Insider: The Pioneer – Day 1 – Christchurch Adventure Park

Are you ready for an epic challenge that will push you to the edge? Do you want to have the rare chance to journey through a pristine and untouched part of the world?

‘The Pioneer’, a seven-day epic mountain bike stage race set in the heart of New Zealand’s stunning South Island, has attracted riders all over the globe for just those reasons. Here at Cyclist, we thought what better way to discover the true experience of this ‘epic’, than to create a team, pin on some numbers and tackle the Pioneer ourselves.


Photography: Tim Bardsley-Smith

The Race: Pioneer – 7 Day Epic

The Team: Alex Malone and Mike Cameron

The Details:

  • 7 days
  • 545km of racing
  • 15,508 meters of climbing

 Stage 1 – Prologue (Christchurch) 

The clear and crisp Christchurch sky greeted the riders for the first stage. To warm the riders up for the tough and unforgiving trails that lay ahead over the next week, the first stage was a shorter distance and timed event known as a Prologue.

The course was not a walk-in-the-park however, with 1260 meters of climbing over the 22km circuit. The Cyclist team started out with a solid showing, finishing 5th overall and 3rd in the Open Category.


Photography: Tim Bardsley-Smith

For Alex and Mike, today was all about staying safe and making sure they’re ready for hard stages that follow.

“Today was really about getting through unscathed. There’s such a massive week ahead that we really just focussed on being smooth through all the descents and then keeping it solid but not overdoing it on the climbs,” Malone said.

Quickest of the 7-Day-Epic teams was the Watson and Son Manuka Honey combination of James Williamson (Alexandra) and Scott Lyttle (Boulder USA), the former pro road cyclist clocking 1:16:02 to finish 53 seconds ahead of the next team, Tommi Misser and Ibon Zugasi (Imparables, Spain).

With the ‘real’ tough stages ahead, our Cyclist duo is happy with their position after Day 1.

“I didn’t want to go into the red today… and we managed to do that. We kept a good tempo and finished up with a reasonable time. Now, the real riding begins!” Mike Cameron said.

Tomorrow’s stage heads off from Geraldine covering 106km and 2480m of climbing.



Distance: 22.2km
Time: 1:25:07
Total elevation: 907m (corrected)

Results – Day 1:

Cyclist Australia/NZ