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Race and Photo Report from 2014 Canadian Mountain Bike XC Championships.

July 20, 2014
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The newly designed Pan-American Games course at Hardwood Ski & Bike, near Barrie, Ontario was stage to a gripping battle for the red and white jersey.  The 2014 Canadian Mountain Bike Cross-country Championships saw mountain bike legend Geoff Kabush of Courtenay, B.C. (Scott-3Rox Racing) set a new record winning his eight championship, a record previously held by Alyson Sydor with seven wins.  After missing the 2013 Championships due to injury, Catharine Pendrel of Kamloops B.C. (Team Luna Pro) returned victorious and took home her fifth national title win.

Evan Guthrie (Norco Factory Team) and Cameron Jette (Scott-3Rox Racing) started the race with a furious pace, both on track for the rides of their lives.  Kabush and teammate Derek Zandstra, the defending Champion, followed the lead group closely. Max Plaxton of Victoria, BC (Cannondale Factory Racing) and Raphaël Gagné of Québec City, Québec (Rocky Mountain Bicycles) were also part of this elite chase group.

Jette suffered from a jammed chain later in the race and Guthrie could no longer maintain the astonishing pace he had set.  During the fourth lap, Gagné was able to overtake the spent rider and Jette.  Kabush still had lots left in the tank and kept the play in sight until the final lap where he was able to pull out and hold the lead until the finish.  The win for Kabush designated him the most decorated mountain biker in history at Canadian Championships.  Coworkers Zandstra and Gagné followed Kabush across the line.

“It was an exciting race to be part of; one of the closest title battles I’ve been in. I’m going to be very proud to wear the maple leaf for the next year. It was definitely a target for the team and winning and retaining the jersey in the team is a great way to say thank you to all our sponsors that support us so well. Everyone on the team rode great and it is a lot of fun to race close to Scott-3Rox Racing’s home base. It’s always nice to see the effort put into improving and evolving a course and I think they definitely have done a good job making it a good test.” – Geoff Kabush (Scott-3Rox Racing)

Pendrel established the lead early on in the elite women race and held it for the balance of the race.  The defending 2013 Canadian Champion, Emily Batty of Brooklyn, Ontario (Trek Factory Racing) fought a hard battle and stuck to Pendrel’s back wheel for the first half of the race. Batty was determined but unable able to keep Pendrel in check.  Into the third lap, Pendrel was able to pull away from the resolute hometown favourite, Batty.  Pendrel continued to grow her expanse and won the race 45 sec ahead of the Batty.   Sandra Walter of Coquitlam, B.C. (Liv-Giant Canada), who headed the field early on in the race, was overtaken and remained in third position behind the lead pair of Pendrel and Batty.

“It feels great to earn another title. It is a confirmation that my form is where I want it to be. I really enjoyed the course. It was so interesting and I diverse I never got sick of churning out laps. I just had fun riding my bike as fast as I could!” – Catharine Pendrel (Team Luna Pro)

Léandre Bouchard (Equipe du Québec-Cyclone d’Alma) and Frédérique Trudel (Specialized Racing Canada), both from Québec, won their respective U23 races.

Those in attendance witnessed an incredible day of racing at Hardwood Ski & Bike.  Eight champions were crowned, records were broken, and dreams were made.  The level of racing shown by Pendrel and Batty was some of the best in the world.  The power and determination that Evan Guthrie displayed was the buzz of the race and junior stars like local Soren Meeuwisse attest that the future is bright for our young Canadian mountain bike stars.  Go Canada!

Here are a few images from the 2014 Canadian Mountain Bike Cross-country Championships.

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Scott – 3Rox Racing team manager Kyle Douglas and Geoff Kabush chillin’ pre race.

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Catharine Pendrel happy to be back racing at Hardwood Ski & Bike

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The pits at the 2014 Canadian Mountain Bike Cross-country Championships

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The hawks were circling, looking for fresh meat on Boneshaker.

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Andréanne Pichette (Opus/OGC) was all smiles at Nationals.

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Pendrel has done the work and was ready to race.

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What every race needs, more cowbells.

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Emily Batty’s 2014 Cayenne Platinum Edition from Pfaff.

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Amanda Sin (Scott – 3Rox Racing) relaxed and happy after being called up to the line.

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Sandra Walter has her contact patch ready for the start.

