The Nutri-Grain Pioneer packs a punch in 2019! They don't give away the finisher's medals but the course for this year means you'll enjoy earning it.
Prologue – 25km and 650m climbing | Moke Lake
65% singletrack, 1% sealed road, 19% gravel road, 11% 4wd/farm track, 4% cycle-trail
The new prologue course is a Queenstown local's favourite, using some of the best singletrack in the area. The anticlockwise loop starting and finishing in the stunning back country location of Moke Lake includes a fast start on some flowing trails along the shores of Moke Lake and Lake Dispute before dropping down a well bermed twisty descent on the Phoenix track and into the singletrack mecca of 7 Mile where some pinchy climbs and tight forested trails will test your bike handling at race pace. From there the drag back up to the race village begins with a long but not overly demanding single-track climb through rocky forest trails before popping out onto the access road for a full gas run into the finish.
Stage 1 – 76km and 2240m climbing | Moke Lake to Arrowtown
37% singletrack, 14% Sealed road, 8% gravel road, 16% 4wd/farm track, 25% cycle-trail
Another new stage for 2019, this point to point ride encompasses some of the Queenstown basin’s amazing cycle trail network, back country trails and the epic singletrack on Coronet Peak.
With a relatively easy start on the Moke Lake road you head towards the Moonlight Trail, with the course using this trail in the opposite direction from last year. The climbs up to the highpoint of the moonlight trail will well and truly stretch the field out!
Once you emerge out of the trail at Arthurs point, the course then hits the banks of the mighty Shotover river for some more singletrack before connecting up with the Queenstown cycle trail to cover some slightly easier terrain prior to the big challenge of the day, the climb to the Coronet Peak ski field. The climb to the top here is a mixture of farm road, singletrack and sealed road and will give you the chance to take in some stunning views of the Queenstown basin.
There is plenty of reward for the hard work on the way up with the last 25km of the stage nearly all singletrack including the famous Rude Rock downhill before rolling along the Coronet water race trail and then dropping down a newly improved Bush Creek Track and into Arrowtown where your well-earned recovery pack awaits! Then it's onto a bus to Alexandra.
Stage 2 – 112km with 2570m climbing | Alexandra
30% singletrack, 5% sealed road, 12% gravel road, 39% 4wd/farm track, 14% cycle-trail
The Queen stage of the race in 2018 will remain similar to last year - although some minor tweaks have been made to make it even better. This is a true mountain bikers’ day with some of the best rocky, dry, dusty singletrack in the country.
The start from race village uses the iconic Otago Central Rail Trail before heading for the thyme encrusted hills out behind the Alexandra clock. Here we hit some new trails newly available on this year’s course due to the lambing closure on the farm having passed. Known locally as MTB heaven, the extent of the singletrack network out in these hills will surprise you and leave you wanting to come back for more, however the course has other places to go and quickly you exit the hills back into the township before shooting along the Clutha River cycle trail down the picturesque Roxburgh Gorge.
This track soon turns into the longest climb of the day, the newly built Sphinx rock trail, a 6km pure singletrack ascent bringing you from the depths of the gorge up to the very top of the Flat Top hill range. The singletrack doesn’t relent here with a loop of the black & blue descent and purple haze climb on the hillside above Butchers Dam.
Finally, we take a break from rock ridden singletrack and cover a large amount of ground (& climbing) over the farm tracks of Earnscleugh Station heading towards the next major challenge of the day at Clyde. The Fraser weir road climb takes you into a remote high-country river gorge before you have to grunt out of it up the steepest climb of the day to get to the top of the Clyde enduro trail. This 3km flowing downhill trail certainly brings your grin back quickly and will make you forget all the hard work in getting there. The final part of the stage brings you back from Clyde to Alexandra along another short section of the Rail trail and through the airport and boot hill trail network.