Another year, another fantastic adventure race! Racers and staff awoke early in order to meet at the Stowe Town & Country at 3:45am. After a 45 minute bus ride to the start, teams got a quick pre-race briefing, and then opened their maps at the 5am start. The first section was a short on-foot run down to the mist-covered river in the dark. The paddling section took them by a few checkpoints before a brutal hilly portage, and then back to the river toward their bikes.
Once out of canoes and onto bikes, racers rode straight… up… hill… to TA3, where bikes were dropped to collect six points in any order. (The nettles in the section could only be described as “openly hostile”.)
A short ride back down hill to the Catamount trail hike-a-biking, where some teams chose to drop bikes and head off to collect two navigationally-challenging bonus checkpoints. Then finally some fun downhill payoff, and a stop at Beaudry’s Store to pay $1 for a souvenier toy. (The Beaudry’s folks loved seeing the racers, by the way, and wanted everyone to know that the payments were pooled and put toward a worthy cause.)
Next – a swim. A very muddy, weedy, leech infested swim in Gillett pond. This section of the course, while short, brought some of the favorite quotes of the day including: “its warmer in the weeds”, “we paid for this?!”, and “uuuuggggghhhh!!!” (Several teams can take credit for that last one.) Jim was of course on hand taking pictures of everyone – some great stuff there.
After drying off, it was back to the bikes for the final ride to the finish back at the base of Honey Hollow, where smiling volunteers and watermelon awaited. Last but not least, bus trips back to the Town & Country for a shower, dip in the pool, dinner, race shirts, plenty of story-telling, and prizes.
The Snot Rocketeers pushed hard and crossed first with a time on course of just under 9 hours. Great racing by everyone – this course was tough both mentally and physically, and the smiles on everyones’ faces at the end make for a very successful day!
Photos (almost 2000 of them) are online here: http://gmara.smugmug.com/Races/BitterPill-2010. (As usual, you are free to use them any way you see fit, but please give us credit, and if possible link back to the gallery or the race website. If photos are being used for profit, please contact us first.)
Racers – if you have any photos or blogs about the race, send them to us at info at gmara.org, and we’ll put them online for everyone. Like so:
And now, a few important thank yous. First, our races wouldn’t be possible without our sponsors! Please patronize these fine businesses, and tell ‘em GMARA sent ya:
Title sponsor MVP Health Care, prize sponsors Outdoor Research, Eastern Mountain Sports, Untamed Adventures, Endurance Aventure, TrailRunner, Zanfel, The Right Stuff, Catamount Outdoor Family Center, Vermont Forest Parks & Rec, Union Street Media‘s web hosting, Umiak Outfitters.
Of course, last but definitely not least, without all of our amazing volunteers our races would be possible. They gave up sleep (3:45am? Voluntarily? Craziness!), staffed checkpoints in the middle of nowhere, and kept racers’ (and organizers’!) spirits up, all while managing chaos – “thank you” could never be strong enough!
Next race: the 2011 Frigid Infliction. Who’s coming?
– Tim, Chris, and Jim at GMARA.org