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On top of the world: The Gunn-Rita Dahle diary 2005

Norwegian cross-country mountain bike racer Gunn-Rita Dahle is probably the best female rider this relatively young branch of the sport has ever seen. World champion in 2002 and 2004, Olympic champion in 2004 and unbeaten in the World Cup in 2003 and 2004, she has a breath-taking palmares.

Dahle says her success is due to an unrelenting focus - she describes herself as a '24-hour athlete' - and the constant support of her boyfriend and coach Kenneth Flesjå. Follow her exploits on Cyclingnews as she works to stay at the top of her game in 2005. Or, for more Gunn-Rita, see her personal website:

Norway, September 29, 2005

The season's over but things don't stop

New things to do

That just about finishes the 2005 season! And now several weeks of work with a new focus await us. We're very much looking forward to something different after many months of focusing totally on training and competing nearly 24 hours a day. We're expecting some really busy weeks, with many big challenges on the schedule.

I'm sitting at the airport in Copenhagen as I write. In a couple of hours we'll be heading to China and Beijing. Competition is over for the season, but we need to keep the wheels turning, so we have the bikes along with us.

The programme for the coming week is to check out the Olympic conditions - the race course, the competition - along with some photography on the Great Wall of China, press conferences, promotional work for Merida China, and probably a whole load of other exciting things. It's the Birkebeiner organisation that invited us along to Beijing, and with several other groups have arranged an MTB race this coming Sunday.

It's not time to stop yet

The week at home in Stavanger, after the World Cup finals, was full of fun stuff to do. We've been out for dinner with our best man and maid of honour, we've met our toastmaster, we've ordered our wedding rings at Siv and Adam's, I've had a look at my wedding dress at Gunn's Style, been to my hairdresser Yvonne (Frisørsenteret at Bryne), had a girls' night in together with Brit and Tonje, and done some shopping. In other words, the planning of the wedding is very much on the move, and my big sister, Hege, is at the helm.

Yesterday we were also at the building cite at Lura together with our friends from KleppHus and Ramp, going through various things on the drawings of the house. The blueprints are now going to be sent in to the Municipality of Stavanger to be processed. If things are all OK, we plan to start building the house early next year.

Kenneth spent three days in Trondheim at a course for coaches last week, while I travelled to the Czech Republic and the Merida dealer for the weekend. On Saturday I took part in a Marathon cycle race, starting with 1300 other mountain bikers. I spent three wonderful days together with our Merida friends in the Czech Republic, and was once again wined and dined as if I was royalty...I also spent a day in Sandefjord with Coop Obs on my travels northwards, focusing on nutrition, health and well-being. So this day turned out to be a little different at the fruit and vegetable disc! I enjoyed myself, and I hope I made many others happy too.

In other words, it's been an interesting week for both of us, with lots of fun. As we now start on our travels to Asia, we'd like to share our experiences in China with all of you. I'm going to try to write a short report every day, which I'll post on my website when we come home next week. I wish you all a great day with lots of exciting challenges.

Training stint of the week: That's got to be the Marathon race in the Czech Republic, which was very exciting with lots of single-track.

Dinner of the week: Pizza on Tuesday evening together with good friends. I didn't eat too much, but it must have been the good company that made the evening perfect.

Advice for the week: Think more about eating fruit and vegetables. They taste great, give you lots of energy, and it's a wonderful way of investing in better health.

Bicycle-hug from Gunn-Rita

[Translation: Crispen T. P. de Lange]