A look back at Catharine Pendrel’s illustrious mountain biking career – Sun Peaks Independent News

Catharine Pendrel’s fist crosses the finish line at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics. Photo by Getty Images.

It’s a hard thing for the Kamloops Olympian to admit, but Catharine Pendrel is quitting mountain biking full-time.

A career that started on his big brother’s pocket bike, riding home-made trails in rural New Brunswick, has grown into one of Canada’s most successful mountain biking careers.

The four-time Olympian’s long and impressive career is nothing short of incredible. With eight national championship titles, a bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, three-time world champion of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), two-time UCI world champion (the list is long and can be found here) , Pendrel is looking forward to the next chapter of his career.

Her decision, she said, was something she had been pondering for some time, but it felt right to retire after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Part of the decision was that she was 40, and she and her husband Keith Wilson wanted to try and start a family.

“Then the pandemic happened, and it turned things upside down because I was soon going to be 40 and wanted to have a baby, but I wasn’t going to have my last year of racing, so I decided to try both, ”Pendrel said. .

The pandemic and pregnancy provided a glimpse of what it would be like not to travel all the time, as it allowed you to step back from the competition.

However, Pendrel doesn’t plan to quit mountain biking anytime soon.

Pendrel on the podium in Rio at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Photo provided.

“I really don’t see my life in the cycling world coming to an end,” said Pendrel. “I am convinced that, to some extent, I will see the same friends, as a result of the [World Cup] circuit and able to keep some elements of it in my life for years to come.

With her new perspective, Pendrel said she doesn’t see her transition as a sad thing, but will be missed by the Clif Pro team she has been a part of for 14 years.

“You will never spend as much time with this family, your road family, as before. It’s going to change and people move on to new things so there’s that nostalgia. But I’m looking forward to another fun weekend with them, ”Pendrel explained.

Pendrel will be competing in one final race this season, the OZ Trails Off-Road Epic Ride where she will take part in a Fat Tire circuit as well as a 50-mile Backcountry Pro Women race the next day in Bentonville, Arizona.

Thereafter, Pendrel predicts that her career will evolve in two ways, either as a mountain bike coach or as an ambassador of the sport.

“A stream would be more like an ambassador within the industry and maybe racing, like the Epic Rides, or more adventure racing, but from a more mentally perspective, supporting the racing industry. cycling and working with different companies, ”she said. noted.

The other path Pendrel is considering is as a mountain bike trainer with her husband Wilson. He is a top-notch coach who helped her on her way to three of her Olympic places, her UCI world championship titles and her World Cup podiums and overall titles.

Wilson also coached Jenn Jackson, another elite Kamloops-based mountain biker, to victory at the 2021 Canadian National Championships in September. Pendrel finished fourth at the event.

Pendrel shows Canadian pride as she crosses the finish line. Photo of the Canadian cyclist.

Pendrel added that if she decides to go the coaching route, they hope to retain the national title in Kamloops, with the help of Jackson and other national team riders.

“We are both integrated into the cycling community. Coaching and mentoring go hand in hand. [I] I want to help the next Habs team reach a point in their career that I have had experience with, ”said Pendrel.

Of course, Pendrel is also excited to spend more time with her daughter Dara, who arrived just six months before Pendrel competed in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Pendrel said that having Dara was one of the biggest challenges she has had to overcome in her career, with her streak at the London Olympics in 2012, when she was favorite to win after winning her first world champion title in 2011 and his UCI global series title in 2010. Pendrel finished ninth in the games.

“It was the most emotionally and mentally difficult thing. I think emotional things are a lot harder to overcome than physical injuries, ”Pendrel said.

“I really underperformed in those games. In retrospect, the ninth wasn’t that bad. But, at the time, it was devastating because I should have been able to win a medal. I lost a lot of self-confidence to be able to perform on the big day, that I was the same runner before these matches.

Pendrel marked her return with a second UCI World Champion title in 2014, where she had imposed herself to be cautious, allowing herself to be put in a situation where failure was once again possible.

“I totally threw any safety net out the window, and I was like ‘I’m gonna do it all and maybe I explode and I have a horrible result, or maybe I ‘m having a really good day, but I never go there to see if I can have a good day unless I get started.

The strategy paid off and paved the way for a Canadian national title in 2015, a silver medal at the 2015 Pan American Games and a bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Daughter Dara cheers on her mother during a muddy World Cup race in Europe. Photo of the Canadian cyclist.

When asked to try and identify a better moment in his career, Pendrel highlighted his two UCI world championship titles and his bronze medal at the Rio Olympics.

“In particular the first title was a big deal, to do it on a day when everyone is trying to be their best and then see how much that meant for the team, the manager and the coach.”

Pendrel also stressed how special it was to bond with other athletes throughout his career, and said that he will miss the constant travel, excitement and nerves of racing.

“I’m sure I’ll watch the races and think ‘Wow, what if I was in there and ran with them too!’ But, I’m delighted to get to a point where I can enjoy watching it.

Pendrel looks forward to spending family time with her husband and daughter, and is thrilled to have the option of going on family hikes rather than working out every weekend.

To learn more about Pendrel, visit its website at www.cpendrel.com.

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