New Brunswick

Harvey Station to host screening of local Olympian's race

Catharine Pendrel’s New Brunswick community coming together to stream race at Harvey Memorial Community Centre on Saturday, when the veteran Olympian makes another attempt for an Olympic medal.

Cross-country mountain biker Catharine Pendrel races in Rio at 12:30 pm AT Saturday

A Harvey Station community member makes a poster at Harvey Memorial Community Centre, in anticipation of Olympian Catharine Pendrel's race in Rio on Saturday.

Harvey Station's Olympic hopeful is about to race, and her community is ready to watch.

At the Harvey Memorial Community Centre, Daniel Fletcher set up tables and chairs to accommodate the crowd he expects to show up to cheer on Olympic cross-country mountain-biker, and Harvey Station native, Catharine Pendrel.

Harvey Memorial Community Centre set up to host screening of Catharine Pendrel's cross-country mountain bike race in Rio on Saturday.

"We really want to step up and show Catharine how much we care about her," said Fletcher, a volunteer organizing the race-viewing event. "She represents our community the way we'd want to be represented."

Pendrel is a decorated world champion, who has high hopes for the Games, something she made clear four years ago.

"Maybe in Rio"

One of three Olympians in Rio with New Brunswick roots, this is 35-year-old Pendrel's third Olympic Games.

By the time she got to London, she was at the top of her game, but in a disappointing finish, she placed 9th at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Catharine Pendrel navigates a rocky portion of the course in the women's mountain bike event at Hadleigh Farm in Essex. (Christophe Ena/Associated Press)

Her coping mechanism was to look ahead.

"Maybe in Rio," she told reporters after the race.

Since then, she's won the 2014 world championships and she's the current reigning Commonweath Games champion. She placed second at last summer's Pan Am Games in Toronto. 

But the pressure to medal, is her own, according to Fletcher.

"We have no pressure on her," he said. "We're just here to support her in whatever she accomplishes," said Fletcher.

Family racing the clock

Missing from Saturday's gathering will be Pendrel's parents. They're on a race of their own.

After a delay out of Fredericton caused them to miss their flight to Rio, they've been up against the clock.

They were first put on a flight that would land only two hours before the race, a risky, if not impossible challenge, with the racecourse about 30 kilometres away from the airport, and traffic so bad it has even delayed  Olympic officials.

Her mother Johanna Bertin has been posting updates to Facebook and says they have since been rerouted through Sao Paulo.

They have their fingers crossed the new route will get them to the course on time.

A local hero

Back in Harvey Station, Fletcher says they're hoping as many as 250 people will come out to watch at the community centre.

Although Pendrel now lives in Kamloops, B.C., Fletcher said she's still a hometown hero performing on the world stage.

Daniel Fletcher stepped up to organize a community screening of Catharine Pendrel's Olympic race in women's cross-country mountain bike on Saturday.

"As a small community, whenever you've lived here, you're always a part of our community," he said. " We're always going to be proud of Catharine no matter where in the world she goes."

"We're here to cheer her all day tomorrow and afterwards as well, win, draw, or lose."

Pendrel races at 12:30pm AT Saturday. The community centre screening room will open at noon.