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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 Flesjå. 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: www.gunnrita.com
Norway, February 8, 2006
Plenty of action at home
It was a cold and uncomfortable transition, coming home to a Norwegian winter after three weeks on Lanzarote. Even so, we've had full days both inside and outside since we came home, and naturally with a somewhat different focus from that which is usual for a heavy period of concerted training.
Sunday evening has arrived here at home and we're enjoying a quiet break in our little house at Tjensvoll. We've had a visit from our manager, Roar, to go through a few things before we leave the country again. There are many things to organise, deal with, talk about and plan before these next weeks start. We're leaving for Mallorca this coming Thursday, and we won't be back on Norwegian soil again before April 12.
Our final week on Lanzarote at Club La Santa went as planned regarding training, and our legs were good and stiff as expected when we left for Norway. We had a direct flight from Lanzarote via Bergen to Stavanger. I jumped off in Bergen to take part in a promo stint for Coop for a few days, and I also had an interesting day in Gothenburg at the bike-expo "On 2 Wheels" where I got to know more members of our Merida family in our neighbouring country amongst Swedish bike-fans.
Here at home I've been involved in various fashion work and meetings, a lot of exercise, many hours in my office, and a little haircut at FrisørSenteret at Bryne. I feel very privileged to have my own hairdresser who takes care of me every time I'm home for a spell. We've even been out to eat at a restaurant in Stavanger together with friends.
The happiest piece of news this week has been the final approval of the plans for our new house by the Sandnes municipality. It was a great joy for both us and KleppHus. So now it won't be long before the house starts to be built, and we're very excited about the whole process. KleppHus will naturally be guiding the whole procedure, but we'll be involving some other companies who have shown an interest in the project. Our manager, Roar, and his family, will also support us through the building process, as we don't normally have much time at home in Norway.
Yesterday we had the most awful ride of the whole winter so far, in sleet and snow, on icy roads and in strong winds. We had a few uncontrolled movements, landing us out in fields at times, but the trip went alright even so, and we didn't freeze. Both our bikes and ourselves were covered in wet snow and dirt from the roads when we got home, but this is all part of exercising during this season of the year. Kenneth has washed and sprayed down our Merida winter bikes today, so now they're shining clean for a new long distance trip on Wednesday. We're leaving for Oslo on Wednesday afternoon to take part in a few meetings, and then flying on to Mallorca on Thursday morning.
It's a bit complicated packing my suitcase this time, as we're passing through several countries and continents on our next trip. On Mallorca, together with the Philip Bike Team, we can expect both summer and a taste of winter weather. In the north of Italy we can also expect all sorts of weather. But in Curacao in the Caribbean towards the end of March, it will be hot!
On Saturday and Sunday we're having a press conference at the hotel Sol Elite Antillas on Mallorca, where we'll be living for the next three weeks, and media from all over Europe will be there, including several journalists and photographers from Norway. The days will doubtlessly be exciting and intense for all of us, and it'll be extra fun for us to meet colleagues from our pro team Multivan Merida Biking Team again. I expect I'll have lots to tell about already by next Sunday, what with the trip to Mallorca, meeting the team, new bikes, new clothing, etc. So I guess I'll write a short summary again in one week from now.
I wish you all happy days with exercise, healthy food and lots of energy at work. Tomorrow we'll be doing interval training on the rollers inside, in addition to a light restitution session in the afternoon. I'd like to share more details from our training sessions during our stay on Mallorca in the coming weeks, in order to give those of you who are interested a clearer picture of how Kenneth and I work together on a daily basis to be number one.
Cyclist's greetings from Gunn-Rita
[Translation: Crispen T. P. de Lange]