Rider Perspective: Keeping it Fresh with Catharine Pendrel

May 13, 2015
by Catharine Pendrel  
Rider Perspective Header

Race season has just begun and already I have checked into my 9th bed in 35 days. I have been living out of a bulging suitcase, testing new tires, forks, bikes, drivetrains, and with that, more than a little coffee. It’s exciting, but it can also wear you down, so Pinkbike has asked me to share how I unwind in and out of season.

Spring being busy is an understatement. Sometimes I catch spring’s first blossoms in 3 countries in 3 weeks as I go from team Camp in California to World Cups in Europe and back home to Canada, when I’m lucky. In spring a racer is more go go than a 60’s dancer. Every chance to get home and shut off between events by settling into a training routine and just doing normal home stuff is key to unwinding.

Spring at home in Kamloops BC

Spring's Blossoms

So after 4 races, that’s where I’m headed, home, back to Kamloops, BC. For all of us, “home stuff” looks different, but what it gives us, is hopefully the same, a press of the recharge button. An awesome job like riding your bike, is still a job and like any job you need to be able to keep it fresh to not go stale. You need to have a time of day that you can shut off work and just go out and ride your bike...oh wait.

Shutting off the athlete can be a challenge, it’s your lifestyle, there are no clearly defined days or hours off, there’s always something you should or shouldn’t do and to your buddies what you do for work is what they want to spend their weekends doing. But shutting off the athlete is important and definitely not impossible.

In the “off-season” I don’t need to ride or workout every day, I don’t need to ride for a certain amount of time with a certain amount of efforts. I need soul candy, to have fun on and off the bike, ride and ski with my friends, camp, bake, dig, learn, get excited about life. I take a month purposely not prioritizing performance, spending my days indulging whatever interest or project intrigues me at that moment. This often ends up with my house or yard in a state of destruction for several weeks and lots of after-work runs and rides with friends. The “off season” is a balance of losing fitness...but not too much and gaining freshness, so I’ll be ready to train hard again. I need to take time away from structured training, airports, time-zone changes and caring intensely about high level performance, but if I want time off my mountain bike I feel like I didn’t do things right. Biking is my soul candy.

Images for Rider Perspective article.

Power tool time!

When the snow falls it’s time to get back on focus, but I’m on skis as much as the bike or trainer so that when spring emerges and with it those intermittent patches of fresh singletrack, I can’t wait to ride more. I’m not only recharged, I can’t get enough of riding.

In season though, I can’t just sign out for a month. But I can keep that fun bike (my Orbea Rallon) ready for some soul candy rides, the Sprinter van’s cupboards stocked for some weekend riding and camping trips to Squamish, Revelstoke or Penticton, the garden and power tools nearby (with a husband imposed 9pm cut off time) and the kitchen stocked with awesome food and some craft beers to cook, bake and host friends with.

I also have a designated Monday Recovery day. It’s sacred. It’s the one day when training doesn’t come first, normal life stuff does. Sometimes this isn’t the best “physical” recovery, but I train better when I’m happy and fulfilled so that’s what this day is about. It’s my weekend and is just as important to my training as the interval set to follow.

Images for Rider Perspective article.

Sprinter life

Keeping it fresh between races and seasons for me is as simple as keeping riding and life fun and rewarding. Riding & training can’t be everything, but it you want to be at the top of your game it is going to be a lot of it. Embracing that, you have to keep the love in the riding, the passion in learning and embrace new challenges and adventure along the way.

Images for Rider Perspective article.
I signed up for Ryan Leech's Learn to Wheelie 30 day Challenge. Check out that focus.

See ya at the races and on the trails,
-Catharine Pendrel

MENTIONS: @cpendrel / @orbea / @RyanLeech


  • 41 2
 Awesome. I'd like to see Catharine be a regular on PB.
  • 4 1
 Me too!! Thanks for sharing this with us.
  • 25 1
  • 6 2
 Says her brother! You two will have to get together at some point Geoff and maybe you can tell us about WC DH back in "The Day"?
  • 11 0
 thats right, so I would know best right? Total nerd.

As for back in the day, it was hard and always muddy. The jumps were bigger but nobody knew how to jump. It was awesome. The sport has matured incredibly... but thats another topic.

Go Kika! nerd
  • 13 1
 At first I thought Dad was calling me a nerd! Someone has to be able to teach your girls how to wheelie:-0
  • 3 0
 Ahh family time, some things never change! Great write up kika, and Geoff all i remember is scoters golf carts and dodgy vans!!!!!
  • 12 0
 Awesome job last year at Worlds! missed u at Iceman though Frown ...woulda been cool seeing the rainbow stripes rollin' at Iceman!
  • 3 0
 I'll have to earn them again thenSmile
  • 8 0
 Good article, fun to see that it's not all work and no play.
Who knew that you could be a world champion mountain biker and not be a wheelie master?!?
  • 8 0
 Good read!, Thanks Catharine.
  • 6 0
 Nice writing and she seems like a really cool person. It's great when a top athlete can share their thoughts in such an easily digestible way. I'd like to read more of these.
  • 6 0
 Do more of these for xc riders please! I love the DH racer ones but xc racers live an interesting life too!
  • 6 0
 All hail the Queen!!
  • 4 0
 Really enjoy reading these articles from women riders. great stuff!
  • 2 0
 Much love for Canadian xc women racers! I'll be cheering for ya at St.Anne! Keep the fun in racing like you say you do and you'll never burn out! Thanks for your reports...
  • 1 0
 Cool article! I really appreciate reading about MTB from girls perspective. Sometimes it feels like I've read it all from guys.

How's 30day wheelie challenge going for you Catharine? Can you do coaster wheelies already? Big Grin
  • 4 0
 Yay for womens coverage!
  • 3 1
 Lovin the "Canadian Pie" book in the 3rd pic down; great read! This one time at band camp in Canada...
  • 4 0
 "This one time at the lumber camp..."
  • 2 0
 I don't follow xc but its good to see pb showcasing some elements from that side of our sport.
  • 2 0
 Hope we get more of these! Thanks for the post!
  • 2 0
 Kamloops and not a freerider?!?! Does not compute. :-)
  • 2 0
 How about a profile on your "trail" bike?
  • 1 0
 You ROCK Catharine!!! Have a great 2015, bringing those rainbow stripes home once again.
  • 2 1
 Right on, Kick some US & Euro ass! cuz canadian girls kick ass.
  • 1 0
 @cpendral - Shot of you riding through the blossoms......Petersen Creek?
  • 2 0
 Nope, my back yard!
  • 1 0
 Keep Rocking it!
  • 1 2
 Hope she's not too feminist or opinionated or she won't be round here for long (Tongue in cheek)
  • 1 0
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