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Demanding day at Offenburg

Former World Champion Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan-Merida)

Former World Champion Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan-Merida) (Image credit: Enrico Andrini)

This third race in the World Cup at Offenburg was no easy experience for me. Despite starting as number 13, I was hoping for a better result, considering how I've been feeling this past week. I ended up number 29 and that is simply not good enough.

I've been sick a lot this last month, and this has naturally had its effect on my routines as an athlete. One is unable to do the exercise one had planned, and one isn't able to compete as hoped. After my 12th place in the World Cup opening race in South Africa, I've not been scoring the results I had hoped for, and today's race at Offenburg was no exception.

A reduced Gunn-Rita

Yesterday I woke up with a sore throat and a thundering headache, so the whole day was used for rest, rest and more rest. I travelled directly to Offenburg after the World Cup race in Dalby last weekend, in order to get as much rest as possible. Monday and Tuesday were slower paced days, as is usual after a tough race, but apart from that my training and general feeling has been great. I've had great legs on the massage bench and a good feeling when training. It's been fun having my family visiting, plus that the racetrack here in Offenburg is demanding and exciting, and one of my favourites.

I really felt ill when I went to bed yesterday. I slept nine hours, but when I woke up I was still tired and worn out. The "optimist" within me controlled my thoughts from the moment I got up until I was lined up at the start. As I had expected, it was a struggle from the first metre right till the finish, but I still feel I made the right decision in taking part and completing today. It was good technical training and a demanding experience for my body. If I now get to rest well for the next days, I feel it will have been a good investment for everything that's coming later in the season.

High altitude training in Livigno

Tomorrow we're driving to Livigno in Italy where we (Bjørnar, daddy Kenneth, my father Birger, and I) will all live for three weeks at high altitude. It's going to be wonderful to have a solid period of training now, and it is totally indispensible in the run-up to the world championship in Marathon (GunnRita Marathon) in Montebelluna, in addition to World Cup races in Canada and USA the following weekends.

We've had a great week here in Germany, despite my bad experience today, with sun and summer and a good 25 degrees Centigrade for just about the whole week. Bjørnar has been given a new bike by a good friend here in Germany and he's zooming around here with pretty good control already. I've lived most comfortably together with Team Merida since Wednesday, but it's always good to move about a bit once the race is over and there are new goals to reach.

Enjoy life on your bike

This evening we've eaten supper together with a small group of Norwegians. We were missing Lene Byberg, but we celebrated her fifth place today, plus Elisabeth Sveum's fifth place in the U23 class. Our Norwegian senior rider, Ole Kristian Fagerli, also performed very well today based on his starting position and start number. It's a small but solid Norwegian group.

At home in Rogaland, everything is about the Nordsjørittet race these days, and that means what should be exercised, eaten and rested in the days leading up to Norway's second largest marathon race (15,000 participants), taking place in two weeks. My family is well represented and we're fully aware that we’re missing out on a major cycling event. I wish everybody the best of luck.

If you still haven't made your holiday plans for the summer and like a good challenge on your mountain bike, you're more than welcome to take part in the Gunn-Rita Marathon in Italy ( I'm starting my preparations already, so it's just to join in!

Cycling is first and foremost about experience, investing in your own health, and a phenomenal means of transport. I wish you all a great and fit week.

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

Norwegian cross country mountain bike racer Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå is a favorite on the international mountain bike circuit.  For years, she has delighted loyal fans as she raced her heart out in cross country and marathon events.

She made an impressive comeback in 2008 after a season of 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 then took on the challenge of motherhood in 2009 when she gave birth to her first child in the spring. With the support of her husband Kenneth Flesjå and her family, she returned to competition within a few months after becoming a mother.

Dahle Flesjå 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 faithfully recounted exploits on Cyclingnews as she balances the roles of mother and elite racer. Or, for more Gunn-Rita, see her personal website: