Once on the river it was the normal thing. Chris taking off setting the pace and me chasing him. Let's face it, I have not been in the boat for three weeks, went on a Colorado trip and the only thing I have been doing is training on the bike for the Short Track races. There is no replacement for sitting and grinding the big gear in the boat and immediately my knees and ankles started hurting. Our goal was to get down to Washington and meet a couple other guys (who later bailed) to navigate in the dark the lat 30 miles of the river to the Lewis and Clarke Boathouse in St. Charles. We would go alone.As you can see the sky was turning dark on us about 10 miles from Washington. It was lonely and I felt even more exposed. The sounds were louder at night, we had to listen for water rushing over the tops of the wingdykes in order not to run over them and/or in to them. It was very intuitive and a very good idea to experience this prior to the race in two weeks. I will spend over 50 hours racing from Kansas City to St. Charles on the 27th of July. Our boats are pedal driven, we use our legs and we are getting to the point where we think we might even be competitive.Around 9:00 PM the whole thing went down. No sunset to caste out over the water, darkness. There were lights illuminating the cities and the landmarks. Like the Water Plant in Chesterfield, the Daniel Boone Bridge lit up like a small town in itself. Janie called me just about 5 miles from the Daniel Boone Bridge and I told her where I was and that I was alright. I was holding the phone like a packet of Gu getting ready to squeeze the thing right in to the river. My heart rate was up and I was on edge. By the time we saw the Ameristar Casino we were feeling very comfortable and there was a euphoria about us, very comfortable in the water. It was midnight and we had been on the river since 2:00 PM. The funny thing was once we landed at the Boathouse, just beyond the Casino, there was a mud bog where our feet sunk to our shins with every step. We couldn't hardly get the boats to the car, and Laura, once again was a trooper. Fun stuff, dangerous until respect for the river became intuitive. I am lucky to have been gifted this opportunity and feel that this was a life changing experience. Who wants in?