Gunn Rita Dahle Flesjå: A solid winter of training

Ready for the Season

The success of a season of competitions depends on a good autumn and winter. High quality training and continuity is important for both Kenneth and me. A solid winter gives top motivation and self-confidence, and a good basis for top results in the upcoming season.

Three great weeks of successful training on Gran Canaria are now at an end. During the two final weeks we enjoyed the company of the Norwegian national mountain-biking team, which was very inspiring for both of us. We’ve had the opportunity to share and fine-tune our own training philosophy through various specific sessions, and it is very motivating to have the opportunity to share our insights.

Our weeks of training on Gran Canaria have focused on speed, power, technique and large motor volume in competition situations. Kenneth is constantly thinking improvements in the competition situation, as our sport demands highly specific skills.

Focused Training

For example, a typical day of training will consist of various sessions of team-tempo focused on e.g. speed. This trains both high speed, speed-changes, power on the flats, and sprints from the start to achieve a high heart rate. Other examples of specific training as part of a training week are power-pedalling with particular tasks for each motion, and sprinting, which is essential in order to match the best cyclists in the world in our sport.

Together with the boss of the national cycling team, Eddy Knudsen Storsæter, we’ve completed a two week training schedule based on one of my “typical” weeks of January training. Every single day has had a particular goal, and each session has demanded full focus on specific tasks.

Team Spirit

The concept behind this gathering was to have a joint training programme for the whole group, with adjustments for each individual regarding number of minutes training strength, the distance of intervals, the number of hours on long distance, etc. It has worked exceptionally well, and we’ve really exercised and performed as a team. Warming up and warming down have been done together, combined with the individual adjustments for power and speed. A fantastic feeling and strength in and of itself.

A complicated sport like mountain biking demands a highly trained body, and there are a great number of skills that need to be mastered if one is to achieve one’s goals internationally. The demands for technical skills in the sport have reached extreme levels over the past 5-6 years. One’s body and capacity have to be at their very best, as it’s quite normal to cross the finishing line with an average heart rate of 2-3 beats under one’s max after 90-100 minutes of racing.

One’s sprinting abilities have to be at their very best too, as the first 3-400 metres after the start are crucial for where one ends up in the queue when the single-track starts. Queues and bottlenecks arise very early in a race when 100 riders are fighting for positions before the single-track starts. A poor start usually means losing 2 minutes to the leading group after the first round (about 10-12 minutes into the race), which obviously is going to be impossible to catch up.

Supportive Family

Three weeks of warm weather has been very good for my training set-up, but it’s equally important for us that our family is well taken care of. The contribution from my mother and father, Brit and Birger, has been essential for an optimal period of training. They provide stable and valuable days for all of us, plus a whole lot of fun. The atmosphere between us is great, leading to a lot of laughter and smiles every single day. A wonderful gang, travelling together, and all contributing 100%.

It is going to be great following and working closely together with the national mountain-biking team through the seasons of 2015 and 2016. I’ve signed a new two-year contract with Multivan Merida Biking Team and am proud of that. The Olympics in Rio is now a reality, and just that is an exciting thought.
My first challenge will be a four-day stage race on Cyprus in the end of February, and I’m looking very much forward to it. An excellent foundation from the winter is a great starting point, and I feel well prepared for the new season.

I wish you all a fantastic season of cycling… enjoy life together with your two-wheeler!

Cyclist’s greetings from Gunn-Rita

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