Finally the snow is gone and we can start enjoying exciting trips into the woods and wilderness again. The roads are full of cyclists here at home, at all times of the day. We're approaching the way it is in Italy with the level of interest in cycling here.
We've been home for four weeks after the training camp on Majorca. There was still snow on the ground when we returned, so we got to try out rough and slippery conditions for the first days, but then the milder weather and rain finally set in and old "King Winter" had to give up the ghost for now.
These first days of spring have spurred us into interval training outside. After a long winter of intervals inside on rollers or the spinning bike, there isn't much that can supercede the adrenaline kick of doing intervals out in wild terrain again. There is a great difference between doing one's intervals inside, and being out on technical terrain. I was pretty beaten up, from head to toe, after our first high intensity stint in the wilds a couple of weeks ago, but still an exceedingly exciting and enjoyable trip.
Unfortunately I haven't been able to do all that much interval training this winter. Sickness and lack of energy has meant long periods without that type of training, so I have a lot of work ahead of me now. Luckily Kenneth is back on his bike again and we're at a similar fitness level as each other at present. This suits me very well as we are well matched for some healthy competition during our training stints.
Two weeks remain until the World Cup starts, and that will be my first race of the season. It's going to be fun to get going again and race once more. The first World Cup race will be in Dalby Forest in England, a circuit which hasn't had status as a World Cup track as long as I've been a professional cyclist (15 years), but which, even so, is supposed to be a renowned area for mountain biking.
The weekend after Dalby, we'll race in Houffalize in Belgium, a classic track from which I have many a fantastic memory. Three weeks after that, it's time for a World Cup race in Offenburg, Germany.
Wonderful Easter holiday
We didn't do too much skiing, eat too many KitKats and or drink too much hot cocoa this Easter, but even so, we had a wonderful celebration together with our family. We spent the first weekend with my parents, and the next weekend, Easter, at the cabin together with Kenneth's parents and siblings. We naturally had the bikes along, so thanks to some great babysitters (our parents), we were able to log good training throughout Easter.
This week, training has been slightly reduced due to Bjørnar, who started getting sick on Monday, with a painful throat and runny nose, and I was caught the same sickness two days later. That meant a few days without training for me. We expect a few more sick-breaks like this now that we have a small child in the house, but there's not much we can do about that.
Bjørnar turned one-year-old a couple of weeks ago, and we had great celebrations together with the whole family. The birthday boy got his very own chocolate cake with lots of vanilla cream on top. It meant a lot of mess and very little eating. He hasn't quite developed a love of sweet foods yet, and it's probably just as well, as such a taste always develops in the end anyway. In Bjørnar's Easter egg, there was a raisin to his immense pleasure!
This coming week we've ordered sunny weather and good days of training. We're going to our barber at Bryne tomorrow, where my boys are going to work on my hair style a bit. After that we're going to a party at my sister-in-law's, Siri, which is guaranteed to be a fantastic experience for little Bjørnar who loves to have people around him, especially other children.
I wish you all fantastic days of training. I'm going to race against Kenneth on my bike on Saturday, so that's going to be the high point of my week - I'm hoping for a good day, as I still hate to be beaten by my coach!
Cyclist's greetings from Gunn-Rita, Kenneth and Bjørnar.
Multivan Merida Biking Team
[Translation: Crispen T.P. de Lange]