Gala ball at Castle

April 5, 2008

It was wonderful taking part in this year's presentation of the Gunn-Rita Marathon, which took place in a 1000-year-old castle here in the Treviso province. The nearly-300 invited guests were served tasty food and wine, plus exciting history, a bit of politics and naturally a whole lot about mountain biking. The awe-inspiring atmosphere in the castle added an extra star to the "castle gala" experience this evening.

It was on Wednesday evening last week that the presentation of this year's Gunn-Rita Marathon took place. The actual Count wished all the guests welcome to the beautiful old castle, Castello San Salvatore. Politicians, sponsors, the press, cyclists and, of course, the organization behind the race – Pedali di Marca ( – were all gathered for an exciting evening with a lot of delicious food on the menu.

I wrote a few lines about the Gunn-Rita Marathon last week, so I won't repeat myself here. But I have to tell a bit about the amazing séance Kenneth and I took part in at the castle. Firstly, it's a great honour to have a large race named after oneself, especially when one gets to experience the enthusiasm and enjoyment of cycling, which is evident among the people in the club Pedali di Marca. There was a whole lot of honour and glory directed towards me through the evening, and I was even given a very special painting at the end of the gathering. But the greatest thing for me is being able to share my enthusiasm about cycling with so many others.

The so-called Veneto Cup, Coppa Veneto Zerowind, of which Gunn-Rita Marathon is a part, includes a total of twelve Marathon races through the summer, each with its own special features. We're talking enjoyment, experience and the excitement which comes from cycling in challenging and beautiful nature, whether one exercises once a week or ten times. Kenneth has taken various pictures from the evening of presentation, which are to be found on our home page

Next stop: Nals

I could have taken part in another road race with my team, Safi Pasta Zara Manhattan, this weekend, but we decided to rather do specific intervals. I've managed to recover really well after last Monday's World Cup race in Cittiglio, but it would probably be too demanding for me to race again this weekend. The coming five weekends will also be spent doing tough off-road races, so this is our only weekend to do adjustments before this important period starts.

We've been living here at the hotel in Maser, Melo in Fiore, just outside Montebelluna, for a total of three weeks and we've had a great time. If you're headed towards this area, we can warmly recommend this hotel, both regarding comfort, service and cuisine. Tomorrow we're driving north, to Nals, just outside Bolzano, where we'll be living for the coming week. On Sunday we'll do the first off-road race of the season and it's guaranteed to be exciting and fun.

I wish you all good health and an energetic week. We've really had the opportunity to experience the spring where we're staying, so today I think we met about half the inhabitants in the area, all of them out on their bicycles. Here, people use and enjoy their bicycles, no matter what size, shape or age they are. It's just to get out there and start pedalling.

Cyclist's greetings from Gunn-Rita and Kenneth
Multivan Merida Biking Team

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Norwegian cross-country mountain bike racer Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå is probably the best female rider this relatively young branch of the sport has ever seen. World champion in 2002, 2004, 2005, and 2006, plus Olympic champion in 2004, and rarely beaten in her reign as World Cup champion from 2003 - 2006, she has a breathtaking palmares. Unfortunately, Dahle Flesjå was sidelined for most of the 2007 season with a virus that left her with little strength and on a program of complete rest and recovery. With the constant support of husband and coach Kenneth Flesjå, she has been working her way steadily back to health - just in time to pursue her goals at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Follow her exploits on Cyclingnews as she works to regain her form and position at the top of women's mountain biking in 2008. Or, for more Gunn-Rita, see her personal website: