OGE Bitter Pill 2015 – Results

The Outdoor Gear Exchange Bitter Pill returned to Bolton Valley this year for the first time since 2009. We love spending time at Bolton in the summer – great views, great trails, and great amounts of elevation gain!

Bitter Pill 2015 started with a paddle on the Waterbury reservoir, and one of the most gorgeous sunrises of the summer. Volunteers shared breakfast pastries and relaxed on the beach, some even caught an early morning rainbow…

Wait, something’s missing here… the pleasant sunrise didn’t happen until later in the morning.

Much earlier in the day, racers climbed on busses and rode to the reservoir. At 5:00 the race started with a quick swim to retrieve their passports. Nothing like getting properly soaked before climbing into your boat!
Vermont had been warm in the weeks leading up to the race though, so it was a (relatively) pleasant dip in the reservoir to start the adventure. Once passports had been collected, teams grabbed boats and paddled off to find CP1, a buoy at the northern end of the reservoir.


This was one of our tighter paddling segments – lots of competition on the water as teams jockeyed for position.

At the first Transition Area, racers carried boats a short distance – just enough to be thankful it wasn’t a portage – and then headed into the woods on foot for a trek up the back side of Bolton.

CPs 2-7 were running directly up a ridge line – one of our tougher treks when you consider the elevation gain, but at least the day’s perfect weather made the nettles more bearable.

Observant racers followed a segment of the Woodward Mountain backcountry ski trail – not well-marked, but it did open up a bit in places. Some of these glades could use another visit in a few months…

Near the top of the trek, one of the points was hung on the far side of Goose Pond. Most teams went around the mud, some did not.

Mmmm that’s adventurous.


After all that climbing, it’s only right that you get treated to a view like this one.
TA2 was at the Bolton base lodge, where our fabulous GMARA volunteers cheered on racers with Garuka Bars and VT Smoke & Cure Bacon (expertly prepared by Shana from Goose Adventure Racing!)
From TA2 it was time to hit the bikes and head back uphill on the alpine trails (and downhill on the nordic ones) for more checkpoints. We put a bonus point at the top of the Vista Quad for those who hadn’t climbed enough yet.


Racers were treated to post-race watermelon donated by longtime racers “The Donner Party” as well as pints of Conehead IPA from Zero Gravity Brewing.

Two of our youngest racers ever (10 and 15) competed this summer (both with a parent) and they showed amazing endurance and competitive spirit!

For finishing times, check the full results table or the simple results.
Post-race festivities and food from Bevo in the James Moore Tavern capped off the day nicely. Top teams and raffle-winning racers went home with some of the best gear we’ve ever handed out thanks to OGE, Mammut, Garuka Bars, VT Smoke & Cure, and Ski VT.

We hear from racers that they don’t often stick around at other races, but with GMARA the post-race story-swapping is one of the best parts of the day. We can’t imagine it any other way!

Thanks again to all the volunteers – planning, scouting, marketing, flagging, testing, setting, photographing, cleaning, and bacon-frying, it’s a huge effort that can’t happen without help. Anytime that you can’t race but still want some adventure, let us know.

The next generation of GMARA members!

All the photos we’ve collected are are at photos.gmara.org as usual. Enjoy and give a shout out to GMARA if you’re sharing!


Thanks again to The Outdoor Gear Exchange for making the Bitter Pill possible!

See you in March, when these hillsides will be slightly more frosty.

– The GMARA Crew