TRAVERSE CITY — The drama of the Bell’s Beer Iceman Cometh women’s pro race ended in the last five miles.
It was at that point that Catharine Pendrel pulled away from Chloe Woodruff and cruised to an easy victory to claim her first Iceman title in her second try.
Up to that point it had been a two-woman race as Pendrel and Woodruff separated themselves from the pack relatively early. Pendrel, a member of the Canadian Olympic team, was able to create a wide gap between the top two and came in with a time of 1:53:15, more than a minute ahead of Woodruff (1:54:52).
“With about 7K to go,” Pendrel said, when asked when she became the solitary rider at the head of the field. “I felt good but I was kind of worried because I know (Woodruff) has an amazing sprint and I wasn’t opening it up on the climb.”
The victory was Pendrel’s first in her second attempt at the Iceman. She took third last time.
“I came here two years ago and I definitely learned a lot about the course,” she said. “I was in the top three until the last 5K, then got out-tacticed at the end there. This year I played a good race and things just came together. I was feeling really good and I had fun. Coming into the crowd here at the end, that was pretty much unbeatable. That was so unreal, so loud, so much fun, so much good energy.”
Pendrel got into the early lead due to her work on the early single-track sections of the trail. She slowly lost each member of the leading pack until she was left alone with Woodruff for a good part of the race.
“There was four of us, myself, Emily Batty, Chloe Woodruff and Mackenzie (Woodring). They’re all really strong,” Pendrel said.