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The Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå diary

A stealthy black color

Christmas present of the year

By:
Cycling News
Published:
December 22, 2007, 0:00 GMT,
Updated:
April 22, 2009, 20:08 BST

The most incredible Christmas present is already standing gleaming in our living room. This package...

December 23, 2007

The most incredible Christmas present is already standing gleaming in our living room. This package of surprises was torn open a whole week before Christmas Eve, and inside I found the prototype for the Merida "Beijing" full suspension bike. This Christmas present will be flying along with us to Boulder, where we'll be training in a week from now.

It was on Monday evening that Kenneth came home to me with the most amazing Christmas present of all, a dazzling bicycle which will hopefully contribute to a sizzling season of 2008. I've sat on the bike, adjusted it here and there, but the fine adjustments necessary for the best possible positioning will be done with Andy Pruitt in Boulder in the beginning of January.

Kenneth's trip to Germany and Merida Europe on Monday was super-quick this time. He made a good exchange, I'd say. Norwegian chocolate in return for a mind-blowing bicycle :

New house up

Yesterday afternoon we went to the building site of our new house together with the construction manager, John, and representatives from the company building the house, KleppHus, the kitchen manufacturers (Helge from Scandinavian Kjøkken) and our own fathers, "Father" and "Dad". The house is now up, windows in place, and we got to clamber through the various levels, imagining how it's all going to be when it's finished. Next time we see the building site won't be before the beginning of March. By then most of the outside of the house will be installed, so it'll be very exciting to see it.

Precious little Yuletide stress

Apart from that, the days are passing quickly and soon it'll be Christmas again. I've got everything prepared for Christmas Eve and haven't had much stress at all this time, since we don't have a guest-list for our home this year. This Christmas we're relying on our families - we'll be guests this year. We'll just have to make it up to everybody some other time. All the presents have been bought. Kenneth has also done all his preparations and there's nothing more to worry about. I think more people should do like us.

This evening I'm leading a spinning class with a group from Shell - an enjoyable and sweaty occasion right in the middle of Christmas preparations. A break, in the form of some kind of daily physical activity, should be a natural choice for almost everybody during this final lap. It both relaxes you and gives you new energy.

Tomorrow evening I'll be visiting the hair salon at Bryne for a haircut. We'll also be doing a small round to deliver presents and goodies to family, friends and good supporters. We'll finish off the final Christmas shopping tomorrow afternoon at Coop Mega at Madla where you can buy practically anything you want of delicious and traditional Christmas food.

We're really looking forward to lots of fun with our closest family, plus delicious food and wonderful training trips. Yummy food always tastes best when you're hungry, and you don't get properly hungry before you've been out and actually used your body physically. Use these days of holiday to their fullest potential - decide on a specific time and date for that mountain hike that you normally just go around dreaming about. A holiday season like Christmas should primarily leave us rested and revived, and should fill us with positive energy and happiness.

Kenneth and I wish you all a wonderful and physically active Christmas. You'll hear from us again in the New Year, at which time we'll be on the other side of the globe!

Christmas hugs from Gunn-Rita
Multivan Merida Biking Team
www.gunnrita.com

Translation by Crispen T.P. de Lange

Focus on training and resting

By:
Cycling News
Published:
December 11, 2007, 0:00 GMT,
Updated:
April 21, 2009, 11:59 BST

These days I'm focusing on doing as little as possible which isn't directly related to training,...

December 11, 2007

These days I'm focusing on doing as little as possible which isn't directly related to training, restitution and recovery. We finished off Christmas present shopping in one afternoon, but Christmas cooking and baking will have to wait until Christmas of 2008. It feels very good to be back into the routine of training again, completing the days of training exactly as we want them to be.

It's Friday afternoon already and the weekend is almost here. Some of us are looking forward to some days of relaxation, while others have to work, and some are looking forward to long bike-rides and maybe a hike in the mountains, on both Saturday and Sunday. Last weekend Kenneth asked me an unusual question. We were sitting in the car on our way home from a particularly rainy hike in the mountains. He asked me how I would have spent a Saturday if I had a normal job and was free each weekend. Shopping at the local mall?

