10 February 2017


It was already the longest stage, some would say the toughest stage, but stage five of The Pioneer Mountain Bike Stage Race got a whole lot tougher than Iain Guest had ever bargained for when his rear hub essentially collapsed with almost 40km of the 112km distance to ride.

Things were going smoothly for the Coastal Crew team of Guest and fellow Kapiti Coast rider Todd Foster. Guest has been riding the event this week for his own personal gain, but also to help promote a cause close to his heart, that of diabetes.

Guest himself has type 1 diabetes so is constantly monitoring his blood sugars, something that wasn’t helped by having to nurse a bike with a combination of pushing, pulling, freewheeling and at times carrying it along and over the Lindis Pass into Hawea on the Queen Stage of The Pioneer.

“It was on a steep pinch incline and it went, so we came down there and nursed it along to aid station two, we thought it was a broken axle. I could still pedal forward carefully but couldn’t freewheel. We nursed along carefully and got to within about a kilometre from aid station three and then the freewheel - which had been broken it turns out, bound up, the chain got caught up and the whole thing turned to shit.

“So we walked the rest of the way to aid station three, the mechanic there was fantastic, he ripped it apart and said what had happened and said we could go on but had to be real careful so we pushed it up the hills and then rode gingerly down, the rear wheel was fishtailing all over the show and I didn’t want to pancake it. We got down the bottom real careful and we just milked it along to the finish.”

Guest is riding to raise awareness of diabetes but more specially to highlight the fact that those with the disease can get off the couch, get active and take part in sport or recreation. He sure was a perfect advocate for that today.

“It has been an interesting day with blood sugars, when you are thinking about milking a bike through a stage like that, it doesn’t help for sure, but we are here now and that is the main thing. It has added on a fair amount of time, we have been crawling, we have seen some great sights and taken a few photos.”

It is not the only piece of bad luck for the Coastal Crew team, with mechanical issues hitting Guest earlier in the week.

“I busted a derailleur two days ago and we single speeded it for 20 odd kilometres before another competitor randomly pulled out a spare derailleur and said ‘will this one fit’ – and that sorted me out for stage three.

“I have the bike with the mechanics now, I think the back wheel will need a rebuild, so we will see what happens.”

Guest is one of 338 riders who this week have been taking part in The Pioneer Mountain Bike Stage Race, from Christchurch to Queenstown. The 4-Day-Traverse riders ended their event yesterday at Ohau. Tomorrow sees 7-Day-Epic riders head from Ohau to Snow Farm, before the final run into Queenstown on Saturday.