Fat Bike in Switzerland

Matt Lapointe from Thunder Bay, Ont., competed in this year’s inaugural Snow Epic, a fat-bike festival based in Engelberg, Switzerland. For three days, from Jan. 15 to 17, he took to the snow on a fat bike with more than 100 participants. There were five events that included a 26-km ride with 1,000 m of climbing and a slalom down a ski hill at night. Lapointe finished 30th overall.

Lapointe and his partner Chelsea Lynn got in touch with Canadian Cycling Magazine during their trip back home from the winter cycling event.

CCM: How did you hear about the Snow Epic?

Matt Lapointe: I saw the race mentioned on a fat-bike page on Facebook. I immediately knew it was something I wanted to do so I signed up for their newsletter. A few days later, they sent me an email inviting me to participate. After a very short discussion with my girlfriend, we decided we couldn’t let this opportunity pass and we were off to Switzerland.

CCM: Why did you enter the event?

ML: I was inspired by the short film 35, which I saw at the Banff Film Festival World Tour. I wanted to do something big for my 35th birthday and when this came up I knew it was meant to be.

CCM: What was the atmosphere like?

ML: It was extremely relaxed. Most of the participants had never been on a fat bike and a few had never even seen snow! Everyone was very friendly. I shared a lot of tips about tire pressure and technique to ride in the snow and ice. There was quite a few of us in the hotel bar after the racing was done for the day just chatting and telling stories. I made many new friends and have been offered places to stay all over the world.

The race organizers did a great job of dealing with some very difficult conditions. They were able to roll with the punches to keep everyone happy and safe. Overall, it was much more like a festival atmosphere rather than a race.

CCM: What’s next for you?

ML: I don’t really have any big plans…yet. I’d love to do the BC Bike Race in 2016. (This year is sold out.) I’ve had a dream to do the Leadville 100 and the Maah Daah Hey 100 has piqued my interest lately, so we’ll see what happens this summer. I plan to race my fat bike exclusively this season in everything but timed downhill events, although that would change if someone wants to loan me a full-suspension fat bike!

Most important, I just want to continue to have fun on my bike and lead a happy, healthy life with my girlfriend and step-daughter.

CCM: Chelsea, what was your role at the Snow Epic?

Chelsea Lynn: I was Matt’s supporter. I did not ride. Riding is his passion. I was there here to support his dreams just as he does mine and I am so very proud of him.

My experience with the race was incredible. From making my way up and down mountains to see the start, (middle at times) and end of races, to getting in the helicopter (the one that took video coverage of the race allowed the supporters to go for a ride after the races), to genuinely feeling as much a part of the experience as Matt was amazing.

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