Racers at the 2014 edition of the MVP Health Care Frigid Infliction started their day with a pleasant surprise: A short downhill ski on a trail that Bolton calls “Broadway”.
Wide, groomed, no climbing… so easy that we could even use portions of it for a kids’ race later in the day.
Of course, at 5:00 in the morning it was dark, and the trails were icy, and there were 96 racers all jostling for position. Maybe it wasn’t as easy as it sounded at first.
This would look just like the nordic races at the Olympics if it weren’t for Crumpets the Magical Elf.
Checkpoints 1 and 2 were “Off Broadway” which meant anyone enjoying the downhill too much had to turn around and do a bit of climbing.
After those points, racers were given the option to limbo underneath the gate at the end of Bolton’s trail network before reaching the first transition area. Some tried!
At TA1, racers left their skis behind and headed off on the Posthole leg.
Postholing is always everyone’s favorite.
Teams hit TA2 between 6:15 and 9:45, strapped on snowshoes, and headed east.
The snowshoe leg had checkpoints 6-12 scattered across the side of Bone Mountain, and no specific order required. Some teams headed immediately south following the catamount ski trail; others opted to go for a point on a small stream while the navigation was a bit easier. One team went in reverse order to maximize their time in fresh snow.
No matter which route they chose, the course was going uphill. It took teams anywhere from 3-5 hours to complete this leg.
Luckily, it had some of the best views in years – mostly clear skies meant seeing Camel’s Hump from four of the seven checkpoints.
CP10 was particularly pleasant, once you were up there.
For many teams, CP10 was a good navigation clinic refresher: when the topo lines are close together, it’s steep.
Two steps up, one step back… next time, bring ropes?
For those with flawless navigation, it was still almost 2300 feet of elevation gain…we’re guessing some teams probably climbed more than that.
After the snowshoe teams made it to the third transition area, where Vermont Smoke & Cure sponsored one of the tastiest gear checks in GMARA history – pull out your required knife and slice up a beef stick!
Thanks to our friends at the Outdoor Gear Exchange for putting us in touch, only good things can come from a relationship between adventure racers and a local company that smokes their own bacon.
Now, not everyone was in the mood for a beef stick at that point in the race – and of course, we have a number of vegetarian racers – so the volunteers helped them out by eating anything that might otherwise have been leftover.
Another tough job for the GMARA volunteer crew.
The Tyrolean! A challenge like no other, especially after 4-8 hours of racing.
Steve and the staff from Petra Cliffs did an amazing job this year – even with the largest number of racers at any Frigid, everyone moved through like clockwork.
Every year we’re amazed by the displays of inner strength and perseverance at the tyrolean.
Racers get 75% of the way across, their arms just stop working, for a half-second they look totally defeated.
But no: they grind out the last ten feet, make it to the other side and start smiling.
Most common quote at TA4:
“That was harder than I expected!”
From the tyrolean, it was a short snowshoe to TA5 where racers grabbed skis for checkpoints 13-17 on the Bolton Valley nordic trails.
This section had some unusual navigational challenges, more climbing, and plenty of sliding downhill in the slick backcountry.
Three more bonus points were available to teams that just couldn’t get enough of the hills.
Perennial favorites Untamed New England sent two teams this year, and they won as expected, reaching all CPs and BPs in just under 9 hours.
However, when we offered an extra bonus segment (cleaning up after the Wintry Wander) they turned us down – they were actually tired!
Race directors consider that a success.
Other teams also loved the course:
“Why did you do that to us?”
“When’s the Bitter Pill?”
For finishing times, check the full results table or the simple results.
“This feels so good right now.” — Viva La Corner, off their feet for a moment.
Congratulations to Rick and Steffanie, the second couple to get engaged on a GMARA course! A very different sort of transition area, indeed. The first couple, Ashley and Jeremy (now happily married!) were also on hand. GMARA definitely considers it an honor to be involved in such important events.
Thanks again to MVP for making all of this possible, to Bolton for a great race location, to the Ponds for a great post-race party.
We can’t wait to see you all again at this summer’s Bitter Pill or next year’s Frigid!
A huge thanks to our own support crew:
- Meg, Laurie, and Blythe for letting their husbands spend all their free time in the woods
- Karin for organizing another fabulous dinner
- Abbie for the post-race massage work
- Scot, for breaking trail to CP9 so Shawn could set it the next day
- Colin, John, Patrick, Bert, Drew, Tim, Diane, Shana, Courtney, Liz, Eric, and all the other volunteers without whom this couldn’t happen
- Everyone who hung a poster, shared a post, wore our shirts to other events, convinced friends, relatives, lab partners, students and employees to take part
As always, our photos are up at SmugMug. See a photo you love? Click the thumbs up symbol at the bottom – the most popular go to the Best-Of Gallery.
New this year – from the race results page if you click on your TA times, it’ll jump into the photo collection around that time – easily find more pics of your team!
Here’s a few post-race details shared by teams:
If you have stories to share, blog posts about the race, or photos of your own please get in touch and we’ll add them to the galleries or share them here!
A huge thanks to our sponsors – let them know you appreciate their support!
Thanks for racing and see you next year!
— Jen, Chris, Shawn, Graham, and the GMARA crew