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Catharine Pendrel’s return to World Cup racing takes the whole family

Mother, father and baby make speed

Catharine Pendrel Photo by: Sean Jenkins

Just months after giving birth to her first child, Olympic medallist and mulitple-time world champion Catharine Pendrel will line up for this weekend’s World Cup in Albstadt, Germany. Sunday’s XCO event will coincide with Pendrel’s first Mother’s Day as a parent, since Dara was born just three months ago.

Getting back to the races requires the whole family. Pendrel, Dara and Wilson landed in Germany this week for several months of racing.

Before heading to Europe, Pendrel shared insight with Molly Hurford on on The Consummate Athlete Podcast into how she’s been handling mixing training and motherhood, how she and husband Keith Wilson are planning their first World Cup season as a trio, and what she’s feeling going into what will be her first international race since 2019.

Catharine Pendrel – Consummate Athlete Podcast: Mother’s Day Special

Becoming a parent can be a big change for anyone, but Pendrel says she and Wilson are adapting to the change well together.

“It’s definitely a huge learning curve for us. But because [her husband] Keith been able to be at home, we’ve felt like we actually have a really good life balance, as crazy as it sounds that you could have that with a newborn,” says Pendrel. “It’s been really good, and she’s just has grown and changed so much in three months. She’s super smiley, and so interactive now.”

That balance has extended to the Canadian’s return to pre-Oylmpic training and preparations for this XCO season.

Catharine Pendrel
Catharine Pendrel racing 2019 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships at Mont-Sainte-Anne. Photograph by Nick Iwanyshyn

“I’ve been lucky that everything has gone my way so far. I don’t think that’s really the normal experience. But our approach to the whole pregnancy was that I just have to do the best that I can and, and roll with it,” Pendrel shared. “We had some performance goals, so we knew where I needed to be to make the trip [to Europe for the World Cups] worth it. And I just kept improving, so we’re like, ‘Okay, let’s go.’ The watts are actually very comparable to not not necessarily my best years, but to an average me.”

Right back to Business

The first chance to test that fitness comes this weekend, at the Albstadt, Germany World Cup round. With Olympic qualifying spots on the line for most countries, there will be no easing into the season. Pendrel, who sat out 2020’s shortened season, is looking forward to the challenge.

“I’m excited and nervous. I’m excited, because I’ve had a lot of progress. I’m also nervous because I’ve had a lot of progress… But what that looks like when you go up against the best in the world might be not as exciting as you hoped.”

Pendrel won’t be alone when she takes on the elite women’s field. Husband and daughter, Kieth and Dara, together with her in Germany to help with the return to racing.

“I’m excited to see how things progress over the next month. We’re going to be in Europe until July so we’ll do the first four World Cups on one trip  to minimize travel and, and give myself the biggest opportunity to have a good season. It would be super hard if if we weren’t able to travel together as a family. But we’re just making it all work.”

To listen to the entire interview, check out the Consummate Athlete Podcast here.