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PRE-Race Email 2023

The following includes details from the pre-race email sent to all registered racers:

Saturday October 7th is the 14th annual Race to the Dome. If you are getting this email, you registered for the race!

THANK YOU so much for signing up – we’re looking forward to seeing you on the water!

Thanks to very generous donations from Missouri American Water, St. James Winery, GovWatch, Alpine Shop, Missouri Life, Midwest Paddle Adventures, Evora, Logboat, Waves Cider Co., Mississippi Mud Coffee, Bar Vino, Bar Whiskey, and JC Parks, all of the proceeds from your race entries go to support Missouri River Relief, who has been organizing Missouri River clean-ups and education for 20 years. Check out our work at www.riverrelief.org.

  • The Race Basics - Transportation, Race Start and Finish Info
  • Safety Guidelines - Please read carefully
  • Directions - to both race starts and the finish
  • Our Generous Sponsors

Deepest gratitude to Patrick Lynn, who started the race in 2010 to raise funds for Missouri River Relief and to help build a Missouri River culture right here in the State Capitol. It worked! Thank you, Patrick!

This email will hopefully answer many of the questions you might have about the race.

If you have additional questions, feel free to reach out to Christina Ruiz at christina@riverrelief.org.

Information included below - 

The Race Basics -

Our roster is updated daily. Please check out the roster to make sure your info is still correct. Please reply tochristina@riverrelief.org if you need edits. ALSO please contact us as soon as possible if you want to change your division or which course you are racing. 

Weather

The weather forecast looks light autumn is arriving! The current forecast is for a chilly low of 40 Friday night and a high of 63 on a sunny Saturday. No chance of rain so far.

Morning fog is a possibility. Water temps will be low enough to enable a person to go into hypothermia, so keep that in mind. Having an extra dry bag with dry clothes and rain gear is a good idea in case you tip over or it rains.

If there is lightning/thunder at the beginning of the race, the race will be delayed in 30-minute increments. If there is lightning when the race is underway we request that you pull over and wait out the storm.

Insurance Waiver

This race is insured through the US Canoe Association. You will be required to complete and sign a waiver in order to race. All of the info is needed and each participant needs to fill out a waiver! Click here to download the waiver. If you print it and fill it out and bring it to Check-In at your ramp, that's one less step to do at race start. We will have some additional waivers at the race start.

Free Pre-race Shuttle for Hartsburg Race

There is a pre-race shuttle available for the Hartsburg Race. 

Sign up for the Hartsburg shuttle was part of your original registration, but if you need to change plans and no longer need the shuttle (freeing up a seat for another racer), or if now you do need the shuttle, please email christina@riverrelief.org.

At the finish line, check in at the Missouri River Relief booth if you still need help finding a shuttle back to the race start and we'll announce those throughout the day.

Race Start

There are two race starts, Hartsburg (15.7 miles) and Providence (27.6 miles) and you should already be signed up for one of those.

We recommend that you arrive more than an hour and 15 minutes before the race to make sure you have plenty of time to register and prepare. 

We look to have a large number of racers, so please be patient with us as we work this through!

When you arrive – 

Check in at your boat ramp, submit or complete your waiver, get your t-shirt, sticker and boat number. Boat numbers are assigned.
 

We will be giving you an assigned boat number – it will be an easy-peel sticker this year – you will receive two stickers with your boat number, one for each side of the bow (front) of your boat. 

Begin getting your boat ready to launch and listen for the announcement of the Mandatory Safety Meeting. The First Safety Meeting is scheduled for 8:15 a.m.

Race starts at 9:00 a.m. for the first heat. If there is fog, race will be delayed in 15 minute increments until fog clears.


The road to the Providence boat ramp is VERY narrow and winding. PLEASE DRIVE VERY SLOW and honk as you round corners.

Race Finish

The race finishes at Wilson’s Serenity Point on your left before the Jefferson City Bridge. Our plan is to have the finish line along the sandbar just downstream of the boat ramp. Just look and listen for us cheering you in!

The official finish is when your bow touches shore at the finish line. 

Finish Line Parking

Parking will likely be cramped at the finish line. If it doesn't rain, we have permission to camp on the grass in the area between the parking lot and the ramp up to the bridge. We'll have a volunteer to direct you there. However, if it rains throughout the week, we have to limit parking to paved areas. 

At the race finish, we need to keep the driveway and boat ramp/trailer pull out open for recreational boaters and emergency crews – NO PARKING IN BOAT TRAILER PULL-OUT. Please single park vehicles to the side only while loading gear and then move your vehicle to the lot to make room for others.

