Florian Reiterberger from Germany won both the MYAU 300 mile and the MLAU 500 km race on his bright green MAXX fatbike. Since 2009 he has done many long distance bike races – also the warmer kind. It seems, the harder it gets, the better Florian performs. He definitely likes to be challenged. His Bavarian humor and capability to go for days without stopping, are legendary. Florian also pushes his bike faster than some athletes can hike. Not sure how he does that.
In January this year he started his Radlgarage Eggstätt, which is a bike shop. Florian’s specialty is, helping his customers, with all his experience, to find the perfect bike and setup for their next challenge. He also happily helps anyone interested with advise on winter fatbiking. If you want to ask him any questions, please just email him at email@example.com.
In 2024 Florian will return to Swedish Lapland, doing the MLAU 500 km race for a second time. So, we thought, we should ask him some questions:
MLAU: You have already been in many races, also MTB and Bikepacking. What fascninates you about winter ultras with a fatbike?
Florian: Winter races are special. The cold, the isolation, the crunching noise of the tires in the snow and the wilderness. So, there are many reasons why I like these kinds of challenges. To understand it, you just have to do it, be it in the Yukon or Swedish Lapland. Afterwards, you will either like it or not. I really love the tranquility and loneliness of being out there in the cold.
MLAU: You already won the MYAU (300 miles) and also the MLAU (500 km). What would you say is the difference between the two?
Florian: The MYAU is very difficult. The temperatures and the remoteness are extreme. In the Yukon you often are far away from any signs of civilization. In Sweden you have more contact with the world you are used to. In other words, you see more houses or lights in the distance. But I loved both races. One thing I consider amazing about the MLAU, is the family like atmosphere that Robin and his parents have created for us at the headquarter in Jockfall.
MLAU: What are typical mistakes that athletes make when they start at a winter fatbike race for the first time?
Florian: Being too motivated or too fearful. In a race I did in Finland, I saw a lot of highly motivated fatbikers at the start, speeding of into the distance. But quickly they had to pay for the consequences. Wet clothes, lack of energy quickly took their toll. However, I have also seen insecure bikers who suffered from lack of confidence, continuously doubting if they were trained and prepared well enough.
MLAU: From your point of view, what makes up the perfect preparation?
Florian: That’s difficult to answer. I would say there is no such thing as THE perfect preparation. Every athlete is different – be it mentally or physically. Facing a challenge like this, everyone needs to carefully analyze themselves and decide what they need to work on. This should help finding the right focus areas and the best way forward. My personal motto since an expedition I did in India is “Looking forward to the great things and preparing for the worst …”
MLAU: What are you top #3 pieces of kit?
Florian: Neoprene overshoes, a thermometer that goes down to – 50 degrees Celsius and a hub dynamo with handlebar light and USB charger – for me as a biker the best source for light and energy.
MLAU: You will start at the Montane Lapland Arctic Ultra again this winter. Can you already say what bike you will use?
Florian: Very likely it will be my MAXX Jagamoasta Yukon Arctic Ultra edition again. However, MAXX are not making this type of bike anymore. So, I am contemplating if I should come up with something new. If I do, it my new bike may premiere in Sweden.
MLAU: What did you really enjoy in your first Montane Lapland Arctic Ultra and where do you think we have room for improvement?
Florian: After my great time in the Yukon, my expectations for Sweden were very high. Like the other Yukon veterans, I expected a perfect race. And I think it’s fair to say that even though in 2022 we were all still struggling with the effects of the Pandemic, it was really a superb experience. All was well organized and when there was a problem, it was solved immediately. The only thing that was a bit of a setback, the mild temperatures. It was too warm for my liking. But nobody can be blamed for the weather. I particularly enjoyed my time in Jockfall, with the relaxed atmosphere and beautiful surroundings. What can you still improve? I can’t think of anything major. Getting to Jockfall from Lulea airport requires some logistics but in the end it’s well worth it.
MLAU: Would you recommend the MLAU to rookies?
Florian: Most certainly. The entire crew is very experienced and safety standards are high. It’s a less extreme than the Yukon or Alaska but you still get the wilderness feeling with beautiful winter landscapes, northern lights and you can learn some important lessons before going more remote.