The Bitter Pill

Teams of 2-3
Hike, Bike, Paddle!
August 14th, 2021, 6am-6pm
Craftsbury, VT

The Bitter Pill is a summer adventure race for teams of two or three. We will be holding the 16th Bitter Pill in on Saturday, August 14th, 2021.

This race features summer disciplines like hiking, biking, and time on the water – as well as requiring you to continually navigate. We are known for being able to really challenge experienced teams while providing a great race for the first-timers. If you have never done an adventure race before, this is a great way to get started.

What’s the short description of this event? Let’s put it this way: we’ll get your team out into the woods and on the water, doing different activities, navigating with a map, and going to places you never would have otherwise. You’ll have an incredible, unique experience with other teams there to do the same. The competition is truly with the course – you’ll go as fast and far as you want to, all with a goal of making it to the finish and seeing as much of the course as possible.

Teams do not need support crews for this event. Outside of what is provided by the race organizers, teams must be self-sufficient. This is an adventure, after all!

We will be following a strict set of COVID-related protocols to keep racers and volunteers safe. These will not prevent you from having an amazing day outdoors.


The 2021 race will feature the following disciplines:

  • Navigation with topographical map and compass
  • Mountain Biking
  • Hiking / Trekking
  • Paddling

Keep in mind that these disciplines can occur in any order, and you could have multiple sections in the course for each activity. We’ll sometimes surprise you with other disciplines too – a short swim, a quick climb – but nothing you wouldn’t be prepared for.


The race will be based out of the Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Craftsbury, Vermont. This is quintessential Vermont, with beautiful scenery, lots of elevation changes, and boundless opportunities to bike, paddle, and hike.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this a good race for a team new to adventure racing?
Absolutely. A twelve-hour race is the standard length for a beginner adventure race. One thing we do really well is providing a enjoyable experience for the new teams.

Will we be plotting UTM coordinates?
No. We use pre-plotted maps. We made the decision as an organization that in a race of this length it made more sense considering the number of new teams we see. Never fear – the navigation will be challenging enough without this extra step.

Can we leave personal gear we don’t need behind, such as our PFD when not on the paddle section or bike helmet when not on the bike section?
Assume the answer is no. Some races will have a section where you can leave some gear and grab it later but this is generally not the case. Your best bet is to practice carrying everything and adjust based on the specifics of the course. You can leave water bottles attached to your bike, but you can’t leave your helmet and shoes behind unless specifically told otherwise. (Don’t worry, you do get to leave the boat and bike behind when not on those sections.)

Do I need a real mountain bike for this race?
Our courses typically feature all sorts of terrain, including technical trails, forest roads, paved roads, and even hike-a-bike sections. We always recommend a real mountain bike but if you want to try your luck with a hybrid or single speed bike, that’s your call.


For your reference – please take a moment to review these documents, specifically the required gear list.

Mandatory Team Gear List
Mandatory Individual Gear List

There are a number of other documents and policies you can review ahead of time:

Any racers under age 18 on race day will need a parent or guardian to sign waivers for them - in that case, we'll reach out with specifics.


Due to the nature of the sport, you must be punctual. All race activities will start on time whether your team is there or not. Set multiple clocks, hire a wakeup service, buy a rooster, do whatever you have to do to get up and be on time.


Saturday, August 14th: 4:00-5:30 a.m.
Staggered Race Start:
Saturday, August 14th: beginning at 6:00 a.m.
Race Finish:
All racers should be off the course by roughly 6:00 p.m., depending on their start time


Here's the latest news about this race:


