The Bitter Pill

Who:
Teams of 2-3
What:
Hike, Bike, Paddle!
When:
TBD, 2021, 5am-5pm
Where:
Lyndonville, VT

The Bitter Pill is a summer adventure race for teams of two or three. We will be holding the 16th Bitter Pill in 2021. Unfortunately, we are not able to host our typical event in 2020.

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!

Disciplines


The 2020 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.

Directions


Specific directions will be posted as the event draws closer. Expect to be somewhere near Lyndonville, Vermont.

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.

Documents


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!

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.

Schedule


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!

Final schedule:

Registration:
Friday, TBD: 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
(Not a 3.5 hour meeting, just a ~20 minute drop in)
Free Navigation Clinic:
Friday, TBD: 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Pre-Race Briefing:
Saturday, TBD: 5:00 a.m.
Race Start:
Saturday, TBD: 5:30 a.m.
Race Finish:
All racers should be off the course by 5:30 p.m.
Dinner:
Food should be served around 6:00 p.m.

Updates

Here's the latest news about this race:

Register

Registration is closed for the previous event and not open for possible future events. If you'd like to be notified when things are planned, sign up for email from the contact page.

For reference, these were the rates for the previous event:
  • May 02 - May 11: $123 per racer.
  • May 12 - Jun 15: $138 per racer.
  • Jun 16 - Jul 20: $153 per racer.
  • Jul 21 - Aug 02: $159 per racer. (Shirts not included)