Wow! Quelle expérience que la Traversée du lac Saint-Jean a vélo! En bonus, une victoire décidé au sprint avec Geoffroy Dussault et un nouveau record de parcours! La vue au centre de ce désert arctique est a coupé le souffle! Nous sommes chanceux d'avoir ce défi extrême en région : je comprends les européens de venir vivre notre hiver canadien! 32 km de plaisir hivernal. Merci particulier aux bénévoles et à l'organisation excellente! @teamkmcekoisrsuntour #VilledAlma #truenorthstrong #saglac Photo : Martin Gaudreault et Johanne Bouchard
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.
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: