October 15, 2015 – We caught up with two-time Olympian Catharine Pendrel, a former MTB Worlds and the reigning Canadian MTB XCO champ, who filled us in on the recent Olympic MTB Test Event held on the course that will host the world’s best mountain bikers at the Rio 2016 Games next August. Pendrel was sixth, while teammate Emily Batty finished 21st. Fellow Canuck Leandre Bouchard placed 13th in the men’s race.
What are your impressions of the Rio mountain bike test event last weekend?
Catharine Pendrel: The event was extremely well organized and receptive to rider and staff feedback and will be a amazing event to watch next August.
Tell us a bit about the venue.
CP: Deodoro, which is just about 40min north of the city, is the site for the venue. The same area will host BMX and white water kayaking so if people are planning to go watch the MTB races pick up tickets for these as well!
What was your objective for the event?
CP: Team Canada’s goal with the trip was simply to become familiarized with the venue and course. Like many other athletes, our race performance was secondary to course learning. Between Emily [Batty], Léandre [Bouchard], Mike Garrigan (technical coach), Dan Proulx (Head Coach) and Kelly McKean from Own the Podium, we gathered a lot of information on the course. We learned about our strengths and weaknesses on that track, which will guide the training and preparation over the next 9 months. It was a really exciting and productive collaboration to be a part of.
How did your race go?
CP: After a poor start I ended up jumping outside the course tape on one of the features. A lead group had formed and quickly grew their lead. Due to the intense heat and humidity, I settled into consistent laps and focused on trying different line options riding my own race to finish 6th.
Photos and full results here.