Pendrel pursues B.C. Cup at Sovereign Lake

Head coach Darren Derochie (right) works with Catharine Pendrel of Kamloops on her skate technique during Supercamp at Sovereign Lake. - Julie Melanson Photo
Head coach Darren Derochie (right) works with Catharine Pendrel of Kamloops on her skate technique during Supercamp at Sovereign Lake.
— image credit: Julie Melanson Photo

Two-time Olympian Catharine Pendrel got into mountain biking in Grade 12 because, as she once put it, she “sucked at all the school sports.”

Pendrel grew up on a New Brunswick horse farm and dreamed of competing at the Olympics in one of the equestrian events. Instead, she began riding a bike and finished fourth in the cross-country event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and ninth last summer in London. She was the 2011 world champion with three World Cup gold medals.

Pendrel, who turned 31 in September, has got wheels on snow, too. She entered the masters world nordic championships in Vernon last year, winning the 15- and 30-kilometre events in skate skiing in the 30-35 age category. She said the big competition was in the 40-plus event, where some former Olympians were entered.

This weekend, the Kamloops-based athlete will take on skiers from Sweden, Brazil, Peru, Switzerland and Australia for the Teck B.C. Cup and Haywood NorAm races at Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre.

Pendrel, a guest and keynote speaker to Supercamp, was brushing up on her technique over the past two weeks with the Supercamp coaches. The early-season ski camps were hosted by Sovereign Lake and Silver Star.

As a keynote speaker, Pendrel, a national team mountain biker since 2003, spoke about her love of skiing and her intent to race this weekend. She spoke about her experience racing at the Sparkling Hill Masters World Cup and her aim to improve her skiing, as she asked the audience sarcastically, “The more inefficient you are, the better workout you are getting, right?”

She added: “For years, I was content to go with this, ‘I was getting a great workout.’ Then I did the Masters World, and I felt really bad, because I was all energy and brute force and a little scary to look at. I was able to pass women, and these women saw a monster on skis and they didn’t know all the hours I put into having that engine. After that, knowing that quality was better than quantity, I started doing these camps. I came last year, and again last week.

“Definitely my love of winter increased dramatically when I started to ski. Honestly, I think that cross-country skiing has given me my competitive edge on mountain biking; rather than pushing through slush all winter, I’m out skiing.”

Saturday’s classic technique races start with the Teck B.C. Cup at 9 a.m. and the Haywood NorAm and Teck B.C. Cup mass start at 1 p.m. Viewers will be able to watch the races in the stadium and from the lodge at Sovereign Lake.

Sunday’s free technique races will include similar scheduling, with interval starts for the athletes.

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