I had to think a bit, trying to imagine a weekend without long distance cycle rides or dramatic hiking in wild nature. I ended up concluding that we will definitely continue to fill our weekends with the same things as now, also when we put our days of professional cycling behind us some day…after 2012. A trip out in the weekend fills you up with energy, it makes you feel great, it gives you extra oomph, and it's a good source of recreation.

This and that

These past weeks have naturally also included other activities than just hard exercise. I'll start by telling about what I remember best.

On Wednesday I went out to a restaurant for a meal with my mother and sister. We did a bit of shopping, especially my mother, and we had a delicious meal of Italian pizza (in Stavanger). Time always flies when we three are together, and I always relive the experiences and enjoy the memories for a long time after.

Last weekend we were at a pre-Christmas party for Team Gunn-Rita together with our parents and our manager, Roar, and his partner Gretha. First we went to Rogaland Theatre to see a comedy show, Makta på Straen, with Sally. It was very well acted and we got to brush up on some of the typical colloquial Stavanger expressions.

After that we had a good meal out at one of the best restaurants in town. Kenneth and I didn't stay up late, but the 'grown-ups' kept it going for a few hours after we left. We were due for a long distance cycle ride on Sunday morning so we needed a good night's sleep.

Merida Switzerland/Lugano

Two weeks ago I travelled to Lugano in order to visit Bellimport/Merida Switzerland where several of the dealers were gathered. We had two evenings of enjoyable meals and a fantastic long distance ride around the lake at Lugano. Sunshine, blue skies and 14 degrees above zero - perfect for many hours riding. We had our lunch at a typical Italian restaurant where we were served Pasta Marinara, naturally al dente so I ate a lot. It was a bit uncomfortable getting onto the bike again to pedal for an hour back to the hotel…but totally worth it for the lovely trip and the delicious food.

Beijing meeting

The week before Switzerland we both went to a gathering at Fornebu in Oslo, Norway about Beijing and we spent some enjoyable hours together with likeminded people. We enjoyed the inspiration and exchanging experiences on many different levels. There is a lot of talk about the Olympics wherever you go these days. Kenneth and I aren't thinking too much about Beijing yet. It's a long way off and we have a lot to accomplish before that happens.

Our house

The process of building our new house is well under way now. I haven't been at the building site for the past few weeks, but I know that they've started with the actual wooden construction of the house, after having laid the foundation and cellar floors. It's been difficult to imagine it in comparison to the neighbouring houses, the surroundings, various sizes and shapes. Now we're finally getting at least a certain feeling of how it's going to be.

Your training schedule?

I certainly hope that some of you took my challenge last time seriously, made a training schedule for yourself, and have started training. We're going to work together on this, you and me, for the next year, you know. It still isn't too late to start! Get going before the Christmas stress takes over and steals all your time and energy. Remember that if you're going to manage, you have to insert the exercise firmly into your week's plan with a definite time, place and activity.

Tomorrow we're going out for a long distance ride on bikes, and on Sunday we're off for a mountain hike. We'll have a few fit people from Shell along with us on Sunday, so it's guaranteed to be a fun trip with lots of friendly chatting. I wish you all a good and energetic weekend. You'll hear from us again before the Christmas bells are ringing and we start packing our suitcases for out trip to Boulder in Colorado.

Cyclist's greetings from Gunn-Rita and Kenneth
Multivan Merida Biking Team
www.gunnrita.com

Translation by Crispen T.P. de Lange

Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå

Great to be alive

By:
Cycling News
Published:
November 14, 2007, 0:00 GMT,
Updated:
April 22, 2009, 20:07 BST

The weather-gods here on the west coast of Norway have been downright energetic this last week....

Norway, November 15, 2007

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
Multivan Merida Biking Team
www.gunnrita.com

Translation by Crispen T.P. de Lange

Effective training at home

By:
Cycling News
Published:
October 16, 2007, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 21, 2009, 11:59 BST

At present the doses of exercise aren't all that big, but it certainly is wonderful to be on the...

Norway, October 17, 2007

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.

