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
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.
There are a number of other documents and policies you can review ahead of time:
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.
UpdatesHere's the latest news about this race:
- May 4, 2021 - Bitter Pill – Increasing the Number of Teams!
- January 25, 2021 - 2021 Bitter Pill Adventure Race – Registration is Open!
- January 16, 2021 - 2021 Race Schedule
- September 28, 2020 - Announcing 2020 Catamount Adventure!
- June 15, 2020 - 2020 Bitter Pill Update
|2||3C||Strong Machine AR||Kate White, Evan Moreshead, Tom Martin|
|9||3C||Only MOSTLY Lost||Laura Comtois, Mark Labor, Stephen labor|
|12||3C||Strong Machine Dev Squad||Marty Golightly, Doug Welling, Katherine van Hengel|
|26||3C||Team Pants||Brendan Fisher, Geoff Hand, Amy Sayre|
|32||3C||The Donner Party||Matthew Tullo, Steve Maher, Mary tullo|
|34||3C||Ravenous Penguins||Nicole Wyse, Sam O'Brien, Joshua Cyphers|
|48||3C||Dixie's Chicks||Dave Dix, Molly Dix, Maryanne Connelly|
|50||3C||Tree's a Crowd||John McKinnon, Brenda Rose, Ian Holland|
|51||3C||Troy Irish||Nicole Pelletier, Michele French, John Mulligan|
|55||3C||Sommers Chiropractic||Michael Sommers, Brianna Palleschi, Jeremy Hester|
|59||3C||Wolz Bikers, Hikers & Kayakers!||Marian Wolz, Chris Wolz, Ben Kidder|
|60||3C||UltraBambi||Brian Staveley, Alicia Clemente, Taylor Burt|
|57||3C||Three-legged dogs||Clare Tattersall, Radu Teodorescu, Violet Teodorescu|
|18||3F||Disruptive Dingos||Brianna Mahon, Heather Ashey, Kara Henry|
|56||3F||Triple thick||Eliza Anti, Kate Powell, Jillian Zeilenga|
|7||3M||Reunited||Geoff Elder, Christopher Thompson, Hans Von Briesen|
|13||3M||Strong Machine Dev Team (AV Club)||Jeffrey O'Connor, TBD, TBD|
|16||3M||YB Normal||Ron Barron, Doug Sevon, TBD|
|20||3M||Fueled By Fiddlehead||Cory Halliburton, Matt Kolesar, Bob Green|
|23||3M||Cherubini Brothers AR||Michael Cherubini, Jeffrey Cherubini, James Cherubini|
|27||3M||Team GHB||Mike Gannon, Greg Hester, Josh Brown|
|30||3M||The Rough Estimates||Richard Olmstead, Julian Portilla, Nick Gray|
|41||3M||51st Percentile||Jay Doubman, David Doubman, Brent McHenry|
|46||3M||Hixon's Folly||Kevin Marks, Jeff Hixon, Ian Stephens|
|49||3M||ERECT||Jason Arndt, Alexander John, TBD|
|52||3M||Dirty weekenders||David Gawlick, Derek Howard, Ethan Waldo|
|53||3M||Must Go Faster||Charles Turner, Mills Forni, Ben Murray|
|58||3M||Wicked Stoked||Jordan Duffy, Baxter Miatke, Kyle Duff|
|66||3M||Untamed New England||Jeffrey Woods, JOSEPH BRAUTIGAM, TBD|
|68||3M||Wes Polo||Daniel Cohen, Henry Schneider, TBD|
|3||2C||Team Honey Badger||Jeremiah Goyette, Elizabeth Scott|
|14||2C||Naughty by Nature||Brian McLeod, ANN CHANG|
|15||2C||Snacks/Where's the Bug Spray?||Greg Kolvoord, Jennifer Kolvoord|
|17||2C||Bavis||Jason Avis, Amanda Burns|
|19||2C||WDS||Peter O'Connell, Peter O'Connell|
|33||2C||As The Crow Flies||Casey Maynes, Daniel Maynes|
|37||2C||JegerÃ¥nden||Heidi Halvorsen, Andreas Halvorsen|
|40||2C||Sparkles & Jerkface||Erin Rycroft, Thomas Rycroft|
|43||2C||The Challenged||John Farley, Colleen Keilty|
|61||2C||Lady and the Tramp||David Farley, Kathryn Bowman|
|63||2C||Katie Gets Goosed||Tim Howland, Katie Mertz|
|1||2F||Team Kash||Kit Vreeland, Ashley Eaton|
|6||2F||Collaboration & Execution||Emily Moreshead, Elyse Newman|
|36||2F||FBA||Chelsea McBride, Elizabeth Record|
|42||2F||I-80||Elena Thompson, TBD|
|5||2M||East-West AR||Bert Rothenbach, TBD|
|8||2M||Woodbury Athletic Club||Tim Grogean, Jimmy Crocker|
|10||2M||Stack Pack||Sean Nelson, Andy Grillo|
|11||2M||Huff and Puff||Tyrell Arment, Matthew Dombrowski|
|21||2M||Goose AR||tim ratowski, Ian Webber|
|22||2M||Concord50s||Drew Clarke, Ed Jennings|
|25||2M||Trail Dogs I||Scott Ellison, Peter Ingraham|
|24||2M||Dail Trogs||Kevin Baum, Tuck O'Brien|
|28||2M||Flying Turtles||Chance Cardamone-Knewstub, Benjamin Wang|
|29||2M||Dad Team 6||Andrew Hook, Christopher Hartmann|
|31||2M||Trail Dogs 2||David Burkoff, Jeff Kenney|
|35||2M||Straight off the Couch||Ricky Meinking, Kevin Carbone|
|38||2M||Mud, Sweat and Beers||Jim Bailey, Jay Finn|
|39||2M||ShantyTok||Bay Gross, Bay Gross|
|44||2M||If Found, Saran Wrap to Tree||Sam Yager, Jackson Yager|
|45||2M||Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems||Tyler Barnes, Terry Collins|
|47||2M||Better off outside!||Christopher Ward, Peter Reed|
|62||2M||The Ferrisburgh Foragers||David Croke, Ethan Croke|
|64||2M||Strong Machine AR||Cliff White, Glen Lewis|
|65||2M||Kanye is the West, and Juliet is the Sun||Matt Schley, David Eastman|
|67||2M||Dr. Filth & Little Boy Lost||Matt Lunt, Britt Haselton|
|69||2M||Hey Its Those Guys||Tim Curtin, Jim Christiansen|
Totals: 2C:11, 2F:4, 2M:22, 3C:13, 3F:2, 3M:15
We'll expect you to pay for the whole team up front. (Team members added later will have to pay the going rate at that time.)
Teams of 3 will get a canoe, teams of 2 will be in a tandem kayak. We may be limited on the number of boats we can get, so if you’re interested in that $400 USARA sponsorship for the top 3-person coed team, don’t wait to sign up!
If you’re not sure who your teammates are, you can still lock in the current rates and reserve a spot by registering today.
Important note: Both divisions are currently full. However, we are a long way from race day and we are likely to have several slots open up as plans change. If you are interested in securing a spot on our waitlist, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Jan 20 - Mar 31: $123 per racer.
- Apr 01 - Jun 15: $138 per racer.
- Jun 16 - Jul 16: $153 per racer.
- Jul 17 - Aug 02: $159 per racer. (Shirts not included)
Along with the usual items, this year's fees include t-shirts, canoe/kayak rental, USARA membership and qualifier fees.