The Event

What does the entry fee include? 

Click here to see the full list of entry inclusions.

Can you tell me what is involved with the Teams Event - do I need to ride the whole event with my partner?

Yes, one of the rules of the Pioneer is that teams needs to be within 2 minutes of each other at all times. There are two main reasons for this, the event is team based, and you need to be with your partner for safety reasons. There will be check-points on the course to enforce this rule. Penalties and disqualification may apply if this rule isn’t adhered to.  Should your partner for any reason not finish a stage or not be able to continue in the event, you are able to continue riding but will be removed from the General Classification and prizes at the end of The Pioneer.

Can you let me know the policy if you cancel the event (eg: for bad weather). I understand what happens if I pull out, but wanted to know if you will be providing full or partial refunds if you have to cancel?

As outlined in our terms and conditions “If the event, or any part thereof, is cancelled, postponed, shortened, or modified in any way, or if any of the amenities, goods, or services in relation to the event are no longer provided, whether due to force majeure, legal restrictions, disputes, safety reasons, failure by service providers to perform, or any other reason or cause, the entry fees and all other fees paid will not be refundable.

Is it possible to change the team name after entering (while keeping the same riders)?

Yes absolutely! Just jump into your teams Active profile and make that change. It will need to be finalised by 13 November 2019 when entries close however we’ll be getting all sorts of team related things printed and ordered prior to this. 

I am keen to race your race, but am really wanting to enter as a solo competitor. What do you think? Are there any other options? 

We don’t have a solo category in 2019. If you are struggling to find a team mate we have a ‘Find a Team Mate’ section on the website so get your info up there, and find a new mate to ride with you.

Do competitors need a support team?

You don’t ‘need’ a support team…but you may enjoy some support along the way! We have lots of options for Supporters. We also have lots of on course and Race Village support for you – check out Rider Support for the info.

Do I need to stay in the Village the entire ride?

The 2019 format allows for riders to stay outside the village in their own accommodation, provided they attend all race briefings and are on time to all race starts. However, it is highly recommended by organisers and previous riders to experience the full Pioneer and stay in the village, either in tents or in a motorhome (all motorhomes must be registered with the event). A huge part of The Pioneer is the camaraderie and the atmosphere generated around the event village, with the chance to rub shoulders with other riders, share a meal with fellow riders or race leaders, enjoy the daily prize giving and presentations and to soak up the full Pioneer race experience.  We recommend you ask former riders via social media for independent advice on this one!!

Will you be catering for different dietary requirements?

Yes we have a catering company that is fully versed in all dietary needs and requirements. We ask you to give detail of your requirements when your enter which we will then communicate to the caterer. We do also suggest you have some of your own snacks on hand should you require more than what we can offer to suit your dietary restrictions.

Do I need to bring my own food for riding and lunches?

The aid stations have a plentiful supply of food, PURE Sports Nutrition electrolyte and gels, sufficient for you to refuel on each stage. However, if you have your own special dietary needs or prefer a specific product or type of food, you must bring this with you and carry it with you on the bike. Lunches are available for purchase from our many vendors at each village, there is a great variety and quality of food available to purchase once you cross the line each day.

Will the race villages be situated in the towns, so we can utilise Bed and Breakfast accommodation for some nights rather than camp?

In most instances yes the race villages will be near, or near enough, to the main towns. 

Will it be necessary to carry a camera on the ride, or will there be “professional" photographers out on the trail taking care of that side of things?

We will have an official photographer out on course and around the start and finish chutes. Plenty of opportunity for great shots of the action!
However, the scenery will be breathtaking, so you may want your own pics as well.


What size is the Gear Bag? Do I have to fit everything into it?

Yes, the bag is a 105ltr gear bag, it is large and needs to fit everything you want to take on the week, including your sleeping bag, mattress and pillow should you wish to take one. Any other gear, bags or equipment that cannot fit in this bag must be left in storage in Rotorua (The Pioneer offers a storage service).

How many sleep in each tent?

1 person per tent! Each rider is allocated their own two-person tent to allow room for your bedroll, bag and yourself to fit in comfort.

What kind of bike do you recommend? 

