Fat-bike chariot race like an 'extreme sport' using brawn and brains

A new competition in Edmonton takes inspiration from the famed chariot races of ancient Rome, and makes the competition fit for an Alberta winter.

'Extreme sport' makes Edmonton debut with mix of chariot racing, chuckwagon rodeo and dog sledding sprint

The race, being held in partnership with the Flying Canoë Volant Festival, promises to be a test of of both strength and smarts. (Supplied )

A new competition about to ride into the city takes inspiration from the famed chariot races of ancient Rome, and makes the spectacle fit for an Edmonton winter.

The Winterus Maximus race is being touted as a blend of chariot racing, chuckwagon rodeo and dog sledding sprint.

As part of the Flying Canoë Volant Festival, MADE (Media Architecture Design Edmonton) is hosting a call for entries for custom-designed chariots to be built, assembled, harnessed and pulled along by a pair of winter-ready fat-bikes.

Event organizer Nadir Bellahmer came up with the idea on a whim, thinking it would be a novel way for people to ride out the winter. 

"I thought, wouldn't it be cool if there were some bikes pulling a sled or a chariot. It would be like a new extreme sport,"  said Bellahmer during a Wednesday morning interview with CBC's Edmonton AM guest host Lydia Neufield.

"It will be quite a sight, I think." 

The test of brawn and brains will be held on an outdoor course, in a school field just west of La Cité Francophone on Saturday, Feb. 6. 

Bellahmer says teams, comprised of one chariot rider and two fat bikes, will race against each other for glory and prizes. 

"We don't know how it's going to go because it's the first time, as far as we know, that something like this has been organized," said Bellahmer. "It will be a night race, so we're hoping everyone lights their bikes up, and we're looking forward to seeing what ensues."

Competitors will have a chance to test their designs before the big race. Organizers of the Deep Freeze Byzantine Winter Festival have set aside space for competitors near Alberta Avenue to test out their prototype on Jan. 10.

The call for entries opened on Dec. 17 and several teams have already signed on.

Those interested in taking part can email their submissions to winterus@joinmade.org.


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