Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå diary: Home to deep winter

The conclusion to our fantastic stay in South Africa was a four hour relaxed long-distance ride...

The conclusion to our fantastic stay in South Africa was a four hour relaxed long-distance ride under sunny blue skies with a good 30 degrees centigrade. Now "King Winter" awaits us back home in Norway, meaning indoor training for a week.

The long flight from Johannesburg to London is completed. I'm sitting here in the lounge, waiting for our flight back to Stavanger. It's amazing to think that we've already been gone for a full four weeks. A whole lot of good work has been accomplished, both on and off the bikes. It's going to be a cold experience coming home to Norway again.

It's not easy to come by fantastic conditions for exercising at high altitudes in January, and also with good temperatures for a cyclist - especially for those wanting to avoid jetlag. We've been living for a month in the town of Dullstroom, just outside of Johannesburg, and it's turned out to be the perfect place for us mountain bikers. We've stayed at 2,000 metres above sea level, and most of our training has been done at altitudes of between 1,700 and 2,100 metres.

We had a couple of cold and uncomfortable days when we arrived in Dullstroom, but since January 1, we haven't had any rain when out cycling. We've had a few afternoon showers with thunder and lightning, but that's quite normal in large areas of South Africa. The rain and bad weather comes quickly and then disappears after a couple of hours. It's not like at home where heavy, rain-filled clouds just settle in and lie there, passively, right above the roofs, for weeks and weeks.

It's full of dirt tracks and roads around Dullstroom and Belfast. There aren't that many paved roads apart from the main roads between towns. That was perfect for us, as we thereby avoided all the heavy traffic and had only the surrounding nature as inspiration during our fantastic exercise stints. Of course, we had to keep our senses keen, to avoid the audience of snakes, monkeys, cows, and ostriches which were to be found both on and along the sides of the tracks.

Read the complete entry or another recent entry describing Gunn-Rita's training adventures in Africa.

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