Sunday, August 30, 2009

teddy! we hardly knew you

My favorite bit of Ted Kennedyísm is where he confronts then Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, and asks for his resignation. Few would have the gumption to do that. One forgets the influence of the Senator until reminded during the numerous tributes that have run this week. Some of them have been quite moving such as his helping of the littlest refusnik and her family or his work with a family to provide better armor for vehicles in Iraq, work that has saved hundreds of lives and thousands of wounded. Kennedy was a powerful man and he used that power, at times to help people in ways that few others could.

We do wonder though if any of those who talk about the Kennedy penchant for helping those less fortunate ever ponder the fact that no one can attain great wealth without taking advantage of others in some way(s). And even if your wealth, as in the case of Ted Kennedy, has largely been handed to you, the maintenance of such wealth has consequences for others, some of whom are less fortunate. I raise this only as an ethical question that we must all address, where should our wealth end and that of others begin?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Tim whitmer trio: visual reviews of aural entertainment

Tim Whitmer Trio, the Cafe @ Briarcliff, KCMO, attendance ~15

cats in trees

m.o.i has always had a fondness for quirky folk who live at the edges of society. This may be due, in part, to fortunate circumstances that allow us to live somewhere in the middle realm, but one has to admit that often the self-trained artist is more interesting than the one more finely trained.

We say this in defense of Bob, whose performance piece Cats in Trees had a brief run as part of an ongoing street theatre project that Bob maintains. The premise of Cats in Trees is quite simple. First Bob, having created a Device for Placing Cats in Trees, must befriend feral cats that roam the neighborhood (no easy task in itself). Once Bob earns the trust of the cat to where he can pick them up and hold them without fear of cat-scratch fever or blindness, he gently places the cat in the Device for Placing Cats in Trees, lifts the device into the upper branches of a nearby tree, and gently shakes the basket until the cat removes itself from the basket and into the tree. Bob finds the phrase, "Ima a shaking it boss" if repeated long enough will usually drive the cat into the tree although I've also seen Bob resort to barking, growling, and reading the poems of Mary Oliver--all of which seemed to work.

Now, I'm certain that some of my animial rights loving friends might find this practice to verge on animal endangerment or even a violation of cat's rights, but hear this first about Bob before you render final judgement.

Bob's day job is to field test shopping carts by pushing them around on city streets until they surrender to the rigors of urban life. Poorly designed shopping carts can fail and endanger shoppers, their children, and are costly to replace. Bob suggests that one day on the street with him and the cart has undergone the equivalent of one year in a parking lot. As with Cats-in-Trees, the field testing of shopping carts is a public service the Bob provides with no expectation of financial reward.

Avian lovers might also object to Cats-in-Trees but to them Bob has a ready response.

"These aren't domestic cats I'm placing in trees. These are feral cats. A tree to a wild cat is a natural place. Now I can see that you might be opposed to cats eating birds but that's a natural thing for a cat. And besides, cats don't catch birds while in trees, it's too dangerous for the cat. Watch them hunt. They mostly catch birds on the ground or in low-lying shrubs. Only cats without claws are afraid of trees. My project just helps the cats realize the heights of their potential."

So there you have it. From Bob. Cats in Trees. Not the best art you've seen this week, not the worst. But maybe, just maybe, the most different. Purr on it.

Friday, August 28, 2009

test drive: the kruger sea wind

What happened to the dog days of yore? It was August and I was wearing long-sleeves, not to keep from a massive sunburn, but to stay warm; the sandals on my feet, normally a summer knock around imperative, had my toes curling to maintain proper blood flow to the extremities. It certainly made for a wonderful day with autumnal hints but it was strange not having sweat oozing from every pore of your body in the middle of August.

We took the opportunity of this most welcome respite from a more typical Missouri August day to test drive a Kruger canoe, considered by many to be the best canoe ever made. After meeting the legendary Norm Miller, who paddled some 3,600 miles upstream the entire length of the Missouri River and then on to the ocean, I've been coveting one of these boats. Designed by Verlon Kruger, who went through 40 iterations to find this design, these are expedition craft. After Verlon finished his design he paddled more than 25,000 miles in the boat to prove it's worthiness.

