KANSAS CITY — Madison Davis and Tom Fletchall, both from the Maryville area, competed in the Missouri American Water MR 340 race this past week.
The duo finished the Kansas City-to-St. Louis river trek around 2:30 a.m. on Friday morning in 113th place out of the 378 watercrafts that competed.
The duo were rookies in the event, so they didn’t set the bar all that high.
“It was our first time in the event, so finishing period was our goal,” Davis said.
Davis and Fletchall were also 24th out of 88 participants in the Men’s Tandem Division.
According to rivermiles.com, participants are allowed exactly 88 hours to complete the course and there are nine checkpoints along the way were competitors are required to sign in and sign out.
There are cutoff times at these checkpoints on the 88-hour timescale and if a particpant or team misses two of the cutoff times could be grounds for elimination.
In 2015, only two thirds of the competitors completed the course in the 88-hour window according to the website.
The website also states that the course offers only occasional obstacles and is well marked thanks to the United States Coast Guard.
In preparation for the race, Davis and Fletchall did strength training for six months as well as taking three test runs (two shorter and one longer) on the Missouri River.
While the race did offer its share of challenges, there was plenty to enjoy along the way as well.
“My favorite part was meeting other paddlers and the community spirit,” Davis said. “There were also awesome sunrises and sunsets.”
Fletchall was also impressed by the views.
"My favorite part was the scenery," he said. "The river and the land around it change so much over 340 miles. There was always something new to look at."
On the flipside, the toughest part for Davis was doing this on a lack of sleep.
Over the 3-day stretch, the duo slept for less than 10 hours total.
The MR340 turned out to exceed the duo’s expectations.
“We thought it was going to be a terrible race going in, just from the stories we heard- from hallucinations to heat strokes,” Davis said. “Overall, though, it ended up being a good time. We saw a lot of really neat things that most don’t get the chance to see.”
Fletchall stressed that the duo knew the heat level was going to be high, so they came prepared.
"We had expected the heat to be unbearable, but we were constantly drinking water and electrolytes, and splashing the river water on us, so the heat didn't affect us much."
Davis and Fletchall also brought their fair share of supplies along with them on the journey.
“We each had a 1-gallon container of ice water, a 1/2-gallon container of an electrolyte solution, and various other salty snacks, pretzels, peanuts, granola bars,” Davis said.
“We also had a ground crew consisting of my wife Lindsey Davis and a friend of hers Kensi Rhoden, resupplying us with more drink and snacks along the way. They definitely played a big part in our successful first-time finish.”
The duo is planning on partaking in the event next year, but would want to make sure they pick a lighter canoe which would, in theory, increase the speed.