Frigid 2013 Writeup

We’re glad the 2013 MVP Health Care Frigid Infliction was held at Bolton Valley Resort.

In the valleys of Vermont, things were a little wet, and the snow had given way to rain.

Luckily, Bolton has the elevation required for a proper winter race. While we didn’t get a three foot dump like we do some years, we were treated to light snow falling during registration and throughout the race. All in all, perfect winter race weather.

Perfect weather, that is, unless you’re still driving. Combine light snow, temperatures just below freezing, and a 4:30 pre-race briefing… and you get a few teams unable to make it up the mountain.

Luckily, with Subaru-equipped volunteers passing by, most racers made it to starting line by 5:00. Some races have a planned “staggered start”, this one definitely had a few people staggering.

Skiing with headlamps, most teams searched for three checkpoints on nearby nordic trails… while others searched for their passports.

More teams than ever before chose to punch their maps and old lift tickets after dropping that key piece of race gear during the first segment.

Teams returned to TA1 at the Bolton Nordic center in great spirits, and made the transition to snowshoes. Skis were loaded into a truck and racers set out to find CPs 4 through 9 in whatever order made sense to them.

Some orders might have been better than others.

Almost every team found something challenging in this section, from the “small saddle” of CP4 to the “ridiculous maze” of trails and tracks near CP9. That’s the most polite thing we heard it called, anyway.

The Joiner Brook ran right through the middle of the snowshoe leg, so teams had the fun of crossing a semi-frozen stream at least once. Luckily, nobody went swimming, although some of these holes look like they’re worth a visit in the summer…

Once teams had collected all the snowshoe points they could find, they popped out of the woods at TA2. Many paused for a brief snack – rice crackers with goat cheese, peanut M&Ms, a half pound of cracker barrel cheese… gourmet all the way at a GMARA race.

TA2 was staged just outside The Ponds, our dinner location. We heard from a number of racers that if the bar had been open, their race would have ended right there.

From TA2 teams hit the posthole leg, looking for three more CPs. For some racers whose snowshoes had broken earlier in the day, most of the morning was a posthole… at least now they wouldn’t have to fight with zip ties and carabiners holding their shoes together.

After a quick posthole teams reached TA3 and the Tyrolean Traverse. It was heading downhill this year, but as anyone who hauled a full pack across the ravine will tell you, it’s still not a zipline.

Someone was saying they loved the arm workout… whoever asked for that, we’ll try to fit in a nice long portage during the Bitter Pill just for you. Or did we mishear that?

“That was harder than I expected!”
  — half the people at TA4.

TA4 gave many racers a chance to pause and let the blood flow back into their arms while waiting for the rest of their team.

Thanks again to Steve & Andrea from Petra Cliffs for making the ropes safe, efficient, and fun.

After another short posthole to TA5, teams had the chance to do a bit more skiing – uphill, of course. Some headed into the woods for CP13-17, and others just climbed straight up Broadway towards the Nordic Center.

Teams finished strong at the Nordic Center with the sounds of volunteers cheering and cowbells ringing. Thanks again to Bolton Valley for having showers, a hot tub, a pool, a bar, a wind-proof building… and thanks to Jenn O’Connor for the massages!

Untamed New England sent two coed teams to this race, a two-person (Dave Lamb, Jenny Johnson) and a three-person (Jason Urckfitz, Erik Grimm, and Meghan Smith). Surprising nobody, both teams crushed the course: all 17 regular controls and the bonus in 7 hours and 27 minutes, crossing the finish line at 12:30. With the time bonus, that gives them an official time of 5:27.

Then Dave went for a ski to see a bit more of the terrain. This is not a joke.

Second place for three-person coed went to Pain Syndicate, finishing at 13:41, and two-person to Acidotic Racing – Team Pumpkin at 14:39. Both teams hit all 17 regular course points.

In the men’s division, “Goose Adventure Racing” took the top prize for a 3-person team, getting all but CP17 and finishing at 14:44. For two-person teams, “Lost But Not Forgotten” found all 17 regular CPs by 14:34.

In the women’s division, 3-person team “Starry Knight” took first place reaching 7 controls by 14:57, and 2-person team “Absolutely Nuts” finished with 12 CPs by 15:06.

A huge thanks goes to the volunteers who made this happen:

Pictured are Laurie, Chris, John, Jen, Laura, Courtney, Diane, Karin, Justin, Sam, David, Patrick, Colin, Jack, Ryan, Graham, Shawn, Tim, Scot, Jason & Bert. We also had help from Amy, Meg, Kit, Mark & Carolyn.

Special thanks to Graham for doing the majority of the course design (and setting more than half the flags Friday morning), Jen for handling catering and lining up new sponsors, and Karin & Courtney for opening their home to piles of volunteers.

It’s always more fun to staff a race when you get to hang out with friends instead of standing in the cold by yourself… we had a lot of fun this time around.

As Chris said at the post-race party, we’re not doing this just for the race anymore, and we’re certainly not doing it for the money.

We organize these events because it’s the best excuse to hang out with an awesome crew and tell stories. It’s like a big family reunion, except we see some of you more often than our family members.

Lastly, thanks to all of our sponsors. MVP Health Care makes it possible to put on great races like this year after year. Things like the ropes and the great meal can’t happen without their contribution.

Bolton Valley Resort gave us a great base of operations and access to some of the best terrain in the northeast, and The Ponds put together a fantastic meal.

EMS is always there with discounts, prizes, and rental gear.

KIND Healthy Snacks have been in GMARA swag bags for years, and gave us some awesome flavors this time around.

Jenn at Sustainable Wellness gives us an amazing rate for post-race massage – and good rates the rest of the year, too.

Our newest sponsor, / The Outdoor Gear Exchange donated the Skyver as a prize for those supporting conservation through the Vermont Land Trust.

The ropes crew from Petra Cliffs always does a fantastic job, and if you want to spend more time in the air, they do much more than tyroleans.

If you have the opportunity to thank these sponsors for their support, “like” them on facebook, shop at their stores or promote their gear, please do. They support GMARA because they’re awesome, but they also like the publicity.

As usual, all the photos are on SmugMug. See a photo you love? Mouse over it and click the green thumbs up – the most popular go to the Best-Of Gallery.

If you have photos or a race writeup, please send them to us – – and we’ll post them here or add them to the gallery.

Thanks again for racing, and see you at the Bitter Pill August 17th!
– David, Chris, Shawn & the GMARA crew