And it's true, these are beautifully designed boats. Looking at one closely and seeing the inside of one you can feel the hand-crafted nature of these boats. To say they are roomy is an understatement. You can sleep in one of these boats and many do. No more of the kayaker's tendency to have to store things in every little nook and cranny, in a Kruger, there's room to hand things close at hand. And the boat's stability eliminates any of worries about capsizing and losing everything.

After paddling a sleeker kayak for several years now the Kruger fell a little sluggish going upriver. The thing is incredibly stable though, tough as nails, and turns on a dime. It's durability (10 layers of carbon fiber) make for a heavy boat (62 lbs) and it's rounded hull design makes lifting it a little awkward until you realize the easy way is to get completely underneath the boat. The seat reverses into an ingenious shoulder yoke that makes portaging a snap. Except for the 600 lbs of gear you can stow inside one of them; that you'll have to carry separately. However, the crazy thing about this boat is that you could, if you had sufficient Popeye arms, just drag the thing, gear and all, and not seriously damage the boat.

If an expedition or hunting trip is in your future the Kruger might just be the boat for you. Although a number of folks use these on ultra marathon races, personally I would opt for a sleeker craft, unless the river was near flood stage and then you'd be safe, high, and dry.

I have often felt that Krugers were over-priced by about a thousand dollars. One of Vern's protege's, Scott B. Smith, has starting building his own expedition craft, the Superior Expedition. It's almost the exact boat as a Kruger with a slightly modified bow design and this boat is forcing me to reassess my opinion of Krugers. It could be that they're over-priced by two grand, instead of one.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

prawns ate my hard drive

Apparently some of the black blood must have contaminated my Junior Mints because within an hour of visiting District 9 my hard drive was consumed by aliens.

Warrior Ant Press will remain on backup power for the next few days while we await the relocation of the offending party.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

aliens invade warrior ant press

Warrior Ant Press is experiencing technical difficulties. It could be fallout from the recent alien invasion, proof of which is offered by the ring of mushrooms recently photographed at the Unity Headquarters (who knew aliens preferred a lite-brand of Jesus?).

WAP is working on a fix. It may require throttling a Russian, flame-throwing an alien, or hiring a geek, but we'll figure it out.

Or, we won't.

Monday, August 24, 2009

michael jackson was murdered!

Priorities please. The US needs to enact real health care reform and the public plan is the least expensive option. We already have the private option; that's the problem.

Friday, August 21, 2009

simple is as simple does: figs with key lime sugar

I like to cook. Most who know moi, know that. But what they may not know, is that although some of my cooking might appear complex or involved, my favorite form of cooking involves simplicity. Find fresh ingredients, pair them with simple, but unique flavors, and make something interesting and worthy of sharing. Desserts are meant to be shared, this is why we like them so much, they typically involve sharing with others.

Back to simplicity. Thomas Keller can cook and his food is interesting. It has a certain simplicity if you focus on the individual steps instead of the outcome. That's one of the keys of french cuisine in which Keller if profoundly steeped. Cusine français can appear to be, and is some cases be, quite complex, but primarily the complexity arises from the subtle layers and interplay of simple ingredients.

One of my favorite chef has always been Jacques Pépin, who some may know as mentor to Julia Child, has always been one of my favorite chefs primarily because he's very grounded in the reality that cooking food is foremost sustenance, but it must also taste good and look good. Pepin was a 3-star Michelin chef in France before he become one of the first tv chefs. There was Child, Pepin, and that goofy, galloping, Scot gourmet, Graham Kerr. Since then, there seem to have been thousands of tv and celebrity chefs most of whom know a lot more about makeup than they do about plate presentation.

My friends also know they can hardly talk me into making dessert anymore and when I do I usually resort to tricky. Here's a good one that's marvelous slight-of-hand. It owes it existence to my 3-year quest to make the world's greatest limeade (still perfecting this one) and it's very simple (almost).


For this you will need.
Fresh, ripe mission figs. A ripe fig lasts about as long a ripe peach and is almost as tasty. You'll need 3-4 per serving.

Some cream from a real honest-to-goodness dairy. There's lots of them. I prefer Shatto Farms because the cream comes in little glass bottles that make, among other things, a perfect flower vase.

