Catharine Pendrel, our last hope
Party late or get up early.
Those are two ways to watch Catharine Pendrel — Kamloops’ last medal hope — go for gold on Saturday, Aug. 11, at the Olympic Summer Games.
The women’s cross-country mountain biking event gets underway at 4:30 a.m., B.C. time.
It will be held on 550-acre Hadleigh Farm, a hilly outdoor course in the Essex countryside, about 60 kilometres outside London.
Pendrel, ranked No. 1 in the world heading into the Games, is familiar with the course — she won the Olympic test event held at Hadleigh last July.
“Racing and being successful on that course tells me that I can be successful on that course again,” Pendrel told KTW.
“I’ve shown myself to be top three in the world the last couple years. That definitely is my goal going in there.”
The 32-year-old Harvey, N.B., product moved to Kamloops — world-renowned for its mountain-biking terrain — in 2006.
Among her favourite places to ride are Dufferin, on Schubert Drive and along the North Thompson River toward McLure.
Pendrel won the world championship in 2011 and the International Cycling Union (ICU) Mountain Bike World Cup earlier this year.
She placed fourth at the Games in Beijing four years ago, missing the podium by nine seconds.
The course at Hadleigh, which will take about an hour and a half to complete (setting your alarm for 5:30 a.m. might work . . .), has been altered since Pendrel won the test event in 2011.
Organizers widened the usually narrow track to encourage more passing, according to cbc.ca.
Hadleigh is also said to be TV-friendly, due to its lack of trees and open countryside.
The five top-ranked female ICU cross-country mountain bikers are, in order, Pendrel, Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa of Norway, Julie Bresset of France, Maja Wloszczowska of Poland and Annie Last of Great Britain.
“I know there are a lot of women with the same goal and a lot of women that can be top three on any given day,” Pendrel said.
“If I bring the best legs I can be the most successful, but I’m also going to need luck and smarts.”
Kamloops will need coffee — perhaps a little Baileys, too.