Test Your Nettle
Slightly Frigid Edition
At GMARA, we try to design our races so new teams can participate, have fun, and make it to dinner. To be honest though, “The Bitter Pill” and “The Frigid Infliction” aren’t exactly a walk in the park. It can be hard to attempt 8+ hours in the woods and harder to convince friends to join you!
That’s why we launched “Test Your Nettle” in 2017 – a shorter, non-competitive event that’ll work your navigation skills & get your feet wet. We’re doing it again this winter!
We’ll be doing some interesting things to keep the cost really affordable and make it possible for everyone to come. That being said – we’ll still get you off-trail, you will still have plenty of opportunities to get lost, and you’ll have the chance to do some of the most approachable mountain biking we’ve provided in a few years!
Also – we may add on a bonus NIGHT section for those looking for more of a challenge or to experiment with navigating via headlamp. If this is interesting to you, let us know. We may not add it to registration but do it as a special side-event for those interested.
For every “Test Your Nettle” we want your experience to be similar to a typical GMARA adventure, with one major difference:
- This isn’t a race against other teams; It’s your team vs. the backcountry.
We will publish results after the fact, but the goal of this event is to let you build skills, try out gear, see how your team gets along, and learn whether you like the taste of adventure. (If you really need that competition, consider another GMARA race.)
Some things stay the same as other GMARA events:
- Navigation with map & compass
- Great terrain
- Team-based adventure — groups of at least 2 people, staying together for the whole event
- Fabulous post-race gathering!
- Awesome raffle prizes
Other things will be adjusted:
- Shorter race length (3-5 hours)
- Significantly lower price (~$45)
- More flexible team size (2-6 people)
- Later start time (no waking up for a 4:30 a.m. start!)
- Reduced gear list (hopefully no rental gear needed)
- No awards or prizes for top teams, just pleasant exhaustion
You’ll have to decide how much training and physical preparation is required for 3-5 hours of adventure, but if you’re comfortable with a hike of the same duration you should feel ready to join in the fun.
You’ll still need to be prepared, even if you’re not deep in the backcountry for a full day. This is mostly gear that you’d want on any outdoor adventure, so even if you have to shop for a space blanket it’s still a wise $2 investment.
You’ll need at least these items:
Per team, carried through the entire race:
- Waterproof map bag (a 2-gallon ziplock works ok if you don’t go swimming)
- First aid supplies. We suggest:
- 1” bandages
- 3″x4” gauze pads
- 2″x5yd gauze roll
- 1/2” adhesive tape roll
- Anti-bacterial creme/towelettes
Per racer, carried or worn during the entire event:
- Container for at least two litres of fluid
- Compass (declinating compass recommended)
- Space Blanket/Bag
- A full set of cold-weather gear: Hat, gloves, insulating shirt & pants.
- Chemical hand warmers
- Lighter / waterproof matches
Occasionally racers ask if they’re allowed to bring things not on our gear list – absolutely! Nothing that gives an unfair advantage, but the items above are just a starting point. Here’s a short list of other gear to consider:
- Mirror (compass mirror is acceptable – for signaling)
- Sunglasses & sunscreen
- Waterproof / windproof shell
- Cell phone & a waterproof case (but see the electronics policy)
- Knife with folding, locking blade
Rates are as follows:
- Dec 02 - Dec 17: $39 per racer.
- Dec 18 - Jan 14: $42 per racer.
- Jan 15 - Feb 10: $45 per racer.
- Feb 11 - Feb 28: $45 per racer. No shirt orders possible
That covers a day of fun at Bolton including maps, passports, site access fees, insurance, and a dinner invite for every racer. Shirts are optional and will have to be ordered separately.
As always, we’re 100% nonprofit with no paid employees.
Please take a minute to review notes on costs and refunds including important details about what happens if you withdraw closer to race day.
Test Your Nettle check-in should be quick – we’ll have a few things to sign.
Everyone should be checked in by 9:45, at which point we’ll hand out official maps and cover the instructions before the start.
Everyone should finish by 3 p.m. — teams who are on time will be entered into the post-race raffle!
RegisterPlease head to the Registration Form to get started. We've made some code updates recently, so if you see any issues by all means please contact us for assistance.
We try to do most of our waivers online, but you may still have to sign a few paper documents at on-site registration.
- You can review the online waivers before registering if you have any concerns.
- A downloadable copy of the USARA Waiver is here.
- The basics of the GMARA photo release are included on the Race Rules Page.
- You’ll have to fill out this Emergency Contact and Medical Form at registration.
- Bolton Valley has us fill out paper copies of their waiver at registration.
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.