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Photo ©: Multivan Merida

On top of the world: The Gunn-Rita Dahle diary 2006

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, 2004 and 2005, Olympic champion in 2004 and rarely beaten in the World Cup in 2003, 2004 and 2005, 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 husband and coach Kenneth FlesjŚ. Follow her exploits on Cyclingnews as she works to stay at the top of her game in 2006. Or, for more Gunn-Rita, see her personal website:

Sunday February 26, 2006

Back on the Olympic track

On Friday we were back on our "Olympic Track" here on Majorca, and the experience gave us a little extra enthusiasm on a terribly wet and chilly day. It was the first time we experienced white mountaintops here on Majorca, but we've brought along all the necessary gear for this kind of treatment from the weather gods.

Sunday evening has arrived here in our little hotel room, and wet clothing is hanging around everywhere to dry. We are naturally quite used to these kinds of conditions, so we don't think much about it. It's probably more unusual to have typical Stavanger weather down here in Spain at the end of February. Today we've had strong winds and pouring rain all day, and the mountaintops around Megaluf were covered in snow yesterday when we went out for a ride.

We were then back again at the so-called Olympic Track here, where we did power pedalling. The conditions were somewhat different from August in 2004, but apart from that, the area is well suited to this kind of technical training. Apart from the 30 degrees' difference in temperature, muddy ground, and somewhat different physical shape, the experience was pretty good.

We've managed to see quite a lot of the Winter Olympics in Torino, and also the final stint today. I think the Norwegian efforts have been rather good at the Olympics this time, and we've had many results that we as Norwegians can be proud of. We can look back on many very impressive Norwegian results where the margins have been minimal. Based on the initial expectations, many would claim that it has been a disappointing Olympics for us, but I do not agree with that at all.

Many things have to come together, the margins are microscopic, and there is no room for any bad luck if one's to win an Olympic gold medal. We Norwegians are probably somewhat spoilt when it comes to gold medals, even though Norway is a very small nation. It sort of isn't good enough to be number two if one comes from Norway.

If Norway as a nation is to maintain its position amongst the elite sports nations, in both Summer and Winter Olympics, our efforts certainly can't be any poorer than other nations which are competing at the top level. Maybe we need to think along the lines that it is necessary for us to make that extra effort and focus even more, if Norway is to be at the very top in the future. We don't have as many talents to choose from as many other nations have, and for this reason we're already quite far behind the others in the queue!

Today we've done interval training, and according to the plan, it was to be done out in the terrain. But with these weather conditions, we decided to do the training inside, on the rollers, and that isn't always as easy for one's psyche. But things went well as soon as we got going, and many things are possible when there are two of you working at the same job.

We just got in from one hour's jogging trip, during which our entire uniform for "muck-weather" was used, so the trip turned out alright after all. Now we're sitting here, enjoying some peace and quiet before going out for a good dinner. One trip a week out to a restaurant is nice for us, even though the "buffet" food here at the hotel is good. Tomorrow a relaxed day of training awaits us, with one hour on the rollers and one hour in the swimming pool.

On Friday we're leaving for Italy (we are really looking forward to that) where the first race of the season will take place on Sunday in a week. You'll hopefully be hearing from us again in a good week from now, with a detailed report from the race. I'm as excited as a child before the first race of the season!

Cyclist's greetings from Gunn-Rita,
Multivan Merida Biking Team

[Translation: Crispen T. P. de Lange]