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Press camp time for Multivan Merida

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Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa's son Bjornaar rides to kindergarten every morning.

Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa's son Bjornaar rides to kindergarten every morning. (Image credit: Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa)
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Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa training at home in Norway

Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa training at home in Norway (Image credit: Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa)

New bicycles, new equipment, new clothing and stacks of enthusiasm and motivation for a new season: the annual press camp for Multivan Merida Biking Team on Majorca is right round the corner.

The press camp symbolizes the start of a new season and it's the first time the riders and support team come together in the New Year. Most of us won't have seen each other since the World Cup finals at Hafjell in the middle of September, and that's a long time to have been away from one's "family." It represents a whole lot of energy gathered together for one week with a busy schedule.

I flew from Stavanger early yesterday morning and had a short bike ride down here when I arrived. This is the third year Merida has its press camp at Alcudia and Iberostar Hotels & Resorts (Playa de Muro), with the help of Max Hürzeler bicycle hire that is located here.

The official gathering isn't before Monday, when the team leadership, riders and support team are arriving. I know that some press people will arrive on Tuesday, and it'll fill up gradually towards the grand opening which is next Friday (February 14). At that time there'll be a big presentation of both Multivan Merida Biking Team and Lampre Merida.

I am already in good company. My teammates Cinky [Ondrej Cink] and Thomas [Litscher] are already here, and we're joined by our physiotherapist Andi Berger. We're hoping for some good days of exercise down here before filming, photo shoots and meetings with the press all starts up. Under those conditions, daily help and treatments are invaluable.

Demanding transition

It was rather tough returning to the Norwegian conditions after three weeks on the Canaries. The first week at home, with many days of zero or sub-zero temperatures, was demanding in many ways. The bronchies are easily irritated when exposed to such sudden changes in temperature, so we prioritized training indoors instead. The combination of cold weather and a tired body can be a bit brutal, and there's a real risk of getting ill. I've been somewhat tired and my breathing has been a bit labored, but I'm getting used to it.

It's great to be out travelling, but best to be at home, and that goes for all three of us. It really is nice to get home to one's own kitchen, one's own bed and some other clothing. Bjørnar was longing to get home to his toys, especially the Legos, and his friends at the nursery. It was also great to see him back on his bike again after three weeks without it. His eyes were full of joy and enthusiasm as he pedaled off to the nursery early every morning.

Great days at home

Apart from that, the 10 days at home have passed quickly, as always. Besides the training, I've taken care of my body (various treatments), done a lot of office work, enjoyed myself at home, had a bit of social interaction, and had as much quality time together with Bjørnar as possible. I think two weeks away from our boy is quite a lot, and it's important to experience a much as possible together with him before I leave again.

I'm looking forward to a good and exciting period here on Majorca, and I have a good feeling about the season being right round the corner again. November, December and January have been great, so I feel ready for the new season.

Many of you bicycle enthusiasts at home might have a later start to the season than me, meaning that you have plenty of time to get in shape in the time that remains. Remember: "It's never too late." I wish you all great and active days to come.

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: