The Pioneer Mountain Bike Stage Race will return for its third iteration from 25 – 30 November 2018.
An awe inspiring six-day mountain bike stage race, The Pioneer takes riders through and around New Zealand’s pristine Southern Alps. The revamped course links together amazing riding over farm tracks, NZ Cycle Trails, double track and single-track in a very special part of the world where soaring mountain peaks, crystal-clear blue lakes, and golden high country await. If you’re looking for a mountain bike race to get you inspired again, this is it!
IMB has a team racing the third edition of The Pioneer stage race in New Zealand in November this year. One of the great mountain bike stage races that should be on every cross-country rider’s bucket list, The Pioneer covers 424km and a massive 15,124m of climbing over 6 days and is arguably one of the toughest stage races in the world. The pay-off for all that climbing is access to the high country of the Southern Alps, and the spectacular views that brings. “Find Stunning” is one of the tag lines of the event, and it promises to deliver. If there’s any breath left by the time riders reach the tops, then the magnificent vistas promise to take it away.
The Pioneer is contested by two-person teams – it is important to have a shoulder to cry on when breaking-down half way through Stage 4 with 3 solid days of riding in your legs, when you realise you still have half an Everest to climb before the end of the week. This is one race that puts the mountain in mountain biking. “Find Character” guarantee the organisers.
Peg Leyland and Kath Kelly will be racing as Team IMB and will be posting daily updates to share the highs (lots of those!) and lows of the race. Both raced the inaugural Pioneer in 2015, Kath as half of the winning women’s open team, and Peg’s team was third in the mixed open. After 3 years to forget the painful memories, the new course for 2018 has tempted them back for another go with the promise of exploring new parts of the Alpine back country. The race starts and finishes in Queenstown, with a couple of nights each in Alexandra and Bannockburn. The singletrack quota has been upped, with both Queenstown and Alexandra stages promising to test riders’ technical skills as well as their hill-conquering prowess.
Kath is Central Otago born and bred, and much of the course takes place on her stomping grounds. Her local knowledge will be invaluable to let Peg know when they are nearly at the top.
Peg is a UK export, having lived in NZ since 2006. She took up mountain biking in 2011 and found it was the perfect way to explore the amazing kiwi back country.
Watch this space for updates as the race unfolds.
You can follow Team Kath & Peg on Facebook @kathnpeg
Check out The Pioneer on Facebook @ThePioneerNZ or http://www.thepioneer.co.nz
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By Kath Kelly and Peg LeylandKath Kelly and Peg Leyland met on the start line of a mountain bike race in 2014 and got together a few months later. They have since shared numerous adventures, including bikepacking the length of New Zealand. They are racing The Pioneer 2018 as Team IMB.