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Nina McVicar-10 Things to know about The Pioneer

With it drawing closer, I thought I would pen some thoughts about The Pioneer which some people new to the event may find interesting, and what other people can add to.

1. Lip Balm! Whoah jeez, I’ve never had such sore lips in my life! An emergency supply of lip balm made it to me after 5 days baking in the sun and my lips were raw. I believe there was an instance of a fellow competitor reaching for the chamois cream to put on his lips at one of the aid stations as he was in such pain- I also think he was mistaken as to what the cream was for haha

2. Comfort. Weigh up the space you have in your bag with those items necessary to comfort. There were people sleeping on the thinnest mat, to those on full airbeds. No pillow versus your favourite home pillow etc

3. Hand sanitiser. Don’t be caught out here- from the moment you start on the Pioneer journey sanitise those badboys after the loo and before every meal. It’s a lot easier to finish if you can stay healthy

4. Money! I was a little caught out with this, thinking the big expense was entering the event itself. Factor in that vital bike shop visit pre-event, mechanicals that may require work during the event, race food (you will consume a lot!), race village food, daily beer, post event bike shop visit, and Queenstown spending money.

5. Friends and family support. My team mate and I were lucky enough to have his family stay near the village for the first few nights. This was a great comfort to him, and really good for my belly with all the food. My boyfriend then joined us in Hawea with more food and beer, and all of them were at the finish. If you do have the opportunity to have family visit, and cheer you on at aid stations it is such an awesome feeling. Although it is you and your team mate battling it out every day, sharing it with those who care most about you is something special.

6. These shoes were made for walking… Make sure you can do some walking in your shoes. Although I think some routes have been changed for this coming Pioneer, chances are unless you are a machine you could end up doing a little bit of walking. My thoughts are that your shoes need to be good for adventure cycling.

7. Butt cream! Story has it a neighbouring mixed team went through two whole tubes of bepanthem (nappy rash cream)! Best to be prepared with chamois cream, nappy rash cream, voltaren etc

8. Food access. Think about how you are going to access food while biking. Some teams managed to ride without backpacks/bladders- but we didn’t. Does your bag have handy pockets to get food out/can you reach the pockets on your top? 6+ hours is a lot of food to carry.

9. Bike cleaning equipment. Although the team supplies some brushes etc, there is nothing quite like your own dependable things. There were some jealous eyes checking out our chain cleaner most nights!

10. Love your teammate <3 Come good times, and bad times, be there for your teammie. Know when to joke, and know when to back off (hahaha I never do that! 😛 ). There are times when you will be feeling better than each other, and it is a case of riding to the suffering persons pace- your time will come. It is such a bloody awesome time, and it is great getting to share all the experiences with someone.

I’m sure there is more, but I have tried to keep this to the first 10 things to pop into my head. Ahh such fun we will have! plus a little pain, but the fun>>>pain!