Key Lime sugar. This is the hard part. But it keeps well. And since it's a bit tricky, make a larger batch. You'll find many uses for key lime sugar (some I'll share later). Zest (you'll need a special zester for the key limes because the peel of a key lime is very thin) and zesting 4 dozen key limes is no picnic. As the zest collects in a bowl cover it with finely granulated organic cane sugar. Once you're finished, you'll have a coarse meal that about the consistency of shredded coconut. Four dozen key limes can season a pound of sugar. Immediately place the sugar in a glass jar and seal for several weeks. The lime zest will candy and the sugar will obtain a wonderful aroma that rivals that of Madagascar vanilla bean sugar. You have to stir the sugar occassionally to keep if form solidifying into a mass. If done right, you should be able to spoon it easily when finished. If you really wanted to gild the Lily you could add a hit of vanilla bean to the batch. Resist that urge!

Quarter the figs. Place in a dish. Freeze a stainless steel whipping bowl along with the whisk. Whisk the cream until it begins to thicken and then add a couple of tablespoons of the key lime sugar. Whisk until soft peaks form. Let stand refrigerated for an hour or so to allow the lime zest to better flavor the cream. Rewhisk as needed and then add to the quartered figs.

Options. None recommended but you could garnish with candied ginger in very small amounts. Biscuits, i.e. shortbread would work well. Raspberries. Chocolate, milk or dark.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

best leftovers i had today

As much as I like to cook, repurposing leftovers into something tasty is almost as much fun. The keys to a good repurpose are ingredients and planning. The use of top quality ingredients is really the key to all cooking but can certainly take what might be bland leftovers and move them into a higher realm. Planning for leftovers typically means making sure the original foods aren't overcooked.

Poached salmon salad.

6 oz. leftover coho salmon, stored refrigerated in the poaching liquid.
fresh spinach, washed and torn
fresh romaine, washed and torn
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 fresh tomato, chopped
4 fresh figs
toasted sesame seeds
few slices of parmaggino

Place the ingredients, excepting the salmon, in a bowl and toss with a little olive oil, balsamic, salt, pepper. Add a dash of toasted sesame oil and fresh lemon juice. Plate. Break up the salmon onto the top. Arrange the figs around the edge of the plate. Enjoy with a hearty chunk of real bread. There you go. A fine, healthy dinner in about 15 minutes.

Monday, August 17, 2009

best meal i had today

This meal has lots of red food in it. Tomatoes. Cherries. Grapes. And wild Alaskan Coho salmon. Red food is supposed to be good for you. Antioxidant proprieties or some such thing. Blue food, i.e. blueberries, is also supposed to be good for you. But think about it, green food, as in green leafy vegetables woiuld definitely be good for you. Yellow food, such as squash and corn, would also be good for you. Colorful food looks good on the plate, but really, as long as the food is fresh and prepared well, it's probably good for you.

Here's the best meal I had today; ok well, true, it might have been yesterday. Simple and easy. Red and green.

Salmon poached with garlic and spinach.

Nice slab, 3/4 lbs or so, of fresh salmon.
3 cloves of German stiff-necked garlic, diced.
1/2 pound of fresh spinach, coarsely chopped.
3/4 cup of half and half.
salt and pepper.

Pour the half and half in a small shallow saucepan and add the garlic and spinach. Place the salmon on top, skin side down. Salt and pepper the top side. Then simmer covered for about 10 minutes. The salmon may need to cook for a few minutes longer. If that is the case, then remove the spinach and garlic with a slotted spoon. Poach the salmon until just firm - about 140° F. Serve on a bed of the spinach.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

armstrong crushes leadville 100

Lance Armstrong soloed off the front of the pack on one of the high climbs and cruised to victory in the Leadville 100. Lance's victory spurned so much interest in the high-altitude endurance event that event servers crashed for several hours into the race; this sent millions of frustrated cyclists onto streets everywhere as they attempted to get a decent workout after sitting in front of their computers for the last hour looking a live-blog feeds. Six-peat champion Dave Wiens took second. Over 1600 participated and at this hour (5pm) MST over 1000 were still on the course.

