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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, November 15, 2007
Great to be alive
The weather-gods here on the west coast of Norway have been downright energetic this last week. Violent winds and hail storms during my outdoor training stints have been most invigorating. Simply put: this is living!
Our exercise has been effective this week, and regarding November as a whole, the training has been varied and good. My bike ride on Friday afternoon lasted for close to two hours and was a true battle, fought against wild winds and stinging hail. After almost five months away from cycling, I won't be complaining at all about the weather this winter! It's just fantastic to feel my body alive again, with boiling adrenaline, muscles pumping, and my cheeks glowing.
Get going now!
After having exercised, when the warm shower is finished and one is sitting in one's easy chair, one continues to enjoy the rush that exercise gives for many hours more. This very enjoyable feeling is important to remember for those of you who find it difficult to get out of that easy chair and get going on physical activity. Now you can join me! I've just started up a training program and it feels like I'm starting right back at square one.
Goals - Plans - Willpower
First of all, you need to define a clear goal for yourself. Then it's important to lay solid and detailed plans for how to reach that goal. On top of this, it's necessary to have a strong willpower which wants to accomplish a lot every day. It's certainly no excuse to say that Christmas is coming up, and that it'll be a lot easier to start up exercise after the binge season is over. That's nothing but rubbish!
Start today, together with me! Christmas will be at least as enjoyable with a fit body and clear mind, and one eats enough good food no matter what. I believe one will enjoy the festive season and cosy family get-togethers even more if one has a little more oomph. This is your chance. Let's do an evaluation of our progress in the autumn of 2008 .
A bit of this and a bit of that
It's Monday evening here in our little living room at Tjensvoll, outside Stavanger. Several glowing candles provide comfort in this dark winter season. I've had an exercise-free day today, and as luck would have it, the sky was blue - the kind of day that would be fantastic for a mountain hike surrounded by autumn colours as far as the eye can see. My dream never materialized today, but they've promised the same kind of weather tomorrow, so then we'll be going out on our Merida bikes for two hours, which will be lovely.
Apart from that, the past weeks have been full of various activities. We've had a few different jobs to do for our sponsors, and a few meetings with the contractors building our new house. We actually had our final meeting with the electric company today, so after this we're leaving the helm to our manager, Roar.
Our winter training programme and preparations for next season are under way now, so we want to use all our time and energy to focus on that. We know that the building project is in good hands and that the house is guaranteed to be a masterpiece. We won't be moving in before the end of September next year. It'll be a fantastic surprise to come home to a new house after the end of an exciting cycling season.
On Wednesday I'm leaving for Bardufoss in the north of Norway, so I'm really going to get a taste of King Winter there. I'll be visiting the customers at a local Coop Mega food shop, and having a lecture for both young and old about exercise, health and nutrition. That'll be on Thursday afternoon, after which we'll hopefully sell lots of Merida bikes at a Sport 1 shop at the Domus shopping mall in the centre of Bardufoss. It'll doubtlessly be an exciting and challenging day in every way.
Next week we're both going to a Beijing gathering in Oslo to meet all the Norwegian competitors going to the Olympics in Beijing next summer. The programme for those two days will include lots for both body and mind. Next Saturday I'm flying southwards to meet up with Merida dealers in Switzerland. The headquarters are in Lugano, so we'll have two wonderful days in that beautiful city on the border to Italy.
Apart from that, we're looking forward to some relaxed days at home, exercising and taking good care of each other. We'll probably have a couple of trips to the cinema, and a dinner or two together with family and friends. But our main priority is to rest and then rest some more. I can't exactly rest my body into top shape again, but it's still a very important component in building up my fitness in preparation for next season.
Good luck with our "getting into shape" project which we've now started together. I'm convinced that this is going to be a success!
PS: I'm including some beautiful autumn pictures, from the town of Stavanger, where I live, taken by journalist and photographer Alexander Farnsworth.
Cycling hugs from Gunn-Rita and Kenneth
Translation by Crispen T.P. de Lange
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Alexander Farnsworth