Ten years! You keep coming back, even when it’s so cold you can’t remember your fingers. This year’s Outdoor Gear Exchange Frigid Infliction was a challenge, to be sure – but teams new and old jumped into the ice bath headfirst.
For round ten, it seemed only right that we mix things up a bit – so we completely changed the ropes element, inflicted temperatures lower than ever before, and handed out Nordic maps with no checkpoints at the start.
With the mercury hovering 5-10 below zero, racers were given instructions:
Piles of gear on their backs, looking like a Vermont-style cross-country rave, the scramble began!
It’s hard to operate a compass when you can’t take off your mittens, though.
The next race segment was on snowshoes while carrying skis.
Five checkpoints in any order: up hills, across streams, and even in a “cave” that long-time racers might recall from 2008.
After the snowshoe (at the second transition area) racers developed a growing sense of dread before the longest posthole leg we’ve ever done.
That doesn’t look so bad, it’s only a little bit above their knees, and it’s pretty flat.
Ohhh wait, maybe it does go uphill after all. Maybe it’s 700 feet of elevation gain through snow up to your armpits.
Thanks to Goose Adventure Racing for this short gopro clip showing just how fun a posthole can be.
He made it though, and so did the racers!
Special shout-out to Mammut for helping to outfit core volunteers with awesome insulation. We really appreciate the assist, especially this year!
After CP12 it was a quick downhill (sometimes too quick!) with the faint smell of Vermont Smoke & Cure bacon drawing racers to the high ropes course.
Racers took their time at this transition area. I wonder why?
Along with the party atmosphere, there was a challenging high ropes course to complete between TA4 and TA5. Each team member had to cross a different element of the course in relay fashion.
Some racers said they preferred the usual tyrolean, but some were thrilled to be moving horizontally instead of pulling uphill.
Everyone who attempted the high ropes made it up, across, and down safely. Staff from Petra Cliffs were fabulous as always!
One last piece of Bacon before hitting the trail…
After that, teams were off on the final choose-your-own-adventure. Ski or snowshoe, but lug all of your gear uphill with you!
Two teams even snagged a bonus point at the top of the Catamount Trail.
Exhausted and happy, teams arrived at the finish mid-afternoon.
The biggest cheers came when we raffled off beef sticks from Vermont Smoke & Cure. New gear will be appreciated for years to come, but beef sticks really speak to the post-race brain.
If you’re thinking “Ooh, I’ve never had mild frostbite, where do I sign up?” you know where to find us. We do this for fun!
All the photos we’ve collected are are at photos.gmara.org as usual. Click the thumbs-up below anything you like, and we’ll create a best-of collection.
If you’re viewing the race results, click any TA time to jump into the collection near that time & possibly find pics of yourself at that TA.
If you’ve got photos, videos, blog posts, GPS tracks or stories from the trail, please send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org with details and we’ll get them up here.
- Another video from Goose Adventure Racing.
- A strava track from the NH Trail Vets.
- The excellent-as-always writeup from the NH Trail Vets.
Lastly, watch your email for an invite – the OGE Bitter Pill is returning to the Bolton Valley area on August 1st… and Graham already has course ideas for next year’s Frigid Infliction!
– The GMARA Crew