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Woodruff’s preparation for Rio continues in Canada

Chloe Woodruff of Prescott slaps hands with fans near the finish line May 1 at the 13th annual Whiskey Off-Road in Prescott. Woodruff finished third overall. (Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier, File(

Chloe Woodruff of Prescott slaps hands with fans near the finish line May 1 at the 13th annual Whiskey Off-Road in Prescott. Woodruff finished third overall. (Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier, File(

PRESCOTT – In less than 3 weeks, Chloe Woodruff and a 21-member U.S. Olympic Cycling Team will be front and center at the summer games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Before she rides into the history books, Woodruff, a Prescott resident, will continue her preparation for the Olympics by racing in the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.

The event, held at Mont-Sainte-Anne in Quebec, Canada, will feature several of the most prominent professional mountain bike racers in North America.

“It’s a great tune-up event and lead in to the Olympics,” Woodruff said of the Canadian-based event, which takes place Sunday, Aug. 7. “It’s a chance to get some international racing points, which helps for my start position in Rio.”

Ranked No. 34 in the latest cross-country mountain biking world rankings, Woodruff earned her Olympic bid in April thanks to a career-best 1:33.13 time at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, finishing 13th overall in Cairns, Australia.

Woodruff, a 2012 cross-country Olympic long team member and 10-time collegiate and junior mountain bike national champion, said the event in Canada this weekend will give her another opportunity to test her skills.

“It will test how I’m feeling [and] test my equipment. I’ve done this race eight or nine times, so I’m pretty familiar with the course,” Woodruff said, adding that for the last two-plus weeks, she’s had the “luxury” to stay home and train.

by Brian M. Bergner Jr.

“It’s in the middle of the race season,” Woodruff said. “Typically I’m running around a lot. So, to have time at home to train has been a huge relief. It’s been productive, relaxing, weather has been fantastic.”

Since receiving a discretionary selection for the U.S. Olympic Cycling Team in late June, Woodruff continues to process the whirlwind that is an Olympic selection.

“The most striking thing so far, the Olympics are a lot bigger than any one individual. … It carries a significance that carries beyond your little world of cycling,” Woodruff said.

The 29-year-old cyclist said being a part of the Olympic process is “really special,” and she hopes to bring attention to mountain biking, especially in the Prescott community.

“It’s an honor, it’s exciting to be able to go race for team USA and be part of the experience,” Woodruff said.

ZIKA VIRUS CONCERNS

Unlike many of her athletic counterparts who continue to shun the Olympics in Brazil this month, Woodruff isn’t worried at all about the potential concerns over the Zika Virus.

She’s taking a more proactive approach.

“It’s more about being cognizant of what you can do, which is wear mosquito repellant and pay attention to what the prevention guidelines are,” Woodruff said. “For the most part, we’re going to Brazil to race, that’s the focus. There’s a lot of things you could be distracted with, or worried about, anxious about, but we’re just going there to race.”

RACE DAY: TUNE IN

In Canada, the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. Prescott time Sunday, and will be streamed live by redbull.tv.

As for the Olympics, nbc.com will stream the cross-country mountain bike event from Brazil on Saturday, Aug. 20, at 8:30 a.m. Prescott time.

Brian M. Bergner Jr. is a sports writer and columnist for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter @SportsWriter52 or reach him by phone at 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.

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