While most of Canada’s national mountain bike program was enjoying warm Catalan weather ahead of a tune-up race in Banyoles, Spain, Canadian Olympian Léandre Bouchard was racing across a frozen lake in northern Quebec on his way to winning the grueling Traversée du Lac Saint-Jean à Vélo. The winter fat bike event is a pre-season race that is unlike any other contested by international cross-country racers, who are generally sticking to warmer weather events and training camps. In fact, the remote race that takes place entirely on a frozen lake is rather unique even in the winter fat bike scene, not just as a pre-World Cup event. Temperatures during Saturday’s event hovered around -20 C as racers crossed a 32 km expanse of windswept landscape on the frozen Lac Saint-Jean.

RELATED: Traversée du Lac-Saint-Jean is the ultimate Canadian winter cycling adventure

Showing that his fitness is in fine form ahead of an early start to the World Cup season in South Africa, Bouchard set a new course record, crossing the frozen expanse of Lac Saint-Jean 1 hour 25 minutes. Bouchard narrowly beat out Geoffroy Dussault in a fat bike sprint, finishing just two seconds in front. Laurence Levesque was the fastest woman on the day, beating Catherine Fleury by just over two minutes to finish in 1:32:54.

What does it look like to race across a frozen northern lake in February? Something like this:

La traversée un défi givré 😛❄️🌬

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