Advice from our course advisory team, who have been out there riding the course: “After riding the course I think the ideal bike for me would be a full suspension 100mm travel 29er as a first choice, then a 27.5 as a second choice. Both of these would be very similar but the 29er will be slightly more suited for the terrain. Ideally it would be carbon for weight saving and more forgiving on the body.

If you are considering a Titanium hard tail (or similar) remember you are out on course for multiple hours/days and that it is very taxing on the body. Although you may feel good for the first couple of days, fatigue will set in and the benefit of the weight saving and speed may no longer be apparent.

In terms of Gearing, if you are confident and relatively strong, then a 1 x 11 will be manageable (see below for ratio suggestions). Alternatively, if you are not so confident with the duration and climbing, then a 2 x 10 would be a optimal choice. And keep in mind that the days are long and there is plenty of ascent to deal with. It is important to remember that this is a multi-day event so be smart about what you can achieve over the duration”

Our course advisory team’s suggestions:
- 29er 1 x 11 - suggest a 30t and 32t front chain ring
- 27.5 1 x 11 - suggest a 32t and a 34t front chain ring

Will I need a lot of specialist gear and equipment?

The best investment you will make in any piece of equipment is the time you put into using it and we wholeheartedly recommend that you get outside and test all of your equipment well before race time!

If it’s not raining on the day or the weather is good, will we still need to carry additional waterproof jackets?

Daily stage briefings will provide information about which kit is required for that particular day and stage, and whether the emergency kit is required in addition to the standard kit, or not. All riders need to be prepared right up to the start of the race.

As for the base torso layer, I will start all days wearing one.  Am I required to carry a spare as well as a thermal one?

We will have updates every evening as to what to expect for the next day’s weather. It is not mandatory to take a spare with you, but we do encourage your consideration of the alpine region and the swift weather changes that can occur.

Can we change bikes during the race should the gearing on one bike not prove suitable for a particular stage? 

Yes as long as that bike is still within the race rules.

Is there access to mechanics if I don't purchase the mechanics package?

Yes, we have a team of mechanics (Bike Therapy, who are very experienced in stage-race wrenching) who travel with the event every year. If you choose not to purchase a package, repairs can be booked on a casual walk-up basis. The mechanics team encourage riders to bring spare parts with them, particularly if using any unusual set-up, however they will also bring to a large range of spare parts



Do you have any general training program advice for this event?

Yes, our training provider @TeamCP have created a beginner training plan that you can download here. Tailored 1:1 programmes can be tailored per person to accommodate work, family and commitments. The advice we have had from the training experts and former riders, is that the average rider can prepare for The Pioneer in 5 to 6 months, depending on your level of base fitness and experience. 

The Course

What is the course like? How technical is it?

Please see full course details here. The course includes more single track than in previous years, but is not a technical course. The event is largely a test of endurance. We are continuing to add single track and new trails to the course as final recce riding occurs, and to ensure we have the best possible riding experience for our athletes. Of course, riders will need a level of technical expertise and all riders will vary in that regard, but this is not an overly ‘technical’ event.

Is there a course cut off time? What is it?

Please see the course cut off times here.

If as a team we don’t make the course cut off time, can we still complete the race?

Yes you can complete the remaining stages. However you will not be eligible for prize money or prizes. For that particular stage you will receive a DNF, however you will still receive a cumulative time for the race. You will not be considered an official race finisher and results will be displayed separately.

If we don’t complete a stage, are we still considered a race finisher?

You will not be an official race finisher, and therefore will not receive the official race finisher t-shirt or finisher medal. 

If my team mate has to pull out for injury, can I continue to ride?

Yes you will be allowed to continue and complete the remaining stages. However you will not be eligible for prize money or prizes.

What device do you use to measure the elevation metres?

The statistics have been confirmed via a collection of data from a combination of GPS devices while riding the course, plus online software; GPS Visualizer and Geoncontext Profiler.

This looks awesome but wondering how "doable" it is for the weekend warrior, full time job, kids etc. Is it aimed at people like me or is it more for the elite. I'm a capable mountain biker, not fast but not afraid of a few hours in the saddle. 

The event is not aimed solely at elite riders. Anyone with a good base level of fitness can build up to this event. If you can dedicate between 8-15 hours a week you can do this. It’s all about belief in yourself.