1st. Lance Amstrong, Aspen, CO, 6:28:50.9 (new course record)
2nd. Dave Wiens, Gunnison, CO, 6:57:02.0
3rd Matt Schriver 7:09:48.5
4th Alex Grant 7:10:54.1
5th Len Zanni 7:11:21.0
6th Max Tamm 7:16:56
7th Travis Brown 7:22:05.5
8th Manual Prado 7:35:27.2
9th Mike Hogan 7:353:35.0
10th Jason Tullous 7:35 47.1

1st Rebecca Rusch 8:14:53 (30th overall)
2nd Amanda Carey 8:40:03.0 (66th overall)

Friday, August 14, 2009

wiens takes sight on leadville trail 100: armstrong on his wheel

Is Dave Wiens the mountain bike equivalent of Alberto Contador for Lance Armstrong? Weins, 6 time winner of the Leadville 100 mountain bike race, defeated Armstrong last year by a couple of minutes in the grueling climbs above 10,000 feet. It was one of Armstrong's first tests in his comeback so the 2nd place finish was somewhat measured. Since then, Armstrong has ridden in the Tours of California, Italy, and France. He's yet to win and is looking for some redemption in Leadville. Weins has no interest in submitting and Lance's plan of having Astana teammate Levi Leipheimer pace him to a new course record fell flat when Leipheimer crashed, breaking his wrist during stage 12 of this year's Le Tour.

For the first time in history you can watch live-streaming video of the Leadville Trail 100 for about the price of six-pack of beer.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

2009 mr340: in pictures

View a collection of photos about the recent mr340 at
mr340 photo collection.

Photo: The Rivermiles Gang of Four: Karin Thomas, Travis Worley, Scott Mansker, and Russ Payzant. They are backed by several hundred volunteers. It's not true that they don't like people, far from it, they just like to push them--to their limit.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

2009 mr340: m.o.i.'s experience

The short and sweet of it. From m.o.i.'s initial perspective this year's mr340 felt like an ass-whupping on the river. I say that and then remember that after being ready to throw in the towel midway through the race I did manage to stop sucking my thumb and begin enjoying myself a little and FINISH. ALIVE. This matters. Thirty second place in my division - ahead of some 62 other men's soloists - 103rd overall. A victory of perseverance which, lacking charm, good looks, and wealth, happens to be one of my best qualities.

Yes, the time was a little slower than last years but our hip rotation must have been much better this year because it's my back that's a little tight, not my shoulders. Joint pain? excepting a few knuckles on my hands, I have none. My biggest problem are my swollen and numb feet, an indication that I was driving my legs throughout the race; I'm hoping it disappears soon.

Outside of the hotshots who compete in this race, for the rest of us this race is more about chasing away the mind demons. The ones that say to you, "you can't do that", "forget doing that", or "you're really not cut out for that". The process to make the demons disappear is fairly simple. Stay in the boat and paddle.

The race is also about asking for and receiving the help of others. My field crew essentially consisted of 5 people-the logistics of kayaking to St. Louis and getting yourself and the boat back in one piece isn't that easy. My daughter Sarah delivered me to the start line and told me to shut up and relax when the thunderstorms delayed the start. She also picked me up from the Amtrak station upon my return and cleaned my car in the intervening days of the race. Anyone who knows my Homer tendencies knows that this isn't a small task. My unflappable friend WendE delivered supplies at several checkpoints along the way, handed me a raspberry Slurpee at the finish line, and solicited the help of fellow conservationist Steve Van Rhein who was able to witness first hand the carnage, joy, and sense of accomplishment this race brings to folks. Next year his lame excuses run out and he climbs in a boat and comes along or he'll find himself blowing on my tender feet again. Being younger, stronger, and more fit Steve might even beat me downriver but my veteran status suggests that I might just kick his ass (undaunted braggadocio is one side effect of finishing this race). Another pal, former Conservationist Ruth Wallace (does one detect a trend in my choice of crew?) had my halfway point resupply cache waiting in the sand at Jefferson City. I was also assisted on numerous occasions by John Dunn who kept throwing bananas and the advice to "get some sleep" my way.

