July 18, 2014 (Barrie, ON) – Geoff Kabush (Courtenay, BC/3 Rox Racing), Canada’s most prolific men mountain biker, is on the brink of history on Saturday as he competes in the men elite race at the 2014 Canadian Mountain Bike Cross-Country Championships at Hardwood Ski and Bike in Oro-Medonte, near Barrie, ON.
At 37 years of age, Kabush is undoubtedly a Canadian legend in cycling, having won seven Canadian Championships title in cross-country alone, as well as four Canadian titles in cyclo-cross. Impressively, he has been racing elite for more than 20 seasons.
“I feel pretty lucky to have a lot of success, but coming to the start line here, those numbers don’t mean much. It’s a brand new day, and I am looking forward to a good race. The last couple of years has been great, to see the level of my teammates rise. It was rewarded to see Derek [Zandstra] take the title last year. Cameron [Jette] has been strong, currently leading the Canada Cup,” said the Kabush.
A title this weekend would set Kabush apart as the Canadian mountain biker with the most titles. Currently, with seven Canadian cross-country titles, he shares the top spot with Olympic silver medallist and World Champion Alyson Sydor, who set the mark in the elite women’s category.
Kabush will be attempting to reach this milestone on Saturday as he takes on Canada’s best elite men mountain bikers, including his teammate and defending champion Derek Zandstra, two-time Canadian champion Max Plaxton (Cannondale), Raphael Gagnée (Rocky Mountain Factory) and Cameron Jette (Scott-3Rox Racing) just to name a few.
“It’s great heading into the weekend with three strong guys racing for Scott-3Rox Racing. It will definitely be a battle with Max [Plaxton] showing he’s on the top riders in the World, and Raphael [Gagné] having his strongest season ever. The course has a lot of new features and it will certainly be a difficult race,” added Kabush
This season, Kabush has enjoyed a successful season. He won the overall title of the US Cup series. In doing so he became the winningest mountain biker of the American-based series with a total of five overall titles.
“It’s been great to see a lot more excitement back into the US Cup Series. They have put a lot of energy in it. The series was certainly a big target for Team Scott-3Rox Racing this year. I’ve had some up and downs, but I posted some great rides there, and it was gratifying to wrap the series up for the team last month. It’s been a big boost for the team, and hopefully we’ll continue to have this success this weekend.
Throughout his career, Kabush has consistently been among world’s best mountain biker at major international events, such as Olympic Games or World Championships. At the last Olympic Games in London, Kabush posted Canada’s best-ever results in men’s mountain biking, finishing in eighth place. He boasts two top 10 performances at Olympic Games (9th at Sydney 2000; 8th at London 2012).
His best World Championships results came in 2009 when he placed fifth in Canberra, Australia. Racing in Canada at the 2010 World Championships in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Kabush also cracked the top 10, finishing eighth. He has nine World Cup podiums to his credit.
Along with his individual performances, Kabush was a member of the Canadian Team Relay that won the gold medal at the 2004 World Championships in Les Gets, France, and the silver medal at the 2005 World Championships in Canberrra, Australia.
Batty vs Pendrel – Epic Battle to Unfold
When the elite women take to the start on Saturday at the 2014 Canadian Mountain Bike Cross-Country Championships at Hardwood Ski and Bike in Oro-Medonte, near Barrie, ON, expect a fierce and intense battle.
Emily Batty (Brooklin, ON/Trek Factory Racing), the defending Canadian Champion, will be firing up all her cylinders with the hopes to preserve the title, but many strong women will be vying to dislodge her from the red and white maple leaf jersey.
Atop that list, we find none other than former World Champion, World Cup Champion and four-time Canadian Champion Catharine Pendrel (Kamloops, BC/Team Luna Pro), who relinquished the jersey in 2013 as she didn’t participate in the race due to an injury.
“I’m really looking forward to the race. The course is a lot of fun and has definitely changed since the last time I rode here in 2006. I think it will be a very tough race. There is no recovery out there, and it’s all full gas. It certainly will be a lot of fun and some good challenges,” said Pendrel.
“The Canadian Championships is something that every Canadian holds pretty near to their hearts. It was tough for me to miss the event last year, but I think Emily has done an amazing job of representing the maple leaf. I know she is on great form and that she grew up on these trails. I think she will give me a super tough battle for the title, for that jersey. Whoever gets it will wear it very well. I’ll certainly do my best to get the maple leaf back,” continued Pendrel, who stood on the World Cup podium this year at her first start of the season.
Batty, who has been wearing the maple leaf for the last year, is excited to defend the title, especially with Catharine Pendrel on the start line: “I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I feel as my fitness and my form are spot on. The last fews days on the track went well. Being so close to home, I was able to do quite a few laps, a few more than what we would normally get at a World Cup race. I’ve done all my studying and work, and now it’s about getting to the line and have all the stars align.”
Speaking of the battle with Pendrel for tomorrow duel, Batty was very humble, and anticipates a tough fight to the finish line: “I am a very patriotic person. I am very proud to be Canadian, and to have won the jersey last year, I was very proud. However, Catharine wasn’t here. I respect her more than any other competitor. She is a wonderful person, and an amazing athlete. She’s back, and we’ll get to battle it out for a true race tomorrow. She’ll never make it easy, she’ll always be nipping at the bit. We’ve raced together for years, and I think it will be a very good spectator race. Hopefully, we’ll be able to put on a good show.”
Along Pendrel and Batty, there is a long list of contenders for the title, such as three-time Canada Cup champion Sandra Walter (Coquitlam, BC/Liv Giant), Jean-Ann Berkenpas (Maple Ridge, BC/ Xprezo-Borsao), Mikaela Kofman (Toronto, ON/Scott-3ROx Racing), Amanda Sin (Collingwood, ON/Scott-3Rox Racing), Andreanne Pichette (Quebec, QC/Opus-OGC), Hayley Smith (Uxbridge, ON/Norco Factory Team), Andreane Lanthier-Nadeau (Quebec, QC/Rocky Mountain Bicycles Factory Team), Cindy Montambault (Val David, QC/Equipe du Québec) and Catherine Fleury (Cyclone d’Alma) just to name a few.
The cross-country races for all categories will be presented on Saturday, staring at 9:00 am Eastern Time.