Great experiences

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
Multivan Merida Biking Team
www.gunnrita.com

Translation by Crispen T.P. de Lange

Activities other than Worlds

By:
Cycling News
Published:
September 15, 2007, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 21, 2009, 11:59 BST

In a good week from now the UCI World Mountain Bike Championships will take place in Fort William,...

Stavanger, Norway, August 30, 2007

In a good week from now the UCI World Mountain Bike Championships will take place in Fort William, Scotland. I, however, am leaving for a fishing holiday at the cabin. Together with a few others, we'll be barbecuing freshly caught fish, and this year I won't be packing my system with carbs in the form of pasta during the last days before the World Championships.

We've had two active and exciting weeks here at home in Norway after our "holiday" in Italy last month. There's more than enough to keep us busy, even though we're not doing a full training schedule yet. With all the requests and invitations that come every single day, I could easily fill up my Filofax right until Christmas, and then some.

The Shell Race

We came home just in time to take part in the Shell Race here in the Stavanger region. The route followed the cycling paths around Hafrsfjord between four Shell petrol stations, the same as in previous years. Thanks to good help from the Sola Cycling Club and Sola Handball Club, all participants received food and drink at the various "pit-stops" and could take part in fun activities for all age groups.

Kenneth and I parked our car at the Shell station at Madla and were ready to meet cycling enthusiasts from 10:00 am and onward Sunday morning. Somewhat cold and uncomfortable weather probably kept a few cyclists at home, but those who came were able to do a few rounds in good company and enjoyed the family race.

At our station we had ball-throwing and rope-skipping, and I really felt it in my legs the next day! I haven't jumped rope for at least 15 years, so I got really enthusiastic and jumped for more than four hours. Luckily I had a few breaks in between, but I ended up with a really strange gait the following days.

We had a lot of fun with the skipping ropes, because there were quite a few adults who hadn't tried it for many years. But most of them had obviously not forgotten the art completely, and we managed to get all the participants in on the games. I really hope that the Shell Race will continue to be an annual happening in years to come, with a view to possibly making it even larger.

Last week was used for tidying our house, gardening, helping to move house together with Frode and Siri at Bryne on one of the days, plus an evening together with my parents at Bjørheimsbygd. We ate barbecued fish, although we hadn't fished it ourselves this time. I tried my luck with the fishing rod on the lake in front of my parents' house, Svartatjydnå, but there was nothing to be had. I guess the lack of wind and hot weather (30 degrees) will have to take the blame.

The Birkebeiner Race

I really enjoyed taking part in the Birkebeiner race this year, even though I wasn't on a bike this time. I was actually on a two-wheeler this time too, only it had an engine between the wheels, and I was a reporter for NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Company). I really felt my legs twitch when the women's elite class took off at 9:00 a.m. I was standing right next to the starting line and felt myself sort of sucked along as the pistol went off. I couldn't help doing a few uncontrolled jumps and getting goose-bumps all over my body.

Even so, I had a great trip over the mountain and was able to see the race from a completely different angle than I have done previously. Just about everybody agrees that the race is totally professional. The people working to make it all happen have become very good at it and there are very few things to complain about. The best thing about the whole Birkebeiner Race is probably the incredible atmosphere at both Rena, along the tracks, and at the finish line at Lillehammer. Absolutely everybody who is part of the Birkebeiner Race, either as a cyclist or helping out in some or other way, gets a really great weekend.

I was able to run up the first hill in the woods, where most cyclists have to get off their bikes since it quickly gets packed with bikes here. The first groups, plus the elite class, manage to cycle straight up, but there's more space for them on the track. The climb is quite tough for many of the competitors, and the lactic acid really builds up quickly on such a steep incline when one has to push the bike up. Even so, there was no lack of witty and funny comments amongst the participants and spectators.

My father, Birger, took part in the race and made sure that he had a buddy to pace him this time, so he managed to set a new personal record over the mountain. The few times I passed them on the track, my father was stuck like glue to Kenneth's rear wheel. He was encouraged and given advice along the way, and probably pushed himself harder than usual, as he was forced to take a break at the bottom of the "Rosinbakken" climb. The widespread "cramping syndrome," which apparently is very usual at the Birkebeiner Race, also made an attack on my father for the first time. After a packet of raisins and a short walk, he was back on his bike again and managed to ascend "Rosinbakken" without problems.

