From a gold medal in the European Championships to a podium finish and a puncture in the World Cup, we've chosen Livigno in Italy as the base for our Olympic preparations. It is now five weeks until my race starts in London.
We're here in Livigno, where we'll be having three weeks of high altitude training before the World Cup final in Val d'Isere on Saturday, July 28. This coming Sunday, I'm taking part in a BMC Racing Cup race in Davos, where many of the very best girls are guaranteed to be lined up with me at the start. It is now that a finely balanced jigsaw puzzle has to be laid in order to have that "super-day" in London, five weeks from now. I'm lucky to have a coach with extensive and long experience in that area.
The past weeks have been intense in many ways. Once again becoming European champion in Moscow was a powerful experience. Kenneth and I were totally run down when we returned from that trip - lots of new impressions, a whole lot of chaos, and the extra kick of having won gold again, plus that we both got sick a few days before the actual championship. I was given a three-day antibiotic cure when I got home again so the cold wouldn't be able to entrench itself in my sinuses and ears.
The few days at home in Sandnes were pretty demanding actually, since Bjørnar had also gotten ill. An awful lot of jobs have to be done when one is at home for once, and it was all pretty demanding since my health wasn't as it should be either. We were more or less on our feet again when it was time for a new departure (one week after the European Championship gold) to Canada and a new World Cup in Mont Sainte Anne. I came in number five a short week after arrival in Canada and was pleased with the result, based on what we had been through.
In Windham, New York at the World Cup in the USA, the weekend after, I was about to take a fourth place, but managed to puncture on the final descent down to the finish line and ended up number seven. I felt better in my body than in Canada and a thumbs-up for the race itself, even though the results weren't as expected.
Well-functioning Multivan Merida Team
The Multivan Merida team has functioned very well during our trip to Canada and the US, but not without ups and downs along the way. Jose Hermida sprinted for victory at Mont Sainte Anne and lost by a short bike length over the finish line. In Windham, Ralph Näf fell off his bike during training the day before the race and was not able to take part in the race.
I punctured before a clear podium finish, and Jose Hermida lost his pedal during his second round and had his whole race ruined. There are very small margins in our sport and a lot can happen in a short space of time.
Good days In Livigno
A long day by car from Windham to Montreal, a night flight back to Zürich, then an extra day at the airport in Zürich (Bjørnar and mother were left sitting for a whole day in Oslo because of technical problems with their plane) was all pretty tough for us, and we've been quite tired during this first week here in Livigno. Even so, we're enjoying ourselves and having great days of training together with mother and Bjørnar. We've had reasonably good weather during these first days up here, and we're looking forward to two more weeks of wonderful food, fantastic nature and great training on the bikes.
On Friday, we had a special visit up here and I got to try cycling with a dress on for the first time. I expect the results of that stunt will be published not too long from now. Apart from that, I know that these three weeks at high altitude will pass very quickly, and after that, it's go-go-go until we arrive in London five days before my race day on August 11. So it's all about quality restitution and enjoying the quietude that we come here to Livigno to enjoy while training.
I wish you all great days of training and exercise, and an active summer holiday together with friends and family. Do things that you would otherwise only dream about doing in a busy and stressful working day situation.
Cyclist's greetings from Gunn-Rita
Multivan Merida Biking Team
[Translation: Crispen T. P. de Lange]