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Winter training in summer weather

Norway's Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa couldn't add the title to her impressive palmares, eventually finishing sixth.

Norway's Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa couldn't add the title to her impressive palmares, eventually finishing sixth. (Image credit: Multivan Merida Biking Team)

Snow and icy temperatures have been replaced with sun and summer. We're well underway with our winter training and we're spending the period of basis-training on the Canary Islands.
We've now been training for a week here in the warmth and are enjoying every training session to the full in shorts. This is the first time we've travelled to warmer realms before Christmas and right now it feels like a very good decision. Last year's winter was completely derailed by sickness before Christmas, and we really did not want a repeat this year.

Today, we've had a very good power-session on one of the dirt hills right nearby where we're staying. There are many Norwegians here on the Canaries and many of them are very fit, hiking in the mountains, so it was on the verge of being crowded on "our" hill today. I certainly understand that people enjoy climbing to the tops of mountains in this fantastic weather that we have down here.

A typical period of base training

We're focusing on very varied forms of training while we're here, just the same as we would have done if we had been at home at this time of the year. We have our Merida Big.Nine bikes along with us, meaning that we can go practically everywhere on the island. We've even brought our mountain boots, as a mountain hike per week has been an important element in every week of winter training when we've been at home.

During this first week down here, we've had enormous amounts of help and good company from my mother. Yesterday I went to the airport with her to check her in and send her home to Norway, while at the same time fetching my father from the arrivals hall. Now my dad will be the "nanny" for the coming three weeks, while the final week will be just us three alone. At that time, we'll have to train at separate times, but with most hours for me.

The one who's training most of all is without doubt Bjørnar, as he's running around practically non-stop from morning until bedtime at 8:00 pm.

Tomorrow we're having a slow-paced day, a bit of swimming and a good massage afterwards. We're living in an apartment so we make our breakfast and lunch at home, some dinners, too, but it's nice to have a bit of luxury and relaxation at a restaurant in the evening. At the moment we're sitting in front of the television "at home", Bjørnar is already sleeping deeply, and we're good and tired after a great week of training and activity.

I'm going to post some new pictures, but have to work a bit on my tan first. You'll be hearing from us again in a few weeks. Use your opportunities for training well, in the coming week, and get the most out of them.

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: (opens in new tab)