The Bitter Pill
Many of you have come here looking for details of the 2018 Bitter Pill. Surprise! You won’t find any.
Wait, what? Yes, indeed. Our next Bitter Pill is the fifteenth and we simply couldn’t work the magic we had planned for the event without additional planning time. It will definitely be coming back next year in a different location and venue than ever before!
In the meantime, what to do?
In 2018, we’re doing something different; we’ll be holding a summer version of our Test Your Nettle event! Please check out the details. If you’re interested in looking ahead to the 2019 Bitter Pill and what that may be like, you can read more below.
The Bitter Pill 2019
The Bitter Pill is a 12-hour adventure race for teams of two or three. We will be holding the 15th Bitter Pill in 2019.
This race features several disciplines 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. This was the first adventure race for about a third of the participants the past five years, so don’t be intimidated.
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!
The 2019 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.
We’re not quite ready to announce the 2019 logistics yet but look forward to doing so later this year.
The Bitter Pill aims to be one of the most affordable 12-hour adventure races in the northeast. We’re a non-profit, so all the fees go toward making the event awesome.
Race rates for 2019 are TBD, but here are the 2017 rates for reference.
Important: Our cost structure is a bit unusual, please review:
- There's an up-front non-refundable $48 registration fee.
- There's a separate per-racer fee that we'll collect later.
- May 14 - May 21: +$81 per racer.
- May 22 - Jun 18: +$102 per racer.
- Jun 19 - Jul 16: +$123 per racer.
- Jul 17 - Aug 11: +$135 per racer. No guaranteed shirt due to ordering timelines.
Only the $48 is due on signup though, the rest will be collected later.
Please take a minute to review notes on costs and refunds including important details about what happens if you withdraw closer to race day.
Registration fees cover the following:
- Race entry for your team – an opportunity to explore the outdoors in a new way, creating memories and friendships that last for years.
- Waterproof topo map for your team from MyTopo
- Transport of bikes or racers (as needed)
- All insurance, permits, and safety staff
- Wicking GMARA t-shirt for every racer
- Great swag like Garuka Bars for every racer
- Pre-race navigation clinic from GMARA experts
- One of the best post-race parties in the industry!
- Thousands of full-size race photos, 100% free to racers.
- Prizes for top teams in each division as well as a gear raffle for all racers at dinner
- $400 sponsorship towards USARA nationals for the top 3-person coed team
- USARA Regional Qualifier (top teams qualify for nationals)
You’re welcome to try it anyway: Registration Form
If it’s unusable, please come back when you’ve got a larger screen available! If you want a reminder, please contact us and we’ll be in touch shortly.
For your reference – please take a moment to review these documents, specifically the required gear list. Note that you have to actually bring all your gear to registration for a safety check. We need to be sure that we’re not sending you out unprepared, and that means looking at everything from bikes and helmets to water bottles and whistles!
We try to do most of our waivers online, but you may still have to sign a few paper documents 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.
If you want to review waivers ahead of time, the USARA Waiver is here, the basics of the GMARA photo release are included on the Race Rules Page, and you’ll have to fill out a copy of this medical form at registration as well: Emergency Contact and Medical Form.
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.
Please note: Registration includes a mandatory gear check for all members of your team. Bring all your required gear with you!
The 2019 schedule is still being finalized, but here’s a past schedule for reference:
(Not a 3.5 hour meeting, just a ~20 minute drop in)
UpdatesHere's the latest news about this race:
- May 16, 2018 - 2018 Test Your Nettle! 2019 Bitter Pill!
- August 14, 2017 - Bitter Pill 2017 Results
- March 28, 2017 - 2017 Bitter Pill Information
- August 10, 2016 - OGE Bitter Pill 2016 – Results
- August 6, 2016 - Bitter Pill 2016 live updates
- July 26, 2016 - Course Updates!
