Catherine Pendrel is a former world champion mountain biker from Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. She won the cross-country gold medal at the 2011 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, as well as winning the UCI World Cup in the same event in 2010 and 2012. She also won gold at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro and has been riding for the Canadian national team since 2003.
Born in September 1980, Catherine was not a cyclist from an early age. She was raised on a horse farm and her first forays into competitive sport were in dressage. However, her brother Geoff, also an elite mountain biker, turned her onto the sport when setting up trails on the family’s land. She continued riding when she moved away from home to the University of Victoria, although she had to badger coach Dan Proulx into training her as he initially didn’t see her potential.
Catherine’s first taste of international action came at the 2004 World Championships in France. It was a tough initiation and she finished 46th, but continued to work hard and move up the standings over the next few years, with the 2007 Pan Am gold her first major success. She finished fourth at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, nine seconds off a medal, although the star of the Canadian team at that time was Marie-Hélène Prémont, who did not finish after suffering from an illness. After extremely successful seasons in the run up the 2012 Olympics, she was rated amongst Canada’s brightest medal hopes, but sadly could not produce on the day and finished in 9th place.