Happy Bicycling New Year!

Gunn Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida) on her way to a top three finish.

Gunn Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida) on her way to a top three finish. (Image credit: Bert Geerts/dcp-bertgeerts@xs4all.nl)

Happy Bicycling New Year!

We've started writing 2012 now, and a whole New Year lies ahead, filled with challenges and numerous possibilities. What excites me most is the thought that if I work hard enough, it is actually possible to reach the goals I've set for 2012.

Our Christmas celebrations at home at Smeaheia and Bjørheimsbygd (Norway) passed as we had hoped and expected, with lots of food, enjoyment and happiness together with our families. Father Christmas also put in an appearance, to the great enjoyment of both young and old. Bjørnar was a bit skeptical for the first moments, but after a while he was happily giving hugs and sitting on Father Christmas' lap. We had a gorgeous Christmas tree that Bjørnar and I had chosen together, which we later decorated together with daddy Kenneth.

What I wanted most of all for Christmas was GOOD HEALTH. Without good health, you don't get very far, and much depends on one's own efforts to this end. Apart from that, I received many lovely gifts from both friends and family. Kenneth surprised me with a really nice and necessary bag, plus a gorgeous piece of jewelry and earrings which will now follow me on my travels for a long time to come.

We naturally did some training through the holidays, too, but at fairly low intensity as my body needed rest after five whole weeks of high quality training on the Canary Islands just previously.

I had a few great hikes in the mountains in beautiful nature in the inland, did a bit of cycling inside during the first days after returning home, but we also got to try our bikes off-road in pouring rain and heavy winds.

Back to sun and warmth

Now we're back in summery and sunny conditions again and are enjoying great days of training here at Lanzarote. We took a direct flight from Stavanger on New Year's Eve, so we have been here for over a week. I've had a fairly good amount of training, while Kenneth has largely been babysitting and massaging my legs when Bjørnar has had his afternoon naps. Tomorrow my parents are coming here to visit, and then we'll be a full team once again with a period of four weeks ahead of us here in the warmth.

The first three weeks we'll live here in our apartment in Puerto del Carmen, and then spend the final two weeks of the stay at Club la Santa. If it's wintertime where you live (cold and uncomfortable when cycling), or if you need a break from the humdrum of everyday life, you're welcome down here to Lanzarote to join us on the four-stage MTB Race in the end of January. See www.clublasanta.com.

We would like to thank all our sponsors, helpers and supporters who are, and also have been in the year that has passed, very important elements in our efforts in the world elite of mountain biking. Together we are headed towards an exciting season, comprising both the World Cup, European Championship, world championship and the Olympics.

I'm sitting here waiting for my two great boys to come home for lunch. I'm heading out for a slow paced ride this afternoon, but first I'm going to rest together with Bjørnar, and that is one of the high points of the day for me.

I promised to post some nice pictures from our Christmas celebrations, but I have unfortunately forgotten to download the pictures from my digital camera onto the PC, and that camera is lying safely at home in Norway right now. I'll post some new pictures of our experiences and exercise trips here on Lanzarote shortly.

I wish you all an exciting and action-packed New Year, both on and off your bicycles, hoping that you all will reach most of your goals for the year.

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

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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: