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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, December 21, 2005

Merry Christmas

And so the festive season is upon us again, and I'm full of expectations! We've decorated our living room here at home and given it a cosy Christmassy atmosphere, and every evening we light the candles. Even though all the necessary errands and chores are finished, the true Christmas feeling isn't totally present yet, but it doesn't usually come before Christmas Eve anyway.

I've had a reasonably relaxed week regarding both exercise and other activities, mostly because of a tedious cold I've been struggling with. I guess the period after coming home from the holiday was a bit too tough, and my body always makes it clear in this way that it needs rest and time for recovery. I'm still a little stuffed in the nose and not quite clear in my head, but I'm already exercising again and my energy is on its way back.

All the Christmas shopping is out of the way, so now it's just to lean back in my easy-chair and look forward to cosy and relaxing days together with my closest family. Tomorrow evening we're going to the movies together with Kenneth's youngest brother and sister, Henriette and Nicolas, and we're really looking forward to that.

On Christmas Eve we'll be celebrating together with young and old at Lura with Kenneth's parents and it'll definitely be a lively evening for all of us. On Christmas Day we'll leave for my parents at Bjørheimsbygd where delicious Christmas food and hikes in the mountains await us.

The only Christmas get-together we're arranging in our home here is a Christmas porridge evening together with brothers and sisters between Christmas and New Year's Eve. Apart from that there'll be a lot of exercise according to the schedule, and most likely many enjoyable evenings in our little sitting-room here in Stavanger.

Christmas time means quite a few days off for most of us, some of which can be used for taking friends and family out for a trip somewhere. Use your legs, your jogging-shoes, your hiking boots, or wheel your bike out. Nothing but your own fantasy can decide how much excitement, fun and experience you have during these free days. A bit of extra exercise is no disadvantage either, as one is usually served a fair deal more delicious food than normal during these days.

I wish all our biking friends, supporters and sponsors a very merry and enjoyable Christmas. You'll all be hearing from me again on New Year's Eve, when I will include a few "goodies" from our food-menu and training-menu.

Christmas hugs from Gunn-Rita

[Translation: Crispen T. P. de Lange]