2003 World Record Set:
18 days, 4 hours, 51 minutes!

The Mississippi River Challenge for
Rett Syndrome & Leukodystrophy

- May 10, 2003 6 AM to May 28, 10:51 AM 2003-

A 2,348 Mile Marathon to Support a Marathon of Research!


Bob Bradford, forward position, Clark Eid, in the back, approaching L & D 24

May 13, Monday


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Text Updates from our Race Web Log

Just saw the latest position update come in about 10 minutes ago - the statistics table created by Steve Dimse at findu.com ( on our site at Team Hope's current position vs. 1984 record ) show the paddlers are 100 miles ahead of the 1984 record right now, pretty incredible..... can that be right? I had to look at that a few times, but it is correct.....

When I look at the schedule Clark left me of the paddler's "best guess" of where they would be when it shows they were guessing they would be at Brainerd Pot Latch Dam at 8 AM this morning. I can see on the Where Are They Now? they are just north of Brainerd now...

When I talked to Clark last night (Monday) around 8 PM he was eating some of the Palisade's "feast" and was very happy to see the turn out in Palisades. He was feeling much better than the last time we had talked (right after the Lake Winnie crossing). He almost sounded like he had finally gotten some sleep.... I mentioned David Harrington had sent pictures from Bemidji and he said "What a great guy - David paddled with us through some really difficult part of the river". I also told him we have had several emails from paddlers "down" the river (and one nearby) who were hoping to paddle with them when they came through and he was very happy to hear that... I believe his response was very enthusiastic "Great!". I'm sure the paddlers love that when they have some "on the water" company....

Special thanks to the kind folks at Palisades too, for helping Team Hope during this very exciting event....

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HOLY COW!

Go TEAM HOPE!

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From Dana Hanson:

It's 7am and all is great.  The paddlers are 100 miles ahead of the world record.  Right now, the road crew is in a parking lot in Brainerd.  Although they'll try to get a few winks, they also need to do laundry and might do a bit of shopping for odds & ends.  And today is the day that Stan is supposed to return to Park Rapids (half way between Brainerd and Lake Itaska) to retrieve our Expedition.  The paddlers are expected to arrive between 11am and noon.

Yesterday, the land crew did some scouting around the Diversion Dam.  It was rather low in spots -- a drop, a pool, and then another drop.  No huge drops, but big enough that the paddlers would probably have to portage if they couldn't figure out something.  (Portaging is unloading & carrying all the canoe's contents and the canoe itself, then reloading the canoe.)  After walking half a mile to help check out the dam, Verlen Kruger suggested that Stan & Davey put 3" to 4" logs over the drops.  Turns out it was a fantastic idea.  When the paddlers got there, they were able to line the canoe without taking the time to unload and reload it.  (Lining the canoe means you attach a rope to the fully loaded canoe and pull it thru the water.)  They slipped gracefully over the logs to the next level.  Being able to avoid portaging enabled them to make up extra time.  (When somebody who has paddled over 100,000 miles speaks, most paddlers listen closely.  Thank you, Verlen!)

After the Diversion Dam, the land crew was waiting for the paddlers at Highway 6.  They were catching a few winks knowing the paddlers would probably be there around 6am.  Well, thanks to Verlen's suggestion of using the logs to slide the canoe over, the paddlers woke everyone up when they arrived at 5am.  They ate and relaxed a tad, and were on the river by 5:35am.  When the land crew started packing up, they noticed there was frost on the sleeping bags.  Kinda chilly, huh....    Regardless of the temperature, everyone is warm inside and in great spirits!

Clark is still talking about his experience of two nights ago.  As we all know, lack of sleep can make strange things happen.  When Clark was paddling by himself (Bob was asleep), he started seeing things, some of which were quite bizarre.  He said those 12-foot raccoons were something to behold.  Go to bed, Clark!!

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I sent the following to the Team Hope road crew today (May 13)

The lock and dam phone numbers are your primary points-of-contact. Work with them at the local level whenever possible as opposed to involving the contacts that are listed for the main offices. With travel on the river being in a "normal" state (no river closures etc.) you should not have any trouble locking through (or portaging if necessary).

The following are some thoughts...most of which we already discussed in Bemidji:

1. Do not try to portage Upper St. Anthony, Lower St. Anthony or Lock and Dam No. 1. It would be very difficult to do given the urban surrounding and in some cases steep cliffs. The locks at these three sites are on the right side. Get over to the right and stay there at all 3 sites as you approach so the canoe does not get swept over the waterfalls (very dangerous).

2. Below there lock thru if possible. Check the website http://www.mvr.usace.army.mil/mvrimi/omni/webrpts/omni_vl/river_lock.asp
for info on how busy a lock might be. Of course calling the lock and dam is your best source of up to date info. If a portage is necessary....call the lock and dam for advice. It can take at least 1.5 hours for a tow/barge to lock through.

3. Do not be in a hurry at the lock and dams. Take it easy, be patient.

4. As I mentioned yesterday...go thru the lock and dam at No. 27 (go left)....do not go over the Chain of Rocks to the right.

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Clark called today, around 4 PM CST to say ..... they were at mile river 984.... paddling went well today.... they were at Camp or Fort Ripley.... and that he had to go now....literally... something about after you were sitting all day and then stood up that it had certain effects on the body.... they do plan to eat and get right back in the water.... I can't remember whether Bob or Clark is sleeping "next", but it sounds like they sleep in 3 hour blocks a couple times a day, and they make sure both of them are awake during the the deep night time hours.

I also heard from Tammy Hanson, road crew groupie :-), and mom to Rachel Hanson, who has Rett Syndrome... she was travelling with the crew today, said things were going well overall, and that she saw Clark and Bob during their "MacDonald's" lunch today. She said it was amazing watching them eat - that she didn't think the food even touched their tongues before they swallowed it.... something about eating like mad dogs and not watching their "fat grams"... too funny. Sounds like they are all having a good time. I still remember from the last race Clark telling me a story about being so hungry he ate a Milky Way wrapper and all while paddling..... something about burning 10,000 calories a day....

Well, sounds like things are going well overall, hopefully Stan has his truck and camper back, and hopefully warm nice days are ahead - on that note, I will go check the official weather forecast for the area....

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The team is north of St. Cloud, MN ....... looks like they are heading into thunderstorm weather...

Weather for St. Cloud, MN is:

Tonight. Periods of showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the upper 40s. East winds 10 to 15 mph.
Wednesday. Showers and thunderstorms likely in the morning. Cloudy with showers likely during the afternoon. Breezy. Highs in the lower 60s. East winds 15 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 70 percent.

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We had our last encounter with Team Hope today in Brainerd which is about 45 miles from us. I guess meeting up with them 5 days in a row would probably make it obvious that we are addicted huh?! My husband Bob is a turkey farmer so he can be a little flexible when it comes to work so he was able to go every day too. We met them at the Kiwanis Park right in Brainerd, which allowed us to have McDonalds for lunch ;-), it was a really gorgeous day and the sun was warm, one of the first real nice days we have had in a very long time around here. We sat around and visited with the road crew and Verlen and Jenny Kruger were still there too. Bob's daughter Angie did some more nice artwork on the windows of her suburban explaining the race, her artwork even included the outline of the states bordering the river.......she is quite an artist!

When Bob and Clark came in they literally stood on the bank and wolfed down some food, I bet they have no idea what they were even eating, just packing down some calories to burn I am sure. They had the video camera hooked up pointing at them when they took off with microphones attached, so we should get some interesting footage soon.

We were a little sad to have to part with the group knowing we wouldn't be catching up with them anymore, but they are doing so well, it is good to see them get closer to that finish line. A Rett family from BelGrade, MN is meeting them in Little Falls tonight bringing pizza for supper.

Tammy Hanson

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As of 7pm, the land crew is in Little Falls, MN. They expect the paddlers in less than an hour. Still 114 miles ahead of the world record. Stan got his Expedition back, and talk about a strange problem -- the windshield had lost its seal and whenever the truck got wet, water flowed into the computer center. Isn't technology grand?

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The paddlers arrived at 7:30pm in Little Falls. A local Rett family is providing the food. They have twin girls, both of whom have Rett. When their mother was talking with Clark and Bob, she got very emotional. She was giving them long hugs and was thanking them from deep in her heart for their efforts to bring Rett & Leukodystrophy to the forefront of people's attention. Stan, with tears in his speech, said that during the last race in 2001, Team Kruger usually never saw these emotions -- they were reserved for Clark and his paddling partner, Kurt Zimmermann. Watching it happen today really makes one stop and realize exactly what it's all about. "Moments like this make the whole challenge worth while - regardless of whether we break the world record or not."

When the paddlers leave, Bob will be taking his 3-hour shift nap, while Clark paddles the 9 miles to Blanchard Dam. The River looks more like it did during the 2001 race, with the water current picking up.

Stan mentioned a moment a couple days ago when they were at the Paper Mill Dam in Grand Rapids. He said they were surrounded by electrical outlets. All Andrew could say was, "I'm in heaven -- sitting in the middle of a place with all this electricity!"

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I got this email from Pete Colas, he lives near Aitkin and is a member of the Minnesota Canoe Assn, he heard about the race on the internet and was hooked up with Bob and Clark just north of Brainerd yesterday morning to do some paddling with them.


My paddle with the guys was fun as I was able to stay with them and not slow them down. I was impressed with Bob's memory he seemed to remember more than I could recall about some of the races we were in. They looked good on the way down and appeared to be fresh for the time and distance they had traveled so far. Just rec a message from some friends in Mpls and they are planning on hooking up with them at St Cloud and will paddle to Anoka or maybe to Ketters just above Hiway 694 in Mpls.
posted by Tammy Hanson

 

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Bob and Clark paddling near Riverton, MN, 5/13/2003 - Picture by Pete Colas

Bob and Clark paddling near Riverton, MN, 5/13/2003 - Picture by Pete Colas

 

Race Updates Next Day May 14