My sister, May-Peggy, took part for the first time this year and did very well. She was rather stiff and tired towards the end, but not bad enough to keep her from already having decided to take part again next year. My mother completed the race in a little over six hours (in jogging shoes - very good). My cousin, Ove, also impressed me and almost managed to keep up with Kenneth and my father right to the finish line. My brother-in-law (my sister's partner), had problems with cramping and didn't manage his goal of beating my father this year. I expect there'll be a tough attempt at revenge next year!

We've heard that there'll be an even larger contingent of my relatives racing next year, so we have a lot to look forward to. I expect that most people who took part in the Birkebeiner Race last weekend have reminisced and laughed at everything that happened. It's a wonderful thing to sense the eagerness and enthusiasm that surrounds cycling, and we can help spread this to even more people around us.

At present I'm in Stavanger, enjoying some nice weather at home. The weather has become a good deal colder, but the sun is shining today, so that means that the lawn should be mowed this evening. I'm going for a spin on my rollers soon, rounded up with a good massage. This afternoon I'm popping into a shop called Lyst to check out the new autumn products from the Norwegian brands Lyst and Mikko. Before dinner I'm going to have a longed-for facial treatment from Elisabeth at Eliksir (skin and body therapy) and I'm really looking forward to that.

Tomorrow I leave for Zurich where I'll be fetched by Team Merida and transported to the huge cycling expo, Eurobike, which brings the world's entire bike industry to Friedrichshafen this weekend. We'll have three action packed days from morning till night together with the team, sponsors, Merida dealers from the whole world, and the bosses from Taiwan.

It would naturally be best if I was in top shape and could take part in the World Championships right now, but there is no doubt that I'll have plenty more opportunities in the next five to six years, and I'm looking forward. Instead of travelling to Scotland, we'll be going to the cabin to do some fishing next weekend. My chances of winning are greatly increased with only one other competitor at the starting line. Kenneth apparently has somewhat better equipment than me, but I have a little more luck:

Cycling hugs from Gunn-Rita and Kenneth
Multivan Merida Biking Team
www.gunnrita.com

Translation by Crispen T.P. de Lange

Wonderful days gone fishing

By:
Cycling News
Published:
September 15, 2007, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 21, 2009, 11:59 BST

We caught a big load of fish this weekend, and Kenneth was the clear winner in terms of quantity....

Norway, September 16, 2007

We caught a big load of fish this weekend, and Kenneth was the clear winner in terms of quantity. This evening, however, it's time for revenge here on the ocean outside Stavanger. Fishing with rods from the rowing boat has provided us with valuable time off, in between all the training.

We had a slow-paced and relaxing weekend at the family cabin in Jøsenfjorden (Suldal) where we had plenty of time to fish. After our first training stint on Saturday morning, Kenneth disappeared down to the sea and stayed there for the rest of the day. I wasn't able to join him until after a ride later in the afternoon, and by then Kenneth had managed to catch more than 15 fish. Most of them were large, fat pollacks, but he had also managed to catch a few mackerels and a horrific-looking wrasse.

On Sunday morning we awoke to cloudy weather, but with glimpses of blue sky, 13 degrees and an incredible quietness. The fjord lay like a mirror, not a breath of wind, so the only thing to do was to jump into our clothes and get out into the boat. It's only a little rowing boat with two oars, nothing fancy, but then and there it really felt luxurious. No racket from cars, completely calm water, no two-legged individuals for many miles, fresh sea air, a couple of seagulls gliding around, and wild mountains on either side of the boat.

We caught a lot of fish. Kenneth used his fishing rod and I used another fishing tool called a "harp". We mostly caught large and beautiful pollacks, but also some mackerel, plus a strange little bright red fish which seemed to be completely worn out when we got it into the boat. We showed mercy this time and let it go again. One fish ended up as dinner for our two flying friends in the air. A wonderful day on the sea, balsam for body and soul.

