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A fit New Year

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An interesting visitor makes an appearance on Christmas eve

An interesting visitor makes an appearance on Christmas eve (Image credit: Gunn Rita Dahle Flesjå)
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Bjornar was excited to open Christmas gifts

Bjornar was excited to open Christmas gifts (Image credit: Gunn Rita Dahle Flesjå)
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There is plenty of snow in Norway which means it's time to go to Gran Canaria to train.

There is plenty of snow in Norway which means it's time to go to Gran Canaria to train. (Image credit: Gunn Rita Dahle Flesjå)
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Christmas decorations

Christmas decorations (Image credit: Gunn Rita Dahle Flesjå)

A presumably exciting and action packed year lies ahead of us. Some of us start the year with one or more New Year's resolutions, while others continue their efforts to reach goals they set long ago. I am one of those who see January 1 as a fresh start.

I started the New Year with sun and warmth on Spanish soil. My new address for the next four weeks is the Tauro valley on Gran Canaria. We've had a lot of "weather" at home during the month of December, with torrential of rain, enormous amounts of snow, and at times storms, so it felt good to escape from the cold and winter.

Important training period

I am really glad that the World Cup season starts two months later than last year, in the middle of May instead of March in 2012, as I'm two months behind our usual schedule for the start of the foundational training period. Two trips to Asia and some periods of sickness have had their impact, so that I'm not quite where I should be as of yet. Now I'm aiming for four good weeks of training here in the warmth. It'll only be us three during the first week, but on Saturday we'll be a full "team" again, as my mother and father will be arriving here and will stay with us for the final three weeks.

This period of training will consist of volume, power and intervals, but with most focus on quality over quantity. I haven't started my interval training at all, yet. Usually I'll start with running intervals beginning on November 1 and continue with this each week until the start of January. Then it's over to bicycle intervals from January until the start of the season. But this time it'll be running intervals for this and next month. In a way, we're treating this period as if it was November and December, except for hiking which will be replaced with long distance and relaxed bicycle rides in the mountains.

I really enjoy myself here on Gran Canaria, both regarding the stable weather and the possibilities for power training and intervals off road. It's somewhat restricted when it comes to flat terrain cycling, but it's no problem riding a few trips back and forth along the valley that lies up from the town of Arguineguin. We're planning a trip into the mountains on Sunday, which will be our first proper long distance trip since we finished last season with the World Championships Marathon in France in the first weekend of October.

Lovely Christmas celebration at home

Christmas and all the preparations beforehand have been busy and full of fun this year, as is the case for most people, but most of all lots of enjoyment and happy times. With a small child in the house, Christmas becomes a bit more "old fashioned," the way one remembers it from one's own childhood, and I really enjoy it. I love decorating the house for Christmas, all the strong colours, lots of light and good smells, delicious food and happy times together, both early and late.

We celebrated Christmas at our house, which is usually celebrated on the 24th of December in Norway, and we served turkey and everything else that belongs in a Christmas meal. Apart from that, we didn't really travel much at all, as Bjørnar spent almost a whole week with high fever and restricted breathing. Luckily, he recovered somewhat on Christmas Eve. Whether this recovery had something to do with his having waited for a whole year to meet Father Christmas, I do not know, but Father Christmas received a very warm welcome and Bjørnar got pretty well everything he had hoped for - not least the Playmobil Ghost Ship.

Exciting days at home

Apart from all that, our weeks at home before Christmas have been spent on various sponsor activities, deliberations with Merida, and meetings with new potential sponsors. I envision two more seasons at the very top, but in order for that to happen, the foundation has to be in place before the detailed plans are laid and priorities made regarding goals. The greatest goal for me during the coming two seasons is without a doubt to win a new world championship jersey. We're heading into a very exciting season of 2013, with World Cup races, the European and world championships, and the World Cup finals at Hafjell on September 14.

I wish all my cycling friends the world over a fit and fantastic New Year. Thank you to everyone who has contributed, supported, and followed me through the season of 2012. For dreams to come true, New Year's resolutions to be achieved, and goals to be reached in 2013, one's own efforts are essential and the most important element. Good health is a great foundation for all one's efforts and aspirations.

Cyclist's greetings from Gunn-Rita
Multivan Merida Biking Team
[Translation: Crispen T.P. de Lange]

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