The start of this season on Cyprus is a new challenge for this lady. After a successful press camp on Majorca for my Multivan Merida Biking Team, it's now time for an energetic team effort in the first race of the season, on Greek soil.
After only two days at home, I have now fastened my seat belt on the plane to Larnaca and Cyprus. But we're not just taking a holiday in the sun this time, even though this destination is usually associated with that sort of summertime activity. Team Merida is ready with a full troop for the first race of the season, and that's an inspiring thought in itself.
Quality time at home
I have to admit that it was hard saying good bye to Bjørnar early this morning. I got home on Wednesday evening and we got to eat supper together, had some time for some fun and games before the bed-time responsibilities, and I got to read and sing with my little boy, too.
Thursday and Friday at home, with a bit of exercise and some clothes washing and packing, made the days too short for my taste. It's at least comforting to know that Kenneth and Bjørnar are enjoying themselves at home and doing lots of fun stuff together, while Mom is off travelling without her family for once.
So now I'm heading for two weeks of various races on Cyprus, and this is guaranteed to be an exciting, demanding and important period for both body and mind. My physical shape could have been better, but one has to start somewhere and I'm glad to be able to take part in a few races now, before the first World Cup race in the middle of April.
I know very little about the terrain and tracks on Cyprus since I haven't been there before, but I've been informed that the tracks are technical with lots of tough and steep climbs, and rough ground. My plan is to take part in all four stages of the race, starting this Thursday. First, climbing tempo, then two days of point-to-point (marathon), and the final stage will be on a normal cross country course. After that we're looking at a week of training and hopefully good days of restitution before a standard cross country race on the Sunday the weekend after that.
Successful press camp
The days on Majorca were intense and action-packed, so now it's going to be great to get to do a few relaxing everyday things like training, resting, eating good food at the correct times, going early to bed, and doing lots of stretching and gymnastic exercises on the floor. In other words: lots of time to work on great performances on the bike, plus rest for both my machinery and psyche, so I can reach my goals for the season of 2014.
The job that is done at the annual Merida press camp is important for our sport, and for the sponsors and the media. It's exciting, fun, challenging, demanding, giving, and educational. Even though one is really worn out when it's over, it’s great to know that our efforts were apprecated by everyone on the team, and that we can now concentrate on training and competition. A total of 116 journalists and photographers from 25 different countries, is pretty massive.
The presentation of Multivan Merida Biking Team and Lampre Merida on Friday evening last week, was very impressive. New history was presented and written for the 330 dinner guests. World champions in both on-road and off-road disciplines, riding for the same brand, presented at the same venue - this isn't your everyday experience in the world of cycling.
New adventures on my bike
I intend to train on one of the longer marathon tracks early tomorrow morning. I envisage some fantastic hours on my bike in beautiful and exciting nature, meeting new people, new culture, and eating tasty food.
I made a deal with Bjørnar as I was leaving the house early this morning that we're going to Skype every evening, and that he's going to tell me about his day at home together with Dad and his friends at the nursery. I know that there will be times on this trip when my longing for my loved-ones at home will be almost unbearable. But I also sense the energizing excitement that surrounds the whole concept of new adventures on my bicycle.
My challenge to you is: Seek out new adventures together with your bicycle. It is you who decides what those experiences will be, even if you can’t travel far from home.
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:
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