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White Christmas at home

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/

Well, it looks like it’s going to be a white Christmas again - suitable for the occasion but not the best for our training program this period. Our existence the past weeks has been coloured by sickness, but now we're anticipating a wonderful Christmas celebration in good health.

We were rather pleased last weekend when the rain came down and made all the snow disappear, but last night and today it's been snowing a lot again and it looks like we'll have a dry and cold Christmas this year too. After nearly five weeks of sickness and no exercise for both Kenneth and me, it doesn't matter too much that the conditions aren't optimal for training for the next two weeks. We have to depend on a lot of indoor training no matter what.

Bjørnar had his first day at nursery towards the end of September and has been ill more or less non-stop ever since. One cold has overlapped the next. We were warned beforehand and apparently it's quite normal for the first half year at nursery, especially for kids without older siblings. We just hope we get to strengthen our immune systems through this experience and avoid sickness through January, February and March?

Bjørnar is well again and back at the nursery, and I intend to start training again after this weekend. My legs are itching to get going again, and it's a huge test of patience to have such a long break. Physical activity is important for both body and mind, and that goes for everybody.

When one is sick for many weeks, one really experiences how bad it is for one's body and mind not to do anything at all. My back, knees and neck are aching after too little movement, so I really hope this period of sickness truly is over now. I’ve had the flu with most of the symptoms, but these last weeks I've had a painful throat and earache, forcing me to stay inside. Kenneth has been out for a jog today, after a full five weeks without any form of training at all.

Christmas preparations

The Christmas tree is standing ready in the garage, Bjørnar has made gingerbread cookies, and most of the Christmas presents have been bought. Bjørnar has his very own Santa Claus doll which he drags around with him in the living room, and he says "Santa" every time he sees one in the shop windows. He doesn't remember anything from Christmas last year so everything associated with this holiday is new to our boy.

It's going to be exciting for him when Santa actually comes to visit on Christmas Eve.

Christmas gift of the year?

How about an electric car for your wife or husband, or for the whole family? I had my first ride in an electric car a few weeks ago and it was actually a very positive experience. On occasion I've complained to Kenneth about how dependent we've become on our car.

Why not use the bike to and fro more often? In addition, we've found ourselves stuck in the worst of the afternoon rush, making us painfully aware how big a challenge traffic really is. For those owning two cars, an electric car should really be considered as car number two. Good for the environment, cheap to run, advantages when parking, etc. Steadily more of us need to use our bicycles more often to and from work unless we want to waste an increasing number of hours in queues every day. I got to try the electric car at Bilkilden in Stavanger.

Kenneth and I have already received our biggest Christmas gift this year, and that's that we have changed banks. We've had meetings with several banks, but we ended up choosing DnB NOR and we're very well satisfied with that. It's a bit of a shame that new credit cards are already working, because they're seeing a lot of action these days.

Christmas celebrations with the family

We'll be celebrating Christmas with our parents and Kenneth's siblings here at Smeaheia. We have lots of space and since Bjørnar is the only toddler in the group, it's nice for him to be at home. This year we're going to have turkey, and this is probably the first time we're going for fowl on Christmas Eve itself.

We'll be decorating the Christmas tree on Monday, and it's going to be exciting to see how long it's allowed to stand in peace. Bjørnar has a good idea of what a Christmas present is, so we won't be placing them under the tree before Christmas Eve. We've been playing a lot of Christmas music already and Bjørnar has been practicing up his dance moves.

To get the right Christmas mood, the whole family will go to church together on Christmas Eve - only then will the true peace and quietude of Christmas sink in.

I wish you all a happy Christmas full of memories and fun. Remember that food tastes very good at Christmas, but maybe even better if you get a bit of exercise every day. You also get extra energy from a bit of exercise in between all the extended periods on the sofa together with family and friends during this wonderful holiday season.

Christmas hugs from Gunn-Rita, Kenneth and Bjørnar
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: