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Local

Ultra-distance speed paddler tackling the Rock River

A Wisconsin man will be paddling the Rock River this weekend in an attempt to finish the 320-mile trip in 5 days.

Chris Luedke plans to take off Wednesday at the river's mouth near Horicon, Wisconsin, in an attempt to set the speed benchmark for fastest descent of the river.

Luedke is the first person to attempt this feat, so his effort will serve as the benchmark.

You can track his progress at share.findmespot.com, and also on Instagram; his username is 340paddler.

“The Rock River seems underutilized considering its potential," Luedke said in a news release announcing his attempt.

"Some people see the Rock as dangerous or difficult to paddle. That is just not the case, the river is beautiful, safe and accessible along its length."

Luedke began paddling in 2008 with an inflatable10-foot boat; he found the Missouri River 340 in 2009, and registered and raced the first time in 2012. In 2015 he finished the race in less than 50 hours; he has done so every year since, with several top 5 and top 10 finishes.

He has also completed the South Dakota Kayak Challenge, the Missouri Freedom Race, the Des Plaines River Marathon, the Callie Rohr and the Wisconsin River Race.

His interest in the Rock River stems from training on the Rock from Ashippun to Watertown, Wisconsin.

Luedke also is an art history lecturer at UW-Whitewater and an art and antique appraiser, as well as an ultra-distance paddler.

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