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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

New challenges: The Gunn-Rita Dahle FlesjŚ diary 2009

Gunn-Rita Dahle FlesjŚ overjoyed to win in Madrid
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)

Norwegian cross-country mountain bike racer Gunn-Rita Dahle FlesjŚ made an impressive comeback last year after sitting out much of the previous season due to illness. In 2008, she won the Madrid, Spain, round of the UCI World Cup and the UCI Marathon World Championships and finished 12th in the World Cup final standings.

Dahle FlesjŚ will take on a new challenge in 2009 when she gives birth to her first child, expected in late March. With the support of her husband Kenneth FlesjŚ and her family, she aims to return to competition within a few months after becoming a mother.

Don't count her out for the late season World Cups and World Championships races. She was World Champion in 2002, 2004, 2005, and 2006, plus Olympic champion in 2004. In 2003 to 2006, she dominated the sport, winning the World Cup overall.

Follow her exploits in 2009 on Cyclingnews as she takes on a new, joint role as mother and elite racer. Or, for more Gunn-Rita, see her personal website:

Index to all entries

March 5, 2009

Grand days at home

A pregnant Gunn Rita Dahle Flesjaa
Photo ©: Tony Fetch
(Click for larger image)

Week by week my belly keeps growing, and I adjust my level of physical activity accordingly. I only have one more month of the pregnancy, and I aim to enjoy it to the fullest. So far, being pregnant has been a fantastic experience, and we're looking so much forward to saying hello to the little fellow in a few weeks from now.

It's Sunday here in our home, and we're sitting in our easy chairs, leaned well back, with our legs high, news and sports on the television, and the newspapers in our laps. I've been out for a hike while Kenneth has done a long distance bike ride alone. As always, the little fellow in my belly is active the moment I sit down. It seems like he doesn't like to be inactive for long. As long as I'm on the spinning-bike, going for a walk, or swimming, he dozes off and sleeps peacefully without so much as a nudge.

Equipment is in place

Most of the equipment for taking good care of a new, little world citizen is in place, and procuring it has been an exciting process in itself. One wall of the children's room has become blue, tiny baby clothes are hanging up in the wardrobe, Kenneth is going to piece the new baby bed together this week, and the curtains are on their way.

It was strange celebrating my birthday at home together with my family this time, rather than in Majorca together with 70-80 people from the press, where we've been for the past five years. Multivan Merida Biking Team had its annual press camp last weekend, and I was present only through sound and picture using Skype. It went very smoothly and is likely to become a valuable tool that we'll use when we have to travel and our little boy is at home with relatives for shorter periods. Or we might wish to send greetings from our little boy to his grandparents from abroad.

Last week we visited photographer Pål Retz, and had pictures taken of my large stomach. We took many pictures of all three of us, which will be great to keep in our album of memories. I've become so used to the belly now that it's only when I see it on pictures, at a distance and from a few steps back, that I realize how large it really is.

Active days

World Marathon Champion Gunn Rita Dahle Flesjaa
Photo ©: Tony Fetch
(Click for larger image)

The upcoming week is full of appointments, meetings, a bit of body care, a visit to two of my female friends who I haven't seen for a long time, a short trip to my mother and father at Bjørheimsbygd, and a few days up at Kenneth's parents' cabin. Kenneth's two youngest siblings, Henriette and Nicolas, are having their winter holiday so it'll be extra nice to be up at the cabin again.

I hope to write my final update before the baby is born, at least if the little fellow sticks to the schedule and comes on March 19. But he might want more space than he has at present, and could turn up in a fortnight. I at least feel great, apart from the experience of the staircases in the house becoming increasingly long and steep, my legs feeling like they've become longer since I can hardly reach down to tie my laces any more, plus that it's been a long time since I jumped out of bed in the morning. I'm enjoying these days with my big belly, and it's nice having a husband who sometimes experiences "pregnancy symptoms' too?

Have a wonderful and active week of exercise no matter where you may be on earth. I'm taking my exercise quite slow and easy these days, but quickly realize what a difference it makes to my body and head to take a walk. This is important to remember when lack of time or health condition prevents you from spending many hours training in the mountains, at the gym, on the bike, or on skis. 30 minutes of quick walking works wonders, and one can always make time for that, plus that it can be done anywhere on the way to or from work.

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

[Translation: Crispen T.P. de Lange].


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Tony Fetch