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Hometown favourite and returning champion Emily Batty had her work cut out for her.

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The Elite Female charge out of the new start area at Hardwood.

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The Under 23 Female start.

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Batty right glued to Pendrel’s wheel during the first lap.

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Pichette pushes hard to make ground.

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Lindsay Webster (TUF RACK Racing) on her way to an eleventh place finish in the elite female category.

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Sandra Walter (Liv/Giant Canada) winding her way up the new armoured switchbacks.

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Still recovering from injury, Pichette pushes though the pain.

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Amanda Sin pushing hard to keep teammate Mikaela Kofman in her sights.

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Riders had two options on this new climb, long way ’round or up and over a small but awkward ledge.

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Pendrel and Batty on lap three, still tight.

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Walter doing all she can to reach Pendrel and Batty.

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Pendrel and Batty on another level.

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Sandra Walter successfully navigating the ledge line.

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Kofman 3 seconds behind Walter through the climb.

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Kofman takes a look at the ledge line but ops for the smooth route.

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Pichette through the miles of tape.

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Pichette powers up the ledge.

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Batty now losing sight of Pendrel but her time on the track proves valuable on descents and in the tech sections.

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Rebecca Beaumont (Équipe du Québec) through one of the many beautiful forest sections of the new Pan-American course.

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Walter heading out for her last lap.

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Kofman takes the wooden line.

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Pendrel continues to build her lead over Batty, now at 30 seconds.

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Walter comes flying through the fast singletrack on her Giant 27.5 Obsess Advanced. Part of Giant’s new Liv line.

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Pendrel on her last lap, not letting up.

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Batty digging deep with support of the loyal fans cheering her on.

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Pure joy for Pendrel as she takes her fifth Canadian national elite female cross country win.

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Kabush with an ice pack on the back of his neck. Warmed up and ready to lay it all on the line.

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Elite men’s start.

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Gagné with a quick shoulder check to see who he’s got with him.

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Defending champion Derek Zandstra over the newly built gap.

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Kabush flying around the Joyride 150 wallride.

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Guthrie still maintaining a furious pace in lap 3.

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Peter Disera stays fast and low over the gap.

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Thought that DZ was maybe going to go foot out flat out here, but he kept his foot on the pedal.

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Adam Morka (WFP Coaching / Trek Bikes) came out strong and finished in sixth place.

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Kris Sneddon leaving it all out there for nationals.

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Evan McNeely (Norco Factory Team) heading into the woods.

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Gagné catches up to Guthrie and Jette.

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Kabush, Zandstra and Plaxton still together until late in the race.

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Jette pushing hard with Guthrie and Gagné.

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Léandre Bouchard on his way to winning the U23 Male category race.

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Kabush and Zandstra poised to make their move. Plaxton running out of juice.

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Guthrie amazed everyone with his incredible drive and stamina.

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A bitter sweet day for Zandstra as he and teammate Kabush finish 1-2.

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2014 Canadian National Cross Country Championship elite female podium (l-r) Emily Batty, Catharine Pendrel and Sandra Walter.

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2014 Canadian National Cross Country Championship elite male podium (l-r) Derek Zandstra, Geoff Kabush and Raphaël Gagné.

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2014 National XCO winners (l-r) Quinton Disera, Soren Meeuwisse, Léandre Bouchard, Catharine Pendrel, Geoff Kabush, Frédérique Trudel, Marc−André Fortier, Erica Leonard

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Geoff Kabush makes it eight and becomes the most decorated Canadian Mountain Biker of all time. Congrats Geoff.

Marc Landry is a Toronto, Ontario based action sports photographer. Honing his skills on local and World Cup cycling circuits, Marc has since expanded his subject matter to include several outdoor adventure sports. Marc is in his element when surrounded by the energy that top athletes radiate. The relationships he forms with his subjects is apparent in his images and is part of what defines his look. He is most at home in the mountains and his preference for long glass and elaborate lighting setups has become his signature style.

4 Comments

  1. Such a good event! With some stellar performances and a few surprises! Thanks for the great write up Marc! Glad to be able to relive the event

  2. Thanks Josh. Was great to see you. Thanks for the water bottle you saved me!

  3. What an amazing race report and some fantastic shots. Well done, sir.

  4. Thanks for the kind words Marley!

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