In past races at this location, people have double-parked along the boat ramp driveway at Wilson’s Serenity Point which makes it impossible for other recreational boaters or emergency responders to access the boat ramp. We share the river with others and need to use boat ramp etiquette! We're proud to say that Race to the Dome participants have always been accommodating.

Divisions

Please keep in mind -

  • Unlimited is OVER 18 feet. In other words, surfskis 18 feet or shorter are considered in the Kayak (K) class.

Official rules for Divisions are on our website here.

Food and Swag

Place finishers receive medals and wine from Saint James Winery.

All paddlers receive a t-shirt, sticker, and lunch.

Lunch is being provided by Tasteful Findings. New this year – when you arrive at the finish line in Jeff City, we will pass you your lunch voucher ticket. Turn that in at the Tasteful Findings lunch booth! Suggest that your ground crew, family, and friends join you for lunch – Amanda from Tasteful Findings will be selling lunch to non-racers. Vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free options available.

Beer for racers is provided by Columbia’s Logboat Brewing Company. Missouri American Water will have their water tent available, and we will have some sodas available too.

Safety Guidelines

Here's some Safety information to help you have an enjoyable race! It's very important you read this! You can also read this info on our Safety page.

Paddling the Missouri River is usually easier and safer than most people think. But there are still serious hazards to consider. On the Big Muddy, a few mistakes can turn a peaceful float into a very wet and dangerous situation. It’s a wide river and the current is deceptively swift & strong.

Everyone with cell phones should save these numbers on their phones in case of questions or emergency:

Christina Ruiz, Missouri River Relief Finish Line – 785-766-5340
Kevin Tosie, Missouri River Relief Finish Line – 314-698-6069

Wear your lifejacket at all times in the race! Alcohol is not permitted in this race.

If you should capsize on the river – RELAX and float first and grab ahold of your boat. Let your PFD float you as you regain calm. Do not attempt to swim upstream or against the current. Attempting to fight the current will only kick in your panic reflex, not to mention it is impossible. Once you get an idea of where the current is going, you can attempt to hold onto your boat, grab your paddle and move slowly to shore following the current. As soon as you are in a safe situation, call one of the numbers above and a support boat will come pick you up as soon as they can get to you.

ALSO – we need all of you to be safety boats for each other. If you see someone capsize or have trouble, please help and contact the safety crew.

River Levels

The river is projected to be about 5 feet on the Jefferson City gage for the race. At this level, most wing dikes and obstructions are out of the water, but the ends of some dikes are still underwater. You may encounter shallow water where you don’t expect it.

Perche Creek is low. We recommend that competing boats that are behind yield to the lead boat. You'll still have 26 miles to catch up! 

If you see a fellow paddler in trouble, please offer assistance if possible and call one of the numbers above to advise on location. We are all safety boats out there.

Here are some specific hazards to look out for on the Missouri River:

Wing Dikes
These are the rock structures that jut out into the current. At this level, most wing dikes and obstructions are visible and out of the water, but the ends of some dikes are still underwater. There are some “trailing dikes” parallel to shore on the channel side where you don’t expect them. We recommend you avoid wing dikes as the water around and just downstream of wing dikes tends to have swirling currents that will slow you down and may tip an unstable boat. A rule of thumb is to stay in the middle of the river and toward the outside of the bends and the dikes shouldn’t give you trouble. Never approach any obstruction from upstream as the current can trap you against it.

Buoys
Navigation buoys are large metal red or green floats anchored to the river bottom. Give navigation buoys plenty of room. They are known to bounce around and a few are floating just at river level and may pop up and down. Stay aware of what is ahead of you!

Barges
There are very few barges that operate on the Missouri River, but it is possible barges will be moving during the race. We will attempt to find out the latest info on barge placement before the race.

If a barge does come along, it’s best to get out of the main navigation channel (that’s where the barges will be and where the waves will be strongest) and point your bow into the wake it leaves behind. A general rule of thumb is that the navigation channel is on the outside of bends, but it also crosses at each bend. The worst place to be is between a barge and a riprap shore where the waves can push you against the rocks. Barges have almost no ability to turn; it’s your job to get out of their way.

You will pass sand dredges moored in the river just outside the main channel. The dredges are anchored to cables that stretch out on either side. Give dredges and other tied up barges plenty of space and do not approach them from the upstream end.

Boats
Make sure you’re visible to local recreational boats. Turning sideways to the current makes a bigger display. Point your bow into the wake the boat leaves behind. Wave a paddle above your head if you don’t think you’re visible.

