OGE Bitter Pill 2016 – Questions & Answers

We’ve been getting a few questions from teams new and old, and thought we’d capture key ones here so all teams are on the same footing.

  • We will provide boats and paddles – most likely canoes for teams of three and kayaks for teams of two, but it’ll depend on what our suppliers can provide. You’ll need to bring your own PFD and most likely carry it through the entire race.
  • You’ll have to bring your own bike. A hybrid bike is not a great idea, we really suggest a bike with a front shock and decently knobby tires. The amount of technical terrain varies from year to year, but most years a hybrid bike without a shock wouldn’t be very well suited. Expect everything from muddy singletrack, logging roads, stream crossings, XC-ski trails, gravel or paved roads… it’s all fair game.
  • We may have to move your bikes around – we don’t communicate that ahead of time as it would give course details away. We are very careful with the bikes when we do have to shuttle them. We have only ever (across many races) had two bikes with any sort of issue, and we made it right. Not a guarantee, but the odds of an incident are quite low.
  • Regarding the bike terrain, novice bikers fight their way through every year. Less experienced bikers (including some of our course designers) should just plan on pushing/carrying their bike a bit more often. Don’t let this hold you back, though! We have tons of new teams every race and they manage to have a great experience.
  • There are required gear lists on the site for both team and personal gear. However, these won’t go over the personal choices and ‘extras’ such as bug spray, sunblock, food, etc.. Most of that is personal preference so we avoid giving suggestions.
  • Regarding training, one of the best aspects is that you can largely do whatever you like! The important thing is to do all the disciplines at some point. Hike, bike, and paddle. Wear your pack, as loaded as you expect it to be during the race, when you get out for your rides or hikes. Keep in mind that the trek section(s) typically take 3-5 hours, off-trail, so it’s more of an arduous trek and less of a distance run. We suggest you practice eating what you’ll eat during the race and wearing the clothes you’ll plan on wearing, as often as you can. The more used to everything you are, the less likely you are to be surprised.
  • The best place to learn nav is through an orienteering club. There are various clubs around; you’ll need to do some searching for your area.

If you have more questions, leave a comment here and we’ll do our best to answer without giving away course details.

3 Responses:

  1. Luc Frechette

    We are very interested in your race. We are a team of 2 or 3. I read that there’s a waiting list because of a shortage of boats. We can bring our own canoe. Is that OK?
    Thank you,

  2. Erik Petersen

    Is it possible to bring our own canoe. Most adventure races allow this. We can come early in the morning and shuttle the canoe to the necessary location, shortly before the race.

  3. Shawn

    First: We heard back from the boat provider and they found more canoes, so a few more 3-person teams will get to race. Kayaks are still tight though, so 2p teams will stay on the waiting list while we figure out whether we can switch an entire 2p division to canoes or something similar.

    Regarding bringing your own boats: There are a few reasons why we typically don’t do this. First, we always avoid giving away course details ahead of time, including the boat pickup/dropoff points. Second, we like a level playing field – if one team shows up with their carbon fiber ultralight racing kayak, it puts other teams at a disadvantage. Third, logistics like security and insurance, all the hassles that go with a huge pile of racer-owned boats lying in a field somewhere… it’s good to have a local company coming to pick things up rather than have a volunteer sitting there all day, waiting for teams to finish the race, eat dinner, and come gather their gear again.

    For what it’s worth, we’re definitely considering alternate race models for future years, including racer-supplied boats, but we would communicate that when we announce the race – for this Bitter Pill, we need to stick with our usual plan.