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Rainbows and Unicorns: Swagman Interview with 2-time MTB World Champion Catharine Pendrel

We caught up with Canada’s Catharine Pendrel while on hiatus from the MTB World Cup season as she recovers from a broken arm.  Despite the setback she remains her ever positive self.

1. You are a member of the Clif Pro Team but also have a racing team that bears yours name as Pendrel Racing. What was the motivation behind starting your own team? My husband and I started Pendrel Racing as a way to give back to the sport that has given us so much. There were so many people and bike shops that really helped me get going with my own career that I wanted to be able to create similar opportunities for other developing athletes.

2. You have a very positive social media presence whether it be lessons learned from a tough race, bouncing back from injury to enjoying time with your teammates and supporters. Is this Catharine Pendrel the veteran competitor or have you always been this way? Definitely a positive outlook and sharing of information has always been part of my personality, but the longer I spend in sport the more I see my social media value as being someone that can share advice and experience to help other athletes. I think a sport career has a lot more value when it can resonate further than a results sheet.

3. Do you feel this positive energy has helped you have such a long and successful career? I think my positive attitude has been huge for my success. I don’t think you can be successful if you don’t believe you can be and obstacles need to be seen as opportunities.

4. Advice your current athletic self would give to your 20 something self? Advice for my younger self? Keep at it! Trust in your program and keep it fun. If you know why you love it you’ll know why you want to go faster!

5. Unicorn and rainbow kits…is there a back story there?  When Garneau asked, “What do you want to have on your kit?” My answer was pretty quick and short. “Rainbows, unicorns, mountains and trees! But not on blue!” I knew I wanted to make something totally different. Something playful & fun that showed my non-serious-racer side, a side of my personality that has been as important as work ethic and drive to find success at the World Cup level of mountain bike racing. Rainbows and unicorns are for the kid in me that gets inspired by the idea of magic and wonder and also the adult that knows a big part of finding the best in yourself on any given day is believing that anything is possible. On my back-right shoulder is a rain cloud with colourful raindrops because every situation is what you make of it and with no rain, there’s no rainbows. A little adversity is what helps you shine! And, well rainbows and unicorns just go together. I wore rainbow and unicorn socks at the Olympics when I rode to a Bronze medal in 2016. Socks are one of the few personalized items you can get away with while competing at the Olympics and I wanted them to have the fun magic feel I wanted to experience there. Full story is up on Catharine’s blog.

6. Daily motto for getting out the door each day to train? Honestly most days I like getting out the door to train! But on those super tired days or hard races or workouts I remind myself that “You chose this”. Everything is easier when you put yourself in the position of control. My favourite race motto is “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. Gretzky


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