Team # Division NameRacers
23CStrong Machine ARKate White, Evan Moreshead, Tom Martin
93COnly MOSTLY LostLaura Comtois, Mark Labor, Stephen labor
123CStrong Machine Dev SquadMarty Golightly, Doug Welling, Katherine van Hengel
133CStrong Machine Dev Team (AV Club)Jeffrey O'Connor, Katarzyna Wegrzyn, Jeffrey O'Connor
263CTeam PantsBrendan Fisher, Geoff Hand, Amy Sayre
323CThe Donner PartyMatthew Tullo, Steve Maher, Mary tullo
343CRavenous PenguinsNicole Wyse, Sam O'Brien, Joshua Cyphers
423CI-80Bay Gross, Elena Thompson, Kelsey Gross
483CDixie's ChicksDavid Dix, Molly Dix, Mary Connolly
503CTree's a CrowdJohn McKinnon, Brenda Rose, Ian Holland
513CTroy IrishNicole Pelletier, Michele French, John Mulligan
553CSommers ChiropracticMichael Sommers, Brianna Palleschi, Jeremy Hester
703CAdventure JohnJohn Stawinski, Sheila Stawinski, TBD
593CWolz Bikers, Hikers & Kayakers!Marian Wolz, Chris Wolz, Ben Kidder
603CUltraBambiBrian Staveley, Alicia Clemente, Taylor Burt
663CUntamed New EnglandJeffrey Woods, Nicki Driscoll, Jonathan Neely
723CSterling StudsHannah Allen, Clara Miller, Tobe Decided
183FDisruptive DingosBrianna Mahon, Heather Ashey, Kara Henry
563FTriple thickEliza Anti, Kate Powell, Jillian Zeilenga
73MReunitedGeoff Elder, Christopher Thompson, Hans Von Briesen
203MFueled By FiddleheadCory Halliburton, Matt Kolesar, Bob Green
233MCherubini Brothers ARMichael Cherubini, Jeffrey Cherubini, James Cherubini
273MTeam GHBMike Gannon, Greg Hester, Joshua Brown
303MThe Rough EstimatesRichard Olmstead, Julian Portilla, Nick Gray
413M51st PercentileJay Doubman, Jay Fiske, Brent McHenry
463MHixon's FollyKevin Marks, Jeff Hixon, Ian Stephens
493MERECTJason Arndt, Alexander John, TBD
523MDirty weekendersDavid Gawlick, Derek Howard, Ethan Waldo
533MMust Go FasterCharles Turner, Mills Forni, Ben Murray
583MWicked StokedJordan Duffy, Baxter Miatke, Kyle Duff
683MWes PoloDaniel Cohen, Henry Schneider, Michael Leyden
713MREI 1Trevor Wellman, Eduardo Donoso-Estay, Joshua Hull
32CTeam Honey BadgerJeremiah Goyette, Elizabeth Scott
142CNaughty by NatureBrian McLeod, Annie Chang
152CSnacks/Where's the Bug Spray?Greg Kolvoord, Jennifer Kolvoord
172CBavisJason Avis, Amanda Burns
192CWDSPeter O'Connell, Peter O'Connell
332CAs The Crow FliesCasey Maynes, Daniel Maynes
372CJegeråndenHeidi Halvorsen, Andreas Halvorsen
402CSparkles & JerkfaceErin Rycroft, Thomas Rycroft
432CThe ChallengedJohn Farley, Colleen Keilty
612CLady and the TrampDavid Farley, Bowman
632CKatie Gets GoosedTim Howland, Katie Mertz
732CGet itCristina Davenport, Clint Davenport
12FTeam KashKit Vreeland, Ashley Eaton
62FCollaboration & ExecutionEmily Moreshead, Jenna Palumbo
362FFBAChelsea McBride, Elizabeth Record
52MEast-West ARBert Rothenbach, TBD
82MWoodbury Athletic ClubTim Grogean, Jimmy Crocker
102MStack PackSean Nelson, Andy Grillo
112MHuff and PuffTyrell Arment, Matthew Dombrowski
162MYB NormalRon Barron, Doug Sevon
212MGoose ARtim ratowski, Ian Webber
222MConcord50sDrew Clarke, Ed Jennings
252MTrail Dogs IScott Ellison, Peter Ingraham
242MDail TrogsKevin Baum, Tuck O'Brien
282MFlying TurtlesChance Cardamone-Knewstub, Benjamin Wang
292MDad Team 6Andrew Hook, Christopher Hartmann
312MTrail Dogs 2David Burkoff, Jeff Kenney
352MStraight off the CouchRicky Meinking, Kevin Carbone
382MMud, Sweat and BeersJim Bailey, Jay Finn
442MIf Found, Saran Wrap to TreeSam Yager, Jackson Yager
452MYoyodyne Propulsion SystemsTyler Barnes, Terrance Collins
472MBetter off outside!Christopher Ward, Peter Reed
622MThe Ferrisburgh ForagersDavid Croke, Ethan Croke
572MThree-legged dogsClare Tattersall, Radu Teodorescu
642MStrong Machine ARCliff White, Glen Lewis
652MKanye is the West, and Juliet is the SunMatt Schley, David Eastman
672MDr. Filth & Little Boy LostMatt Lunt, Britt Haselton
692MHey Its Those GuysTim Curtin, Jim Christiansen

Totals: 2C:12, 2F:3, 2M:23, 3C:17, 3F:2, 3M:13


Registration is currently closed, but since it's still before race day, contact us to see if there's room to race!

For reference, here are the rates for this year:
  • Jan 20 - Mar 31: $123 per racer.
  • Apr 01 - Jun 13: $138 per racer.