Cross-Country Mountain Biker Catharine Pendrel Returns for Her Third Olympic Games

Stronger than ever, this could be the year cross-country mountain biker Catharine Pendrel reaches the podium.


The Rio Games will be 35-year-old Catharine Pendrel’s third Olympic Games. Last year, at the Toronto Pan Am Games, she placed second, behind teammate Emily Batty.

Biking since the age of 16, Pendrel is inspired by multi-sport Olympian Clara Hughes and says she likes to wear vibrant colours on race day as a way to bring energy to the trail. Read on for more of her fitness tips and training secrets.

What foods do you eat before and after a workout for fuel?

I like oats for breakfast. I am pretty much guaranteed to find them in any country I am racing in and I like to train with what I would race on. Plus, you can make them as simple or fun as you want with berries, nuts and yogurt.

On the bike, Kit’s Organic bars from Clifbar are my favourite and Clif Shot Energy Gels for racing. After, I love a poached egg on salad with good bread.

What do you do or think about to push through fatigue or mental blocks?

You can always find more, if you just keep your legs pushing smooth circles and your eyes up. I know if I give up I will be disappointed. I’d rather be tired!

Other than your bike and helmet, what gear do you need for your workout?

My Oakley’s. (Oakley is the official eyewear sponsor of Team Canada.) Before I tried Oakley’s, I never used to ride with eyewear as I felt glasses distorted my vision [and] I couldn’t see the trail as well. After riding with Oakley’s, especially the Prizm lens, it’s like the trail pops out at you.

Oakley Radar EV Path Prizm Road Green Fade Edition
Oakley Radar EV Path Prizm Road Green Fade Edition, $260

What are your training secrets?

I love hill repeats; being able to settle into a hard rhythm.

My not-so-secret secret tip would be that consistency in training is more important than doing something crazy hard or epic. If you want to improve at something, you have to do it a couple times a week. The more time strapped you are the more short, quality sessions will help. When you feel super tired and would much rather just sit on the couch, get your body [moving] and 6-10 minutes into the workout you will have more energy than when you started.

Watch Pendrel compete in the Cycling Mountain Bike – Women’s Cross-Country event in Rio on Sat. Aug. 20.