Cycling champion Catharine Pendrel takes national coaching role with Cycling Canada

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Catharine Pendrel, an Olympic medallist from Harvey, N.B., began easing into the coaching position in November after her retirement from competitive mountain biking. (Getty Images - image credit)
Catharine Pendrel, an Olympic medallist from Harvey, N.B., began easing into the coaching position in November after her retirement from competitive mountain biking. (Getty Images - image credit)

In the next chapter of her mountain-biking career, two-time world champion Catharine Pendrel has taken on a national coaching position with Cycling Canada.

The Olympic medallist who hails from Harvey started easing into the position in November following her retirement from competition.

In an interview with CBC News, Pendrel said discussions with Cycling Canada began after the 2021 UCI Mountain Bike world championships ended in September.

"I had been able to go to the Cycling Canada Congress in November and just really get a feel for the organization and where it was headed, and how I could be part of that," Pendrel said from her home in Kamloops, B.C. "And it was exciting to officially get the call that I would have a position with them going forward."

Pendrell was world champion in cross-country mountain biking in 2011 and 2014 and won a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2014 in Scotland.

This has also been a busy time for the athlete, who continued competing alongside becoming a mother before her retirement.

"For an athlete to retire and not have something that they're excited about to move into, I think that can be a really challenging situation," she said.

"Taking time away from racing … both the pandemic and then pregnancy, it allowed my mind time to transition into the idea of doing something else."

"Obviously, having a child in your life is a lot more busy, and there's a lot more adjustments that you make to your day. But it's also felt pretty natural, and the timing feels good for everything."

Pendrel, who has some experience coaching, said it will be exciting to fully commit to the new role.

"I do miss sometimes when all I had to worry about was just, like, taking care of my own fitness and following my plan, and now it's trying to maintain some level of fitness so that I can ride with my athletes."

In Harvey, parents Bruce Pendrel and Johanna Bertin expressed pride in their daughter.

"Catharine has always been very giving back to the communities when she was here," said Bertin, who cited Pendrel's willingness to mentor younger riders.

Pendrel will carry on this mentorship through the Commonwealth Women Coach Internship Program and will be at the Birmingham Games this summer alongside Team Canada athletes.

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