Current
The current is deceptively strong on the Missouri. It can catch you off-guard and make a tippy canoe into a tipped-over canoe pretty quickly. Keep your center of gravity low and weight balanced evenly across the canoe. If you need to land on shore, approach your landing from downstream, paddling upstream to your landing spot. 

Wind
If your canoe is perpendicular to the current and you get caught by a strong crosswind, the canoe will tip easier.Headwinds can be exhausting and you may want to consider where on the river you can escape the wind as you move downstream. Of course every time you go around another bend it all changes.

Silver Carp
You may encounter the infamous “Flying Carp”, an invasive species that has invaded our big rivers. They tend to be in backwater, such as Perche Creek, in the few feet next to the bank, or behind wing dikes, including where the current of the main channel pushes against the wing dike eddy. You probably won’t see them jumping in the main channel unless you are fairly close to the bank. They can jump as high as 8 feet. Protect your face and head if you can. They can weigh 50 pounds or more.

This is a good reason to stay a reasonable distance from the bank when paddling downstream. We recommend 50 or more feet.

Fog
There is a chance there will be fog at the start of the race. If there is substantial fog, we will delay the start of the race in 15 minute increments until it clears. If you should encounter a thick fog bank during the race, it is recommended that you pull over and wait for it to clear. Fog is extremely disorienting, and there is nothing to say there won’t be a motor boat or barge headed upstream at you in the fog.

Finding the swiftest water
One of the keys to your success in finishing this race will be finding the swiftest water. The Missouri River we have today was created by the Army Corps of Engineers by channelizing the much wider, more unpredictable historic Missouri River. Because of that engineering and the navigation markers maintained by the US Coast Guard, the channel is fairly easy to predict.

We suggest staying toward the outside of the bends, about 50 or more feet from shore. You’ll save energy and time by crossing the river to stay with the current rather than attempting to hug one particular bank. The water between and surrounding wing dikes, which are mostly on the inside of bends, tends to have eddies and turbulence which will slow you down. There may be patches of faster water at the tips of wing dikes, but they are often followed by slower eddies.

It can help some paddlers to think of the Missouri River as a five-lane highway, where you want to stay in either lanes 2-3 or 3-4 depending how the river bends. Which means if you try to stay in the middle of the river you should be good. Here’s a video by Chris Luedke, designed for MR340 paddlers, that might help you visualize this.

Race to the Dome Directions 

You can download the following directions here.

 
To Race Finish:

Wilson Serenity Point/Carl R. Noren Access – Jefferson City  
(Click here for Google Pin - bit.ly/wilsonserenitypoint)

FROM JEFFERSON CITY: 

Head north on US Hwy 63N/54E and cross the Missouri River bridge. 

Exit at MO-Hwy W (Airport Exit). 

Turn left on Hwy W (Cedar City Rd.)  

Turn left on 4th Street, then left on Cottonwood Drive. Follow the signs!


FROM COLUMBIA: 

Head south on US Hwy 63S.

At Hwy 53/84/63 Junction, exit right to stay on HWY 63 South. 

 Just before crossing the Missouri River, exit west on MO-Hwy W (Airport Exit.). 

After cloverleaf, turn left. 

Turn left on 4th Street, then left on Cottonwood Drive. Follow the signs!


To Finish Line FROM HARTSBURG RACE START

From Parking Lot, take a left on River Road (gravel). 

In tiny "town" of Wilton, take a right onto HWY M (paved road)

Continue 6.6 miles through Ashland. Take entrance ramp onto HWY 63 South toward Jefferson City. 

After 12 miles, Exit Right to stay on Hwy 63 South. 

Just before crossing the Missouri River, exit west on MO-Hwy W (Airport Exit.). 

After cloverleaf, turn left. 

Turn left on 4th Street, then left on Cottonwood Drive. Follow the signs!

To Finish Line FROM PROVIDENCE RACE START

There are MANY different ways to do this drive. None are simple and all take at least 45 minutes. 

Head up the hill from the boat ramp parking. PLEASE DRIVE VERY SLOW AND HONK AS YOU ROUND CURVES.

Take a right on Dothage Rd. 

After .8 miles, take a left on Smith Hatchery Rd. 

Take an immediate right on Woodie Proctor Rd. 

After 2.7 miles, take a right on Route N. 

Take first left on Nashville Church Rd. Stay on to the right to continue on Andrew Sapp Rd. (paved)

After 2.5 miles, turn left on Route MM. 

After 2.8 miles, turn left on Route M

Drive through Ashland. At first roundabout, enter onto Hwy 63 South. 

