Christmas was wonderful, even without the snow, and the Christmas spirit came sneaking up onus right after our arrival at home from the Canary Islands. It's wonderful to have had some quality time with family and friends now that the new season is starting up again with full force.
We're back in the warmth of the Canary Islands again, and I have managed to complete my training regime as planned for the first week. This time we're living in an apartment in Meloneras / Maspalomas and are really enjoying ourselves at this new place. I believe both young and old were in need of a bit of variation after many years returning to the same place in Arguineguin.
It's only been us here during this first week, but tomorrow evening my mother (granny) is arriving, providing us with a nanny so that our training can go back to normal.
Kenneth and I have had to train at alternate times this first week, but it works alright for shorter periods of time. We've enjoyed the company of several other Norwegian mountain bikers who are here on the island in January, and that's been nice.
Great Christmas at home
When we arrived at home, a week before Christmas, there wasn't much Christmas spirit about the place after three weeks training in the sun. But we decorated the house and got hold of a Christmas tree the day after getting home, and it felt very right. Yes, I love decorating the house for Christmas - lots of colours, lights and delicious smells which one associates with Christmas cheer from earlier years.
Bjørnar got to have one week at his nursery, and he really enjoyed that. I managed to buy most of the Christmas presents pretty quickly. Christmas shopping can be completed quite quickly if one has a good plan and a well thought through check list.
The greatest challenge was, as usual, the Christmas present for Kenneth. It's impossible to hide anything in one's own house, so I did a bit of fetching and retrieving without him suspecting a thing. He was very grateful for the gift, but hasn't been able to test it out yet, as we had no snow here at home. I reckon his new Fat Bike will see some action in February when I go to Merida's press camp.
We had many enjoyable dinners in good company, with both friends and family, at home and with others throughout Christmas. It's been lovely to enjoy genuine Christmas spirit by being together with Bjørnar and many other children in our circle of friends. There's something magical about the relationship children have to Christmas. We were naturally very lucky to be visited by Father Christmas himself, who came into our house and danced around on the floor together with the kids, on Christmas Eve.
Unforgettable 2013 season
Last year's season ended up being a great success, thanks to winning a new rainbow jersey, and I wear it with great pride every day when I'm out training. Many people have contributed to what we achieved in the 2013 season. Personal sponsors, Northwave, Nordsjørittet bike race, Eliksir, Frisørsenteret, Stavanger Idrettsklinikk (sports clinic), and Lyst, have all been important supporters through many years, and they deserve a great thanks.
We've worked closely with Aarbakke as our main personal sponsor through 2013, and it has been an exciting, challenging and very educational experience for both Kenneth and me on many levels. It's fantastic working with such a big company that invests so much on the health and well-being of its employees. We'd like to be involved in this kind of work when we finally quit professional cycling. A big thanks goes to all of you for your efforts and contributions.
I would also like to thank Merida Norway and Stians-Sport for a good cooperation. And also a gigantic thanks to our pro team. Enjoyment, great team spirit and huge efforts from each and every one in Multivan Merida Biking Team have made all the difference for our successes. We can look back on a whole lot of fun and excitement together with our colleagues on the pro team throughout the season of 2013.
I've started a small summary of the highs and lows and unforgettable moments of last year's season, which I will post in a week from now. I'll also be posting pictures from the Canary Islands before Christmas and a lot from Christmas and New Year at home in the coming days.
Here in our living room, I'm watching "Breaking Bad", and it's probably a bit too tough to watch for an aging lady like me, but I can't keep away from it because it's so exciting. One tends to watch a few films in the course of a training camp, but I think it's a great way to relax.
I wish you all a fit New Year. We've set clear goals for the season of 2014 and are looking very much forward to working hard and focused to fulfill all our hopes. Everything is possible, as long as you want it enough and work hard.
Cyclist's greetings from Gunn-Rita
Multivan Meridan Biking Team.
Translation: Crispen T.P. de Lange