ISN – (Oro-Medonte, ON – July 20, 2014) Catharine Pendrel of Kamloops BC (Team Luna Pro) has retaken possession of the Red and White jersey, winning the highly anticipated women’s elite race at the 2014 Canadian Mountain Bike Championships at Hardwood Ski and Bike in Oro-Medonte, near Barrie, ON.
Racing on the challenging trails of Hardwood Ski and Bike centre, revamped this year as it prepares to welcome the 2015 Pan-American Games, Pendrel raced to the top of the podium, edging arch rival Emily Batty of Brooklin, ON (Trek Factory Racing), who rode away with the jersey in 2013 taking advantage of the absence of Pendrel, who was out with an injury.
“I felt good to be out there. I had a lot of respect for Emily entering the race, and I knew she would give a tough battle. This race was a good confirmation of where I am at,” said Pendrel after the race. “I wanted the jersey. I certainly missed it around the world this year, and it’s something I hold dear to my heart, to be the number one Canadian. It’s special.”
Pendrel startedhe race strongly, and controlled the race within the first few kilometres. She managed to maintain and increase her lead, all the way to the finish line. The defending Canadian Champion Emily Batty of Brooklyn, ON (Trek Factory), finished in second place while three-time Canada Cup Champion Sandra Walter of Coquitlam, BC (liv-Giant) took third place.
Pendrel pulled away with the victory on a course she had not raced since 2006 while her main rival had ridden the course many times in the past months preparing for the event. “Emily and I are competing at the World Cup level. To race at that level, you have to be good on any course, anywhere. So for the elite, it’s never a real advantage to race on its own course.”
TRUDEL COMES BACK IN LAST LAP TO TAKE THE TITLE
In the U23 women’s race, Frederique Trudel of Breakyville, QC managed to squeak on the top of the podium, after coming back from a 40-second deficit on Hayley Smith of Uxbridge, ON (Norco Factory Team), who led for the majority of the race. Smith finished in second place after crashing in the last lap while Catherine Fleury of Alma, QC (Equipe du Québec-Cyclones d’Alma) was third.
“My approach for this race was very different. This year, my early season was a little more difficult. I was calm at the starting line. I knew what I had to do, and I was ready for the event. I gave everything I could give,” said Trudel. “I raced this race for myself. I needed a good race this year. I needed that feeling I felt at the finish line.”
With the victory, Trudel won her fourth consecutive Canadian championships title. When asked how it felt to join the Canadian mountain biking group who won at least four consecutive Canadian titles, such as Geoff Kabush, Alyson Sydor, Catharine Pendrel, Emily Batty, she was full of emotions. “I did not even know about it before I was informed of it this week. I do because I like racing mountain bike. It is a great honor to have accomplished what I have accomplished. This is a great pride for me to join those athletes. It is a little girl’s dream to try and follow in their footsteps.”
SOREN MEEUWISSE TAKES ADVANTAGE OF HOME TRAILS TO WIN JUNIOR TITLE
Soren Meeuwisse of Barrie, ON (Trek Canada Mountain Bike Team), was the fastest of the women’s junior group. She completed the 3-lap, 18-km race with a time of 1:02:15. Laurie Arseneault of Terrebonne, QC (Iris) took the second place, while Paige Foxcroft of Collingwood, ON (Team Ontario-Angry Johnny CC), finished third.
“Winning the jersey was a major goal for me this year. I wanted to live up to the expectations from last year, so I’m happy to come away with a win this year. Now, I’m hoping to travel to Norway for the World Championships and get a good placing there as a first-year junior as it will be a very tough field, said Meewisse, visibly very happy after the race.
“I am very comfortable on these trails. I’ve been practicing on this course for about a month now. Countless laps. I felt smooth on all those technical sections on which other people were having trouble with. The long climb right after boneshaker was particularly difficult for me today. I’m better at short, spunky climb.”
In the cadet women’s race, Erica Leonard of Barrie, ON (Team Ontario-Team Bikeland) won the title, overtaking Samantha Fuller (Angry Johny’s CC), in second place and Juliette Tétraullt of Val des Monts, QC (Skinouk-VDM) in third place.