Drive 12 miles. At Hwy 53/84/63 Junction, exit right to stay on HWY 63 South. 

 Just before crossing the Missouri River, exit west on MO-Hwy W (Airport Exit.). 

 After cloverleaf, turn left. 

Turn left on 4th Street, then left on Cottonwood Drive. Follow the signs!

Head north on Cottonwood St. 


To Hartsburg Boat Access

Click here for Google Pin – Hartsburg
NOTE – these directions avoid the town of Hartsburg because it’s often confusing for people. These directions take you through Ashland and Wilton. 

To Hartsburg Access From Wilson Serenity Point/Noren Access, Jefferson City: 
There is a slightly shorter, but more confusing way to go. These directions send you through Ashland. 
Google Map – Hartsburg directions

Head north on Cottonwood St. 

Take a right on 4th Street. 

Take a right on Cedar City Dr.

Take a left onto Hwy 63 N on-ramp.

Exit to the right onto cloverleaf to Hwy 63 N. 

Drive about 12 miles to Ashland exit (Hwy M and Y). Exit to the right. 

Head west on Broadway (Hwy M) (around one roundabout, cross highway, another roundabout then through the town of Ashland)

Drive 6.6 miles on Hwy M. At the T in Wilton, take a left onto River Road (gravel road). 

Continue 2 miles. MDC Hartsburg Access will be on your right. 


To Hartsburg Access From Columbia – 

Head south on Hwy 63. 

Exit to the right at Ashland exit (Hwy M and Y) . Take a right at roundabout and continue through the town of Ashland on Broadway (Hwy M). 

Drive 6.6 miles on Hwy M. At the T in Wilton, take a left onto River Road (gravel road). 

Continue 2 miles. MDC Hartsburg Access will be on your right. 


Directions to Providence Access

Click here for Google Pin - bit.ly/providenceaccess

To Providence Access From Columbia: 

Head south on Providence Road, which turns into Route K. 

After about 6 miles from Broadway, you’ll pass a Conoco gas station on your right, then in less than one mile, look for Old Plank Road on your left and turn left there (by Cooper’s Landing sign). 

After 1.1 miles, turn right on gravel road to stay on Old Plank Rd. 

After 1 mile, turn left on gravel road to stay on Old Plank Rd. 

Follow this 1 mile. PLEASE DRIVE SUPER SLOW. This winding narrow road will take you down to cross the Katy Trail to the Providence Access Parking Lot.


To Providence From I-70, coming from the west (Kansas City, Sedalia, etc.)

Take I-70 east to Exit 117 (Hwy O & J). 

Take a right onto Hwy O toward Huntsdale. 

After 6.5 miles, take a left onto Grocery Branch Rd. 

After .9 miles, take a right onto Bur Oak Rd (and cross the Katy Trail). 

In about 4.8 miles (you’ll pass through the small town of McBaine and cross the Katy Trail again) take a right on Mt. Celestial Rd (gravel road).  

Take a right on Warren School Rd. 

After 1.6 miles, take a right on Old Plank Rd. 

Follow this 1 mile. PLEASE DRIVE SUPER SLOW. This winding narrow road will take you down to cross the Katy Trail to the Providence Access Parking Lot.


To Providence Access From Wilson Serenity Point, Jefferson City:
There are MANY different ways to do this drive. None are simple and all take at least 45 minutes. 

Google Map Directionsbit.ly/providence-directions

Head north on Cottonwood St. 

Take a right on 4th Street. 

Take a right on Cedar City Dr.

Take a left onto Hwy 63 N on ramp.

Exit to the right onto cloverleaf to Hwy 63 N. 

Drive about 12 miles to Ashland exit (Hwy M and Y). Exit to the right. 

Head west on Broadway (Hwy M) (around one roundabout, cross highway, another roundabout then through the town of Ashland)

After 1.5 miles, turn right on Hwy MM. 

After 2.8 miles, turn right on Andrew Sapp Rd. 

After 2.5 miles, turn right on Hwy N. 

Take first left onto Woodie Proctor Rd. 

After 2.7 miles at T, take a left onto Smith Hatchery Rd. 

Take immediate first right onto Dothage Rd. 

After .8 miles, take a left at the T onto Old Plank Rd. PLEASE DRIVE SLOW. This winding narrow road will take you down to cross the Katy Trail to the Providence Access Parking Lot.

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Proceeds from the race support Missouri River Relief's efforts to connect people to the Missouri River through hands-on river clean-ups, education and recreation.
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