Monday, July 21, 2008

mr340 river race update no.14

mr340 river race update no.14 - warrior ant press women's solo division.

The winners of the 2008 MR340 Warrior Ant Press Women's Solo Division were:
1st Place. Katie Pfefferkorn. 50 hours.

2nd Place. Erin Magee. Texas, 57 hours 11 min.

3rd Place. Hillary Kelly, Leavenworth, Kansas. 69 hours 2 min.

The race for 1st place was pretty close, closer than the time difference might indicate. Erin Magee lead by as much as 1.5 hours for the first 200 miles of this race, from Kansas City to Cooper's Landing. Something happened in the 26.5 miles between Coopers Landing and Jefferson City to turn the race around. I don't know exactly what that was, but if we find out, we'll post an update. Could have been that Erin just pushed too hard for the first 200 miles and couldn't hold the pace (unlikely) or got over-heated (more likely), don't really know. Katie typically runs a very patient and controlled race and it's not uncommon for her to pass you about 2 miles into the race as she tends to take it easy at the start, find her pace, and then just hold it for a really, really long time. In this case, for two straight days. When she goes by you, she appears to be paddling effortlessly and at this point, you'd better look close because you won't see each other until the end.

I typically find the stretch between Coopers Landing and Jeff City very difficult a couple of reasons. Foremost, it's the 2nd night and the sleep deprivation is really starting to kick in. Secondly, the winds are more often than not, southerly which means you're going into a headwind. Although the winds usually tail off at night, sometimes you can get that stiff summer breeze which feels great, unless you're exhausted and paddling against it. This year I just happened to paddle this section with Hillary Kelly, the 3rd place finisher. About 3/4's from Cooper's Landing to Jeff City (around 4 am) in the morning, we were both so exhausted we couldn't keep from nodding off in the boat. The head snap is what brings you back and when it does, it's kinda scary. Apparently, this head snap is some kind of hormonal release that causes your head to snap back. When this happens in the boat your first thought is you're going to fall in the river and after about 20 times it happens over the course of a half-an-hour about all you can think about is, I'm going to die if I don't get off this river and get some sleep. The last morning I actually fell asleep while trying to paddle. Hillary told me the same thing happened to her. Guess the body isn't just prepared to do 3 straight days of no sleep.

All of these women beat me to the finish line which really isn't surprising because they're very fine athletes and very tough. You may think you're tough, but there's always someone tougher than you on the river. Hillary, who was once one of the few and the proud, also spent a year on square-rigged sailing ship. Not only is she a better paddler than I am, she's also a better sailor.

Photo of Erin Magee by Carter Johnson.

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