One of the events to make a big splash o the marathon stage race calendar in the past two years is The Pioneer. After two gruelling editions in 2016 and 2017, the 2018 dates were delayed, to make sure The Pioneer had the right mix of route and timing.
And today, The Pioneer is back, now running with a 6-day plan from 25-30 November 2018, as announced by founder Dave Beeche.
The return of The Pioneer
“We are back! The Pioneer will be better than ever thanks to the time taken these past few months to review the format, location and course,” said a delighted Beeche.
Having raced in both 2016 and 2017, I can assure you the route was highly challenging. As it would be traversing from Christchurch to Queenstown over 7 days. The new route will start and finish in Queenstown, making logistics simpler for riders and crew alike.
“November 2018 will see a six-stage race, with riders starting in Queenstown and exploring the remote back country of the South Island, finishing back in Queenstown with six challenging days of riding.”
Beeche says the heart and soul of The Pioneer has been retained, with the two-person team format taking riders on an amazing week of riding through and over some of the most stunning landscapes in the world.
“The team has done an amazing job in creating a new course that will be as challenging as ever and with more single track to enjoy. There will be some incredible climbs that will see our riders finding character for sure, with stunning views to take in along the way.
“Spending six days with your mate riding in the back country is a huge part of the experience, so we have stayed true to that ethos of the event, this is something to be shared for sure.”
Start at The Pioneer – end up at The Cape Epic?
Riders will again have the chance to secure entry to the unofficial world championship of mountain bike stage racing in South Africa, with five age group winners (five), five age group runners up (five) and five lottery winners securing a place at the Absa Cape Epic for 2019.
“The team and I are really excited to bring the Pioneer back and can’t wait to reveal more information over the next few months and welcome everyone to the start line in November next year.”
Beeche says riders are in for another amazing week and will love the course, which will be revealed in early November. The course looks like it will tackle some of Queenstown’s great trails, and those of Central Otago.
“We appreciate the patience and understanding of our stakeholders and in particular the riders – those who have already taken part and want to return, and the many who have indicated their keenness to be a part of the next race.”
Entries go live on 24th November 2017, and Beeche recommends riders are ready with expected high demand. For some riders that will mean finding a team mate. The event website allows the uploading of profiles to find a Pioneer team mate, and organisers also host a ‘find a team mate’ Facebook group, details again can be found at www.thepioneer.co.nz
New this year is the option of an entry fee payment plan for athletes. This option will be available for a limited period, opening 24 November 2017 and closing 25 March 2018 and allows entry fees to be spread out across four payments.