A New Year lies ahead of us, with new challenges, opportunities and experiences. Mostly a mix of excitement and enjoyment, but also a flavour of trepidation. I live in the belief that anything is possible if one really wants it and is prepared to work hard every day to reach the goal.
After last year’s season was over, the autumn passed very quickly, as usual. Two longer trips to Asia to promote cycling and Merida made the three months before Christmas seem like only a 2-3 weeks, but with a year’s worth of experiences.
Regarding training and exercise, I’ve managed to accomplish more or less what we planned this autumn, and we feel we’re up to date regarding the work that remains before the start of this year’s season. We’ve been lucky with the weather, so we’ve had many high quality off-road sessions right up until the last week of December – a great bonus for the upcoming season.
The first snow this winter fell on Christmas Eve itself, so we got to experience a white Christmas – magical and delightful. We celebrated a very traditional Christmas at home with family and good friends, and it was fantastic. But now I feel very content to be embarking on a new training camp, and to have the opportunity to work on details and focus fully on what we feel is most important.
AN “ALMOST-THERE” SEASON OF 2014
The season of 2014 turned out to be a really good and solid season, with three top results in each of the World Cup races I took part in, and many international victories in various C1 races. Even so, I feel that 2014 was a sort-of “almost-there” season. I was one of the favourites for the gold at the European Championships in Germany, but I fell ill the week before it. I was also considered an obvious favourite on home turf at the World Championship race at Hafjell in Norway, but experienced one of the heaviest days I’ve ever had on a bicycle just when my form top for 2014 should have occurred.
So now we’re starting afresh in 2015, and I’m already looking forward to a new season. My physical shape is acceptable, but I have a lot of work ahead of me if I want a top 3 result in the first World Cup race, in the end of May. I have never achieved top shape easily, and I probably never will as long as I am a top athlete. My personal machinery requires continuous hard effort over time.
TRAINING CAMP ON GRAN CANARIA
At present, I am on the sunny island of Gran Canaria where I’ve spent many Januaries over the past years. I have my family along with me – Kenneth, Bjørnar, mother and father. In other words, I’m surrounded by everything I need to be able to perform both on and off my bike, every day. We have only been here for two days so far, but we’ve already settled down in a new rented house in the Arguineguin region, and we’ll be staying here for a total of three weeks.
In just under a week, a small group of cyclists from the Norwegian national road racing team will join us, which will be both fun and exciting. We’ll cycle together every day, with a set-up adjusted to each cyclist’s personal level, according to the training philosophy on which Kenneth and I have based our training over the past decade. No – I don’t follow the same training regime that I followed 10 years ago, as my sport has changed a lot over the past 5-6 years.
PERFECT CONDITIONS FOR TRAINING
We’re watching a movie together in our living room this evening. We’ve enjoyed some homemade Mexican food and it was delicious, as always. Our 5-year-old is sleeping after an active day both on the beach and around the harbour city of Arguineguin. We’ve had a football match in the garden and been swimming with mom in an uncomfortably cold pool next to the house. We’ve made a deal that we’re going to play football, do swimming, and do some writing and word games together every day during these weeks. Both young and old have enjoyed doing these activities together today.
Kenneth and I have had a relaxed day of training, with one hour of light jogging and a good stint of basic training for me before breakfast. Apart from that, I’ve had a good massage this afternoon, and it worked wonders as usual. Kenneth’s days will be long and demanding for these weeks, as we’ve set up quite a tough training regime, so the massage part of it is taxing on top of all the rest of it.
Tomorrow we’ll be doing long distance power-pedalling, and a more relaxing ride in the afternoon. The weather forecast is for sun and 19 degrees, so I’m simply looking forward to a wonderful day of training on my two-wheeler.
I wish you all an exciting New Year, both on and off your bicycle. If you’ve made New Year’s resolutions, remember that anything is possible as long as you really want it and work hard at it over time.
You’ll be hearing from me again before I leave for home, at which time I will share some of my plans for the build-up to the season and goals for the first races in 2015.
Cyclist’s greetings from Gunn-Rita
Multivan Merida Biking Team.