- June 28, 2016 - OGE Bitter Pill – Registration Update
- June 17, 2016 - OGE Bitter Pill 2016 – Questions & Answers
- August 16, 2015 - OGE Bitter Pill 2015 – Results
- August 1, 2015 - Bitter Pill 2015 Live Updates
If your division ends in -WL, that means you are on the waitlist - our race is full, but if a spot opens up we'll contact you. You should still get all racer-related email, but don't pay us until you hear that we can actually accomodate you.
|#||Div||Team Name||Captain||Teammate||Teammate||1||3C||Chaffing The Dream||Tom Martin||Amanda Auger||James Montague||2||3M||Dixie's Chicks||Brendan Dix||Chris Neumann||Tom O'Donovan||3||3C||Rugged Road||thorin markison||Michael Chartrand||Meredith Naughton||4||3C||Strong Machine||Cliff White||Claire Poulin||Chris Sussman||5||3C||The Donner Party||Matthew Tullo||Steve Maher||Mary Tullo||6||3M||25th Percentile||Jay Doubman||David Doubman||Brent McHenry||7||3M||Age Before Beauty||Bert Rothenbach||Curt Carlisle||Henry Ferrari||8||3M||Dirty weekenders||Derek Howard||David Gawlik||Ethan Waldo||9||3M||Mountainous Morons||Wyatt Vargas||Josh Fisher||Owen Teetor||10||3M||Sandwich Squad||Baxter Miatke||Jordan Duffy||Matthew Gardner||11||3M||Stupid Animals||Ralph Horak||Brett Anderson||Craig Thomas||13||3M||Trail Dogs A||Scott Ellison||Jeff Kenney||Josh Whipple||14||3M||Trail Dogs B||Kevin Baum||Dave Burkoff||Pete Ingraham||15||3M||Trumpin, What a long strange trip||Jack Himmelsbach||Cris Cote||Jason Storer||16||3M||Untamed New England||Dave Lamb||Joe Brautigam||Jeff Woods||17||3M||Vet-Eng||Erik Petersen||Luc Frechette||Joey Slobodian||18||3M||Wet Yetis||Jason Gibbs||David Coriell||Neale Lunderville||19||2C||A Paradox||Timothy Grogean||Claudia Grogean||20||2C||Kidder's Kittens||Benjamin Kidder||Marian Wolz||23||2C||Nettle Tea'sers||Brenda Rose||John McKinnon||24||2C||Sleeping Bears||Benjamin Levitt||Faye Zheng||25||2C||Strangers of the Valley||Megan Moir||Mark Walsh||26||2C||The Rugged Rats||Clare Tattersall||Radu Teodorescu||27||2C||Stage 1/Airline Cycles #1||Melissa Kubicki||Mikael Taveniku||28||2C||What Were We Thinking?||Mark Salas||Jennifer Brown||29||2F||Shake'inators||Kit Vreeland||Ashley Eaton||30||2M||Mighty Morphin Park Rangers||Gerben Scherpbier||Cedar Farwell||31||2M||Mud, Sweat and Beers||Jay Finn||Jim Bailey||32||2M||North is Everywhere||Ross Lieb-Lappen||John McGuinness||33||2M||Team Rugged||Matt Caldwell||Phil Hodgkins||34||2M||Team USA||Jeff Thurlow||Andrew Neff||35||2M||The Placebo Effect||William Hafferty||Jay Oppenheim||36||2M||Stage 1/Airline Cycles #B||Greg Kolvoord||David Boudreau||37||2M||YB Normal||Ron Barron||Doug Sevon|
Division breakdown: 2 Person Coed: 8, 2 Person Female: 1, 2 Person Male: 8, 3 Person Coed: 4, 3 Person Male: 13 (34 teams)
Where racers are from: VT: 36%, MA: 18%, NH: 13%, CT: 8%, ME: 7%, NY: 5%, ON: 4%, VA: 2%, GA: 2%, MD: 2%, NJ: 1%, PA: 1% (85 racers)
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 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.