feel like I'm going to puke about 30 minutes in.  I always feel like i'm sucking down way too much water and make myself feel sick. It usually takes me a good hour and a half to get into a race pace where my body relaxes and I can just race.
The 50 miles seem to go by fast, but I'm definately earning it.  I manage  to keep just under a 7mph pace for the 50 mile stretch. Post race I look at the time splits of coming into the checkpoint and going out.  It reads: Time in 14:30   Time out 14:30.  No time wasted on land. Nice!
Karen: I don’t remember much about the Lexington stop itself, but I do remember what happened on the way there.  The first thing we had to do was get gas.  While there we got a hearty breakfast of spicy chicken strips and biscuits with gravy.  A deli in a gas station?  How awesome is that!?!?  I should also mention that we were using Michael’s TomTom to navigate around.  He chose the option named “Jane”, which was a woman’s voice with an English accent.  She kept telling us to “turn onto the motorway.”  Motorway?  Really?  Does she think that we drive on the left side of the road too?  This would be the first of many times that we would yell at her that famous line by Dan Akroyd in Saturday Night Live, “Jane, you ignorant slut!” 
Moving on, we were driving by a cornfield (the constant running scenery of the entire trip) when we saw a store on the side of the road that was called—I kid you not—Nerd’s.  They sold heavy lawn equipment.  Because when I think of nerds, I think of them using lawn mowers and chain saws.  Don’t you?  This was too much of an opportunity to literally pass by.  We got out and started the first of what would be many stops to take stupid tourist pictures.
  After a bit we moved on to the checkpoint.  The first leg was one of the longest and everyone seemed to be waiting longer than usual since the river was really slow.  We spent the time working on song lyrics for Shane’s luchador theme song as well as getting all his replenishment supplies ready.  One of the first arrivals was Joe, paddling at a ridiculous pace. 
Joe in his 21' Huki S1x
It also seemed like it had taken a lot out of him.  The heat was already unbearable, upper 90’s and would be around 100 degrees all week long.  Somewhere around 150 of the 400 boats would never finish the race (some never even started), the heat being the major contributor.  Like I said, I don’t remember much of Shane coming in and out, but he came a lot later than we thought, and scrambled out quickly.  I sent in the obligatory checkpoint text to race officials saying Shane had come in and left.  I’m sure I was one of the only ones, if not THE only one in the race to get back an encouraging text, “Go Shane!”  Did I mention that Shane has cult status in this race?  One of the only ones that had more people than just his ground crew clapping and cheering for him when he pulls in and out of a checkpoint. It was sometime after the first stop when Elissa called  (Shane's wife) and asked if Shane had his phone.  Of course, we said, it’s mandatory.  Has to have it.  Safety thing, you know.  She said she was tracking him down Highway O.  When we got to the next stop, we figured out why.
Waverly, MO  Checkpoint #2
73 miles in
Sure enough, we found the yellow iPhone in the car. Elissa must have thought we were dragging Shane down the street like a water skier. At Waverly, we met up with the usual crowd—Ben, Madeline, Jill and Jeremiah. 
     Pre-race, I sent Shane desperate emails asking how I do this ground crew thing.  He said he was just happy to see his crew when he came ashore. With a good mental attitude being one of the key components to finishing such a grueling race, I decided to make him REALLY happy to see us. Needless to say, I got a LOT of double takes and giggles, and several people stopped me to take pictures. The leader of the Boy Scout troop that was manning a concession stand there stopped me and got a pic of me with the kids. The Scouts didn’t look too enthusiastic about it, but their leader sure was.
                                                        Checkpoint #2 Yup, this happened!
Finally Shane came into view.  I gave my camera to Jeremiah and started to do a hula dance on a rock.  Shane cracked up.  Mission accomplished.  “Is there more?” he asked.  “Maybe,” I teased.  We took a pic. That would be one of his favorites of the race.  It’s now somewhere on the Facebook universe.  My mother would be so proud.  He relaxed for a few minutes, but then got antsy and hurried when he saw other racers come in.  He jumped on his board and pushed off, refusing to take his phone and leaving before we could fully supply him. 
     It was a frustrating stop, especially since we found out he wasn’t eating or drinking very much.  I yelled harshly after he pulled out, “Eat something!!”  About 50 people on the ramp, including Shane, turned and looked at me, shocked at my tone of voice.  I’m sure I looked absolutely ridiculous, standing there with a scowl on my face and  wearing coconuts and a grass skirt.  Michael came running down the ramp with more supplies and lights for the coming darkness and was upset that Shane had already left.  We were starting to learn the balance between what we thought Shane needed versus what Shane knew he needed.  It would be a fine line that we would walk for the next 50 hours.
Shane:  A funny thing happens when I race.  I act involuntarily at times.  In this instance I knew the checkpoint was taking way too long.  Something pushes me me to get back on the board and go.  I can't explain it. It's just something that happens. The racing mindset takes control.
                                                               Leaving the checkpoint
Miami, MO - Checkpoint #3
105 miles in
Karen: The next stop was Miami, Mo.  To say we got there the hard way would be the understatement of the century.  We plugged the coordinates into “Jane” and headed out.  Jane, the ignorant slut, decided to take a shortcut.  Instead of taking us east and then north along the main roads, she decided to cut a diagonal path that went through a conservation area.  My first clue was when the road went from paved to gravel.  “Are we sure this is right?”  Michael had pulled out my sleek new Android phone with a million features that I have yet to learn, and turned on the navigation system.  “Yeah, see, it’s right here, we’re just cutting through.” 
It was dark when we pulled into the lot.  We hung out with Jeremiah and he showed us the huge scary beat-up green van he was driving. We waited for our teams and Michael and I plotted--it was now late, past 11pm, we had no reception on our phones and we knew we had to convince Shane to take his phone with him overnight, for safety if nothing else.  Unfortunately, poor Elissa was waiting for news, and between our adventure in the conservation area and not having reception, she had no clue what was happening. 
    However, this turned into a really good checkpoint.  Shane was in great spirits, ate and drank a lot and seemed to actually relax.  Surprisingly, he put up no fight when we told him how prudent it was to take his phone with him.  When he paddled off at 11:35pm, Michael commented on how easily Shane took his phone.  “You know why, don’t you?” I asked.  Michael looked at me blankly.  “No, why?”  “He has to call in to do that radio show tomorrow morning!”  Michael looked at me and busted up laughing.  Shane always has an agenda …
Shane:  When I race I have a ton of stuff running through my head.  I have plans for each day and goals. I actually make phone calls during races, I schedule things, I check in with my Wife at times, even check my email.  I know, pretty ridiculous. 
    But in this instance, this was something different.  I am such a lucky  dude. I am fortunate enough to be the Midwest SUP reporter for Radio Chum.  It's the first 24/7 SUP radio station.  It has good music and they give updates to what's happening in the SUP world.
 So I specifically didn't bring my phone all day so I wouldn't use it so i'd have enought battery to call in for the show. And oh yah, Radio Chum gives out the esteemed honor of being awarded a luchador name and mask if you achieve some kind of awesomeness. 
                                               I have been christened El Agua Escorpion!

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