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On top of the world: The Gunn-Rita Dahle FlesjŚ diary 2007
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 last year as well, plus Olympic champion in 2004, and rarely beaten in her reign as World Cup champion from 2003 - 2006, she has a breathtaking 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 continues her bid to stay number one in 2007. Or, for more Gunn-Rita, see her personal website: www.gunnrita.com
Norway, October 17, 2007
Effective training at home
At present the doses of exercise aren't all that big, but it certainly is wonderful to be on the move again. Next to the exercise, there's been a moderate amount of responsibilities for my sponsors, and some time spent working on the new building project for our new house, which has just commenced.
Most of my competitors on bikes are looking forward to a short month of holiday after a long and action-packed season for most. I've had four months of holiday and that should be enough for a long way into the future. It's simply fantastic having a concrete training schedule for every day in the coming weeks.
I've taken a few new tests these past two weeks and all of them indicate that my poor body is in good order again. Even so, I've been warned in no uncertain terms to take it easy these first weeks and "hurry slowly", as it usually takes a long time to re-establish the balance in one's digestive system and normal digestion after the sort of ordeal I've been through.
Low energy level
I've had a very low energy level, both in my body and mind, through the past two months. Even so, lots of things have been happening during the past fortnight, and I actually feel like a new person! There's a world of difference between being tired, and having a low energy level. A simplified example of these two conditions would be that when one's tired one still feels like doing things, whereas when one's energy levels are low, one can't even bear the thought of doing anything strenuous.
Finding the enthusiasm and the will to do lots of activities and exercise is going to be a small challenge for both of us for a while. I have to listen carefully and be more attentive, more than ever before, listening to how my body reacts to exercise and other activities. Kenneth's role is to restrict me when necessary, and to ask the correct questions of me.
It's naturally important for us to keep things relatively slow now, both regarding training and our total energy output every week. Good planning and 100% concentration will be very important up towards Christmas. Moreover, we need to be prepared to make fine adjustments so that every day is as effective as possible regarding our goals for the winter months.
As some of you already are aware, the building of our new house with the company KleppHus has now started. It all seems rather unreal to us to be building our very own house, and we feel very privileged. We've already had many meetings and expect that the main portion of our involvement will be over in two weeks from now. By that, I mean that most things will have been chosen and decided regarding colours, tiles, restroom and kitchen, flooring, doors, etc.
There are amazingly many things to be decided when building a brand new house. We're rather eager to finish up "our contribution", as we would rather spend all our time on training and everything this involves from the beginning of November. KleppHus will take care of the rest: I'll have an update ready for you on my KleppHus link on the home page during this coming week.
Apart from that we've experienced a lot outside of the cycling world. Last weekend we were at Euro Disney in Paris together with Kenneth's youngest siblings, Henriette (11) and Nicolas (9), and we had at least as much fun as the kids. Two whole days, full speed all the time, from early morning till bed time (21:00), surrounded by lots of noise, food for both eyes and ears, plus bucket-loads of adrenaline on the various roller-coasters. We simply had to do some of them several times and I really got to test out my own voice at full volume. They say it's healthy to really sing loud in the shower, but it simply can't be beat by a wild ride on a roller-coaster!
On Tuesday and Wednesday last week I was in Orkanger and Kristiansund quite far north in Norway, working for my sponsor Coop. I had lectures and manned a stand in a shop for them. The week before that, we were in Oslo and both attended various meetings.
This week we'll be staying home here in Stavanger, with the main ingredient being training. I'm to meet with the tile and flooring companies tomorrow. On Tuesday we're doing running intervals, a physically demanding experience, so we try to avoid any other appointments on such days.
On Wednesday we'll be having an exciting meeting with Shell, and on Thursday we're promoting Stavanger as one of the European Capitals of Culture in 2008 in a popular magazine. And then on Saturday it's Sola Open. I won't be taking part this year but will be present to meet the young and promising cyclists taking part in this annual mountain bike race staged by Sola Cycle Club.
I have to hurry up, as we're going to the movies this evening together with my sister, May-Peggy, and her partner Espen. We're going to see the Disney film Ratatouille, and I think it's going to be cracking good. You'll hear from us again in a couple of weeks. I wish you all a good week of exercising, and remember that healthy food every day is good for both your body and mind.
Cycling hugs from Gunn-Rita and Kenneth
Translation by Crispen T.P. de Lange