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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Climbing back to the top: The Gunn-Rita Dahle FlesjŚ diary 2008

Gunn-Rita Dahle FlesjŚ
Photo ©: Gunn Rita Dahle FlesjŚ & Kenneth FlesjŚ
(Click for larger image)

Norwegian cross-country mountain bike racer Gunn-Rita Dahle FlesjŚ is probably the best female rider this relatively young branch of the sport has ever seen. World champion in 2002, 2004, 2005, and 2006, plus Olympic champion in 2004, and rarely beaten in her reign as World Cup champion from 2003 - 2006, she has a breathtaking palmares.

Unfortunately, Dahle FlesjŚ was sidelined for most of the 2007 season with a virus that left her with little strength and on a program of complete rest and recovery. With the constant support of husband and coach Kenneth FlesjŚ, she has been working her way steadily back to health - just in time to pursue her goals at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Follow her exploits on Cyclingnews as she works to regain her form and position at the top of women's mountain biking in 2008. Or, for more Gunn-Rita, see her personal website: www.gunnrita.com

Index to all entries

July 24, 2008

Ready for Canadian World Cups

The final test for me before the Olympics will be two World Cup races here in Canada. There are amazingly many different races and programs to take part in during the final preparation period before the Olympics, but most of my competitors will be taking part here at Mt. Sainte Anne in in a few days from now.

We've been here for almost a week already, and are gradually beginning to get used to the high humidity and the time difference of six hours. I usually wake up early in the morning anyway, but it's been rather too early these first few days here. It's getting better though. We've had varying weather conditions this first week with rain in the afternoons. Today the weather is reasonably good with occasional glimpses of sun.

The Canadian National Championships were held here at Mt Sainte Anne yesterday, so we were able to ride two laps before the first start at 9:00 a.m. Today it's the Quebec Cup first, and then there'll be a cross country race this afternoon with only us two taking part. It's going to be incredibly tough because I feel quite worn out from all the training, so it's not going to be easy to beat Kenneth today.

Effective training period

Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa
Photo ©: Kenneth and Gunn-Rita Dahle FlesjŚ
(Click for larger image)

We've been training very well these past two weeks, with lots of intervals and great long distance stints, so my body is feeling a little heavy now. I recovered quickly after the World Championship triumph, which was a good thing. From tomorrow, I'm focussing on relaxed training and then it's back to a standard World Cup week regarding number of hours and intensity of the training.

The rest of the Multivan Merida Biking Team is arriving here tomorrow afternoon. The only other rider from the team doing both these World Cup races will be Jose Hermida. The goal for Kenneth and me is to manage to use the heaviest gears, to feel reasonably on top of things in both races, and to benefit from the technical training that both races will provide.

Now it's time for lunch here. Pasta, naturally, and I'm hungry as always. Kenneth is considering whether he should shave his legs now, so as to have an edge in our race this afternoon (warm-up starts at 3:30 p.m.). You'll be hearing from us again in a good week, at which time I hope to be able to give you an exciting update from a great race day here at Mt. Sainte Anne.

Enjoy your summer with some exercise every day.

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

[Translation: Crispen T.P. de Lange]