Pendrel claims victory in Italy four months after giving birth

Catharine Pendrel, four months after giving birth to daughter Dara on Jan. 26, is back atop the podium.

The 40-year-old mountain biker from Kamloops placed first on Wednesday in the Valle Di Casies Internazionali d’Italia Series open women’s race in South Tyrol, Italy.

She finished in one hour, 40 minutes and 26 seconds, edging fellow Canadian Sandra Walter by eight seconds.

"The only thing better than winning a race is winning when it’s completely unexpected!" Pendrel wrote on Facebook.

"Some of the best advice I’ve been given is 'never practice making excuses.' Race morning, I found myself giving myself reasons for underperforming.

"Deciding to go all in today and being able to ride at the front most of the race was awesome."

Jennifer Jackson, who lives in Kamloops and trains with Pendrel, took the lead in the first lap, but fell off the pace and finished seventh.

Pendrel raced last month in two World Cup events, placing 23rd in the Czech Republic on May 16 and 52nd in Germany on May 9.

"[They were] such polar experiences for me that it was easy to think maybe I just got lucky with conditions in [the Czech Republic]," Pendrel said.

The Fredericton, New Brunswick, product will compete for Team Canada at the postponed 2020 Olympic Summer Games, which are scheduled to run this year in Tokyo, from July 23 to Aug. 8.
The event will mark Pendrel's fourth Olympic Games.

Pendrel and Jackson will be in action at the third of six stops on the World Cup circuit, with the event slated to run from June 11 to June 13 in Leogang, Austria.
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