After many winter months at different ends of Europe, it's been great meeting up again with both teammates and the support staff. Once Multivan Merida Biking Team's press camp is over, the season will be well and truly under way for me, even though there are many weeks left before I take part in my first race.
This year, the annual press camp for Multivan Merida Biking Team gathered a total of 90 journalists and photographers from 21 different countries. In total, there were 220 people present, including the press, team sponsors, various national bike dealers and riders. These were busy and action-packed days for riders, support staff and the press alike. There was a lot of photographing of both people and bicycles, plus testing of this year's new bike models.
I wasn't present at last year's press camp when I was expecting, so it was especially nice for me to meet the whole team and the press again. There were many well-known faces, but also a few new ones in the media group. The most exciting was, however, to test my new team bicycle for this year. It is an amazing piece of machinery, and I quickly felt at home on it even though I'm still lacking some quality off-road riding before I'm totally at one with the bike again.
Kenneth and Bjørnar stayed at home while I went to the press camp. They didn't come to Majorca until six days later, together with my mother and father. It was tough being separated from our little boy for so many days, but Bjørnar didn't seem to notice too much. He had a great time at home together with his daddy and our family.
Now we've been in Alcudia for almost two weeks and luckily have a whole week of training camp left down here. I've been able to do quite good training while we've been here, despite a two-day break because of a small cold. We've been lucky enough to get help from a local mountain bike rider, Pedro, who has shown us some great areas for mountain biking. This was important for us, as we've had non-stop snow for the past three months in Norway. There's still a lot of snow on the ground at home in Sandnes and it might be weeks before it's all gone.
Bjørnar has started walking on his own now, and he's probably the first family member who has learned to walk on Spanish ground. We're very lucky to have such great babysitters with us here, in my mother and father. Bjørnar is out in his pram pretty well all day long. He only comes back once in a while to eat and play a bit, in amongst all his trips out together with granny and grandad.
Kenneth's health is gradually beginning to improve, even though progress is slow. He's hoping to get to train a bit more toward the end of March so we are able to train together again. It's imperative for my own shape that I get some good interval training and proper matching again before important races coming up this summer.
The Gunn-Rita Marathon, which this year will also be the European Championship Marathon, will take place on Sunday the June 27 (see www.gunnritamarathon.com for more info). The website has a new English version now. Even though it's being arranged as a European Championship, participation is still fully open for private persons, as in previous years. It's just to get going on your training, and we can meet up in Italy in the end of June!
If you're interested in being in Italy for a longer period of time, riding together and enjoying good Italian food and wine, check out this link: www.2italita.com.
Dinnertime is approaching for little Bjørnar, so I'll close off now. We're going out to eat dinner at a good Italian restaurant here in Alcudia this evening and it's going to be delicious to taste a bit of delicious pizza again.
I hope I'm back on my bike again some time tomorrow, even if it's just for a short ride. Getting ill is never convenient, but it's better to have a touch of it now and then hope to be free of sickness when the actual competition season starts. I wish you all great training days during the rest of March.
We'll post a few action pictures taken at the press camp showing our new bike and the team clothing for this year, plus a few new pictures of our little son, Bjørnar.
Cyclist's greetings from Gunn-Rita, Kenneth and Bjørnar
Multivan Merida Biking Team
[Translation: Crispen T.P. de Lange]