Time for a new adventure. It may be as simple as trimming the hedge or organizing the house. It may be as complex as facing down the MAN at the day job, tackling the Yukon Quest, or romancing the stone. Whatever it may be, it'll likely be shorter than 340 miles on the Muddy MO in August.

Race directors Karin Thomas, Russ Payzant, and Scott Mansker see which favors they can call in to get the rain to stop.

Favorite moments from this years mr340:

Reconnecting with the Ninja Raccoons, meeting their prospecting field chief, and being able to share a little of our city with them before the race.

A 1 hour nap, a banana, and a bottle of Ensure courtesy of Bill Lanning's daughter.

Sleeping on the Katfish Katy ramp with no one around and being refreshed for once upon arriving at Cooper's Landing.

Flipping my kayak while trying to land it on the Noren beach and not caring one iota especially after being handed a piping hot cup of french press from my friend Vicki.

Watching the locals shoot 8-ball on the regulation sized pool tables at the River Bend Bar in Portland and then imitating Carter Johnson by stuffing a double cheeseburger from same bar in my pocket and paddling off into the setting sun.

Sharing a hotdog and a cup of The World's Greatest Limeade ver.3.0 with Wende and Steve at the Herman Checkpoint.

Throwing the ashes (stuffed inside a toy dinosaur) of former racer, Trex the Rare West Tibetan Mountain dog, deep into the river from the barge dock below the finish line and watching booger catch a ride on the thalweg.

Seeing friendly faces at every stop and people who gave me cold water, bananas, peanut butter sandwiches, words of encouragement, and even a cup of freshly brewed coffee.

Joanie's post-race slideshow of Machu Picchu.\

Being a tourist in St.Louis after the race, riding the light rail downtown, checking out CityPark Sculpture Garden, and having the Amtrak run on time.

Finding out that Darling Daughter Dora had detailed six months of Kansas River silt and sand from my car.

Least favorite moments:
Being scared of capsizing in the windy wake of 270 boats for the first 30 minutes of the race, the energy-sucking crossing through the gale blowing across the Missouri City bend, and the toxicity of too much adrenalin.

Not sufficiently testing my new watering/electrolyte system and having to drink only electrolytes for the first 50 miles.

Bonking hard on the run into Booneville.

Trying to put contacts in my eyes and losing several on the sandy ramp at Klondike (The fun part though was ignoring John Dunn's advice, "you're not going to put that sandy lens in your eye, please tell me you're not going to do that!" Yes John I am. But first the hydrologist must triple rinse!.

Missing 90 percent of the awards ceremony due to poor service at the Mill Creek Brew House.

Losing two $25 hats-both favorites. The new rivermiles hat flew off in the wind during the first 10 miles of the race and my USGS shade hat eventually shredded from UV damage.

Images by Sarah Star via flickr. see more images at dokidokididikoko's photostream

Monday, August 10, 2009

2009 mr340: passing the torch

During the awards ceremony of the 2009 MR340 last year's past champions, The Ninja Racoons,Mike Massey and Jana Shannon, passed the torch to this year's mixed tandem winners, Katie Pfefferkorn and West Hansen.

When asked later if their first place mixed tandem finish (4th place overall) met their expectations Hansen depanned, "I didn't have any." That seems odd coming from somone who seems to have a ceremonial kilt for every category of this race except women's solo.

Massey and Shannon, whose 2009 finish time was nearly equivalent to the 65 hour time posted during last year's race, saw their record time bested by more than 20 hours. Shannon, recovering from reconstructive knee surgery and no stranger to the Scotland move, was nonplussed by all the hoopla over men-in-kilts, "next time we train."

Sunday, August 9, 2009

2009 mr340: the missouri river run

Amtrak engineers on the 313 seem to blow their horns almost nonstop to prevent knuckleheads from crossing in front of fast-moving trains. So far this trip has included (in order of appearance) travel on hiway, river, gravel road, sidewalk, plank road, and rail line (electric and standard gage track).

2009 mr340: contact dermatitis

The mr340 comes with its own set of aches and pains if one expects to get full value from the race. Tendinitis, sunburn, chafing, heat exhaustion, loss of sensation in extremities, and weird skin rashes seem to pop up with the regularity of Corps wing dikes. We must remain vigilant to prevent toxic waste from entering our streams; toxic waste comes in many forms-some obvious and some not. As Paracelsus said, it's the dose that makes the poison so just because something is released in very small quantities into the environment doesn't mean it doesn't harm the biota. Ask the next 3-legged Simpson frog you see how they feel about trace amounts of atrazine in runoff.

Although the US certainly has some of the cleanest waters in the world, we have also polluted many stretches our rivers. Few rivers can be considered pristine. Even mountain headwaiter streams frequently have detectable quantities of human personal care products.

Despite the efforts of anyone, including the racers, involved with the mr340, the Missouri River is considered by many other citizens to be little more than a freeway, the ultimate sewage treatment plant discharge point for about one-third of our nation, or a willing participant as a recipient of nutrient laden sediment. These attitudes need to change; not just about the MO river but also with regards to the tributary streams.

The 2 barrels in the above photo were seen in St. Charles' Frontier Park (adjacent to the finish). The distance to the MO River from this trib is less than 500 ft. The next big storm will likely carry the barrels and any remaining chemical inside them into the Mighty MO. Once in the MO the barrels can and from their its onto

2009 mr340: recovery tips, pt. 3

Appetizer-double expresso.
Entree-bowl-sized cup of Ethopian Yagiracheffe.
Dessert-the Gateway Arch.
Cheese course-Citygarden,StL's new outdoor sculpture park.

2009 mr340: everyone came by boat

In our celebrity culture that seems to only want to recognize the comings, goings, and shenanigans of the beautiful, gifted, and wealthy it's easy to forget that most all of our ancestors arrived in the Midwest by water. Some came up the Mississippi and then the Missouri in all sorts of water craft but many crossed the ocean of prairie grass in boats of a different sort. Back then, these travels, many of which lasted for weeks or months, were more often called the way to go rather than a crazy adventure.

2009 mr340 recovery tips, pt. 2

Field chief has rasberry slushee 4 U @ finish line. Free vitamin h2o,
whole grain bagels, & massage courtesy of chron's/colitis fun run in
frontier park. Live music & schafly American pale ale.

2009 mr340: onward rare west Tibetan mountain dog

The ashes of Trex, reknowned river dog, adventurist, mr340 racer, and Rare West Tibetan Mountain dog nonpareil, entombed in a glow-in-the-dark dinosaur were a stowaway in the 4th edition of the mr340. At sunrise Sunday they were released back into the river for a seaward journey of reincarnation.

2009 mr340: the next adventure awaits

Coffeedog's recycled boat sits behind the Lewis & Clark boathouse in St. Charles awaiting to be reclaimed by a new suite of downriver adventurists.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

2000 mr340: quick recovery pt. 1

M.O.I. offers some quick recovery tips from the rigors of the longest
nonstop canoe/kayak race in the world.
Cucumber water.
Fresh peach and homegrown tomato salad.
Epsom salts.

2000 mr340: storms early, then sun

Pfefferkorn power. Jodi (left) and her sister Katie documented the rapidly changing conditions. Jodi with her camera and Little Miss Sunshine with her power stroke.

2009 mr340: field crew

My field crew did pretty much everything asked of them without
sneering, although steve, practicing 4 next year's event, was the only
one tough enuf 2 blow on my wounded feet .

2000 mr340: tourist feet

Now that my swollen feet are swaddled in Katy trail souvenir socks I
can be a tourist. Farmers market 4 canteloupe & maters is next stop.

2009 mr340: 1st place

Dave Anderson (father in back) relaxes in the boathouse before the start of the mr340. Once the storms blew past, the 1000 hrs of training that Dave and his twin brother put in for the race helped best the field but they fell a bit shy of the record time set in 2008

2009 mr340: black coffee and uncle-a-dog

Dudes with a sense of fun, humor, and a pickle bucket canoe made it to St. Charles

2009 mr340: warrior ant press women's solo winner

Melanie Hof of St. Louis, MO brought home the top prize in her first mr340.

The 2009 MR Warrior Ant Press Women's Solo Division Winners.
Official Results:

1st place, Melanie Hof, 55:58(hrs:min)
2nd place, Natalie Courson,57:41
3rd place, Karen Exon, 62:02
4th place, Jana MaCleland,65:53
Kudos to the others who raced.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

2009 mr340: rainy start?

whatever. no river without rain.

photo by sarah star via flickr. see more images at dokidokididikoko's photostream

Monday, August 3, 2009

the 2009 mr340: the mixed tandem division

Lot's of talk this year about heated action in the mixed tandem division of the MR340. A number of teams new to the MR340 could provide surprises. However, the pairing of three time winner West Hansen with 2008 Women's solo champ, Katie Pfefferkorn, has to make them the odds on favorites. Expect a couple of local favorites to give them trouble along the way. As long as the anti-inflammatory agents work, I Be Pro Fun team (Chuck and Di McHenry) will make anyone serious about the race have suffer to stay in front. The Cedar Strippers, a pairing of one of last year's women's tandem winner, Tabatha Adkins, and versatile athlete Charlie Lockwood, may surprise folks with the quality of their craft.

But let's not forget last year's winners, the Ninja Raccoons, Mike Massey and Jana Shannon. Masters of down playing expectations the team utilizes a rigorous, yet unorthodox training regime to prepare for the race.

"It's 90 percent mental," said Massey recently while repeatedly hoisting pints of Boulevard Dry Stout. When asked if she was ready to defend her title, teamate Shannon casually remarked, "well, if by being ready, did I by the sunscreen, the answer is yes."
The Ninja Raccoons receive some last minute advice from personal trainer, Admiral Clever of the Le Cirque Imaginaire.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

the 2009 mr340: warrior ant press women's solo division

WAP breaks down the women's solo division for this year's Missouri River 340.

One thing is for certain-a new champion will be crowned in this year's race. Katie Pffefferkorn, 2008 champ and solo record-holder has decided to double down with ubiqitous MR340 winner West Hansen. Eric Magee is serving and protecting this year and can't race.

This year 18 women will fight for the top spot on the sandbar. Here's a few to watch:

Natalie Courson, St. Peters, MO #1460. Natalie and Di McHenry won the women's tandem division in 2007 in record-setting time. She can go the distance.

Liz Doubet, Columbia, MO #2525. As a volunteer for Missouri River Relief who'll be manning safety boats along the race, Liz will have plenty of folks to cheer her downriver.

Karen Exon, Topeka, KS #3333. Karen finished just out of the money last year and will be looking to move up onto the podium.

Christina Glauner, Lawrence, KS #0340. Three time MR340 veteran Christina have finished every year. Christina carries a quiet determination and a relaxed attitude about the world but she may log more time in a kayak than most anyone on the river. This could be her year.

Melanie Hof, St. Louis, MO #2239. Melanie trains and motivates college atheletes for a living. Can she listen to her own logic?

Chris Jump, Lawrence, KS #3664. Chris and her partner won the women's tandem division in 2008. This year she solos her way downriver.

Hilary Kelly, Leavenworth, KS. Marine mettle found this newbie finishing 3rd in her first race. Warning to others. This year she's been a boat.

JoJo Newbold, St. Louis, MO #5656. Fast and furious. An expert whitewater kayaker, if she can pace herself properly she should be able to stay in this race till the end.

Catrina Severson, Berea, OH #0822. If they ever include fishing as part of this race, Comrade Goldfish Goddess would surely win. Although this is her first attempt at the MR340, the relative flatwater of the MO River shouldn't be a problem for someone who's adept at simultaneously saltwater casting and paddling through ocean swells.

Adkins and Jump, 2007 Women's Tandem Winners.

Or will one of these first timers surprise the field?
Kris Albright, Fenton, MO #9360.
Traci Lynn Martin, Lee's Summit, MO #1150
Deborah Graham, Oak Grove, MO #1930
Pamela Greer, Kansas City, MO #1818
Cyndie Guffey, O'Fallon, MO #1112
Meghan McCullah, Columbia, MO #0421
Megan Haskamp, Glasgow, MO #4551
Jana McClelland, Hannibal, MO #6329
Christy Yount, Macon, MO #0906.

Stay tuned beginning Tuesday @ 8 am to find out. We'll be posting a few mobile blogs from the race. Or consult the leaderboard for the the latest.