Birthday boy

On Sunday afternoon we went back to Stavanger, where I had prepared a small surprise for Kenneth. He was having his birthday on Monday, so I had invited the whole family and good friends over to Restaurant Mexico in Stavanger on Sunday evening. Kenneth didn't suspect a thing and was really caught off his guard. It was great meeting up with the family and our dear friends again - a fantastic group which always backs us up no matter where we are in the world. Next year we'll definitely have a huge party, as Kenneth is turning 30 then.

Eurobike

Last weekend I visited the Eurobike expo in Friedrichshafen, attended by many thousands during the four days that the expo lasts. On Friday evening we had a huge dinner together with all the Merida dealers in Europe, just as we've done in previous years.

I guess there were around 70 guests at the dinner, and I really enjoyed meeting all of them again. I unfortunately managed to catch a cold just before leaving, so I wasn't feeling too good and didn't have much of a voice. But even so I got to experience the great enthusiasm and optimism which is very present in the Merida family the world over, as all our dealers are doing particularly well these days.

I also got to meet my team-mates on this evening in Friedrichshafen: Ralph Näf from Switzerland, and Jose Hermida from Spain. They were totally fit for fight and ready for the World Championships. Ralph won an impressive silver medal on Saturday in Fort William, Scotland, and was naturally very happy with that result... all done on the most radical full suspension bike in the world.

Apart from that, it was great to get going on some systematic training again. We're going to be using September and October to gradually increase intensity levels, adjusting output daily. We're hoping for a well-balanced progression during these two months so we're ready to start our usual winter training program from November 1 onward.

Our days here at home pass very quickly and we have more than enough to keep us busy. We've travelled a bit back and forth to Oslo during the past two weeks, and there'll be a few more of these trips through the autumn. Various appointments and activities for sponsors are very usual at this time of year, so they're already in place in our autumn schedule.

This coming weekend we're going to Oslo to take part in the Nordspo on Bike Expo, which is to take place at Tryvannskleiva on the September 15 and 16. On Friday we'll take part in a kick-off evening at Røa with Stians Sport, where next year's selection of bikes and equipement will be presented in a somewhat informal atmosphere, accompanied by food and music. It's guaranteed to be a really enjoyable evening together with many different types of cycle enthusiasts.

Next fishing trip

This evening we're going out to try our luck fishing again, and I'm very set on revenge this time. Sure enough, Kenneth did catch a few more fish than me this last weekend, but now I get another chance. We have a couple of friends, Brit and Thorbjørn, who have invited us out in their boat which is now waiting in the water at Roalsøy where they live. First we'll fish a bit on the fjord, and then we'll stop to barbecue on Langøy (probably a very quick stop) and then more fishing.

Next week we're off to Beijing to test the Olympic track and do a bit more preparation at the pre-camp in Jixian. We're guaranteed some exciting and instructive days there. The first weekend in Beijing we've been invited out to a delicious dinner together with the Merida boss in China, Simon, and some of his colleagues, so that'll be a great evening and a happy reunion for us.

Now I have to fetch all my warmest hiking clothes and good shoes, and then pack the cool-bag with food. Kenneth's responsibility is to bring the fishing tackle. I wish you all a good week of exercise, and always remember to take time for relaxation surrounded by beautiful nature and quietness

Cycling hugs from Gunn-Rita and Kenneth
Multivan Merida Biking Team
www.gunnrita.com

Translation by Crispen T.P. de Lange

Author
The Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå diary

Norwegian cross-country mountain bike racer Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå made an impressive comeback last year after sitting out much of the previous season due to illness. In 2008, she won the Madrid, Spain, round of the UCI World Cup and the UCI Marathon World Championships and finished 12th in the World Cup final standings.

Dahle Flesjå will take on a new challenge in 2009 when she gives birth to her first child, expected in late March. With the support of her husband Kenneth Flesjå and her family, she aims to return to competition within a few months after becoming a mother.

Don't count her out for the late season World Cups and World Championships races. She was World Champion in 2002, 2004, 2005, and 2006, plus Olympic champion in 2004. In 2003 to 2006, she dominated the sport, winning the World Cup overall.

Follow her exploits in 2009 on Cyclingnews as she takes on a new, joint role as mother and elite racer. Or, for more Gunn-Rita, see her personal website: www.gunnrita.com