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Interview with Catharine Pendrel

by pedalmag.com

May 25, 2010 (Offenburg, Germany) – Canada’s Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team) stormed to her third World Cup victory in Offenburg, Germany on Sunday and is now leading the series. Pendrel talks about the race, her fitness, her favourite courses and more…

Great day for you earning your third MTB WCup victory since MSA in 2009 that’s got to feel good.
Catharine Pendrel: Definitely. I was pretty hungry for a win and everything went so well. Georgia [Gould] finishing second and me taking over the overall was just icing on the cake

Tell us about the Offenburg course and how the race unfolded today.
CP: Skies were sunny and the course was in perfect condition. I almost got taken out at the start, but the start loop is a good one for regaining position so I wasn’t far off heading into the first woods and was able to get up to Georgia pretty quickly. Having Georgia at the front helped me set a fast pace and motivated me to stay on it all race. I got off the front at the beginning of 3rd lap, but on the 4th Georgia was reeling me back in. I dug deep and was able to open again and secure the lead.

Did you and Georgia have a strategy for today and did it go as planned?
CP: I think we both and individual strategies on how to have our best race and it worked out that we could help each other a bit. From there though, we both wanted the win and knew how strong the other was so it helped us dig hard and take it 1-2.

How’s your fitness – are you feeling stronger as the season progresses?
CP: Yes. I feel more race ready and confident than at the first two world cups. I think I had good legs at the first races, but not necessarily the confidence and knowledge I could win.

What’s next on your race schedule as the next WCup is in Champery, Switzerland at the end of July?
CP: I’m doing a bunch of fun BC events like the new Nimby Fifty in Pemberton and the Test of Metal in Squamish, BC. Then I’ll do the BC Bike Race rest up and race nationals. Should be a tough battle with Marie-Helene [Premont] coming onto her A game.

Do you have a favourite course on the WCup circuit and if so what’s special about it?
CP: I love a lot of them. Dalby was great – a great course. Offenburg has the best fan and course combination. There were so many spectators out there and Mont Sainte-Anne is also high up there on the list.

You lead the WCup standings – is winning the overall on your ‘to do’ list?
CP: I am definitely going for the top step of the podium every chance I get so hopefully that will help me keep the overall as well!

Thanks for taking some time out for fans and best of luck this season.
CP: Thanks.

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Interview With Catharine Pendrel

December 21, 2007 – Catharine Pendrel, one of Canada’s top female XC mountain bike racers, has some exciting news. She has signed a two-year deal with the world’s best women’s MTB Team – Luna. Pendrel raced for the Norco Factory Team in 2006 and 2007, but chose to race with Luna when the opportunity presented itself for 2008. In one year, she has become a hot commodity on the international scene, winning gold at the PanAm Games, placing second at the National Championships, sixth at the World Championships and top 10 at the World Cup Finals.

You must be pretty excited about 2008.
Catharine Pendrel: It is exciting. I’m excited to get my new bicycle. [Pendrel’s team issue Orbea should be arriving at her home in Kamloops, B.C. any day now.]

How do you feel about this latest development in your racing career?
CP: Ever since I started doing NORBA’s (a.k.a. NMSB series races), Luna stood out. I always dreamed of riding for them.

When did this opportunity come about?
CP: I got a call from the Luna team manager in October.

What will your season look like next year?
CP: Because there are three strong girls on the team who are going for Olympic qualification next year – Georgia Gould for the U.S., Katerina Nash for the Czech Republic and I – our focus will be on World Cups.

My personal goals are to race consistently in the top eight at World Cups and I want to get a podium, which means a top five. I’ll be racing some of the North American circuit as well, and I’m looking to be a podium rider there.

What swayed you towards Luna when you had to make the difficult decision not to continue your partnership with Norco for next season? CP: The biggest factor was the opportunity to race with a fully supported XC race team with really talented teammates, who I can learn a lot from. [The Luna Women’s MTB Team travels worldwide with a full support staff, including a massage therapist.]

How do you anticipate 2008 will be different from your past seasons?
CP: I think the heightened expectations people will put on me for being a Luna rider will be the biggest thing. I believe it will help me rise to the challenge and get my best results. I’m going into it with a positive mindset, believing that I will ride well. It’s intimidating, but I know it’s possible, so I just have to do it.

How do you expect riding for a fully supported team like Luna will be different from your past two seasons with Norco, when you were flying solo most of the time?
CP: I’m not sure yet. I think it will be basically like doing a National Team project all the time – always being fully supported, being able to completely focus on racing and not having to worry about anything else.

How do you feel about the team switch in general?
CP: It was a really hard decision for me to leave Norco. Norco has been an awesome sponsor for me these last two years. But when the Luna opportunity came along, I just couldn’t pass up this really exciting career move. I feel like moving to a fully supported team will help me reach my potential more quickly.

What will it be like having teammates when you’re so used to being independent?
CP: I think it will be good. Whenever I’ve talked to the Luna girls, everyone seems easygoing and I feel comfortable around them.

When you first started racing mountain bikes in 1998, did you ever think that you would be competing among the best women on the planet on the world’s top team?
CP: No, when I started, I thought: “I wonder if I could race nationally.” Every year that I raced, my perspective changed. I didn’t start out wanting to be national champion or world champion. I just wanted to have fun on my bike.

Congratulations on your exciting career moves and enjoy your Christmas holidays in Revelstoke. [Pendrel’s husband, Keith, is originally from Revelstoke, B.C., where his parents still live.]
CP: Thanks!

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