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Wonderful days of riding on Lanzarote

The elite women's podium at the Club La Santa two-day mountain bike race.

The elite women's podium at the Club La Santa two-day mountain bike race. (Image credit: Team Topeak-Ergon)

The first cycling race of the year is finished and it has awakened my appetite for more, despite a somewhat weak foundation. We completed three really good weeks of training here at Club la Santa on Lanzarote, and are very pleased to be on the go again.

Kenneth and I took part in the race Two Day Mountain Bike Race last weekend here on Lanzarote for the first time. Yesterday, we cycled 30 kilometres, mostly on dirt roads, with the start and finish here at Club la Santa. Today we've cycled a round of 60 kilometres on much more technically demanding terrain, regarding both surface and elevation. It was a very fun track, and more than enough of a challenge for the two of us, who haven't been out in rough terrain for the past two months.

Next year, we aim to be in top shape and take part from the very start. This year we had to take things nice and slowly since we hadn't trained much before we came here. Despite moderate speed both days, I was good and tired today when I crossed the finish line. My legs, my body and my mind have been put through their paces.

Great days at Club la Santa

We have really enjoyed ourselves here at Club la Santa, and we've already booked in for a new stay here for training next January. If one wishes to combine sports activities with holiday, there is no better place than Club la Santa. One will find activities for the whole family, regardless of age, physical condition and interests.

If one likes a bit of competition, one can combine one's holiday with some racing as we have done this weekend. Most of the cyclists taking part here today, close to 300 of them, were all at different physical and professional levels and came from many different nations. I think that most of the cyclists who completed today had an exciting, wonderful and suitably challenging day on their mountain bikes.

Home for winter

We're leaving for Norway again tomorrow, in much better shape than when we left. We're all well again and hope it will last, even though we're returning to winter and cold weather again. Bjørnar has been very active throughout the stay, and has really enjoyed being able to be outside all day long.

During this last week we've also had my sister, May-Peggy, visiting us together with her partner Espen. We've had an enjoyable week together taking part in various activities which reached a climax on Friday when our dear mother turned 60. For breakfast she was served an exciting schedule for the day, including a step-class, massage, zone therapy, miniature golf, and an enjoyable evening of pizza. I think her calves and arms are still stiff and sore after her first step-class ever.

I'll be at home in Norway for only a week now, before I leave for Majorca for two weeks. There I'll meet up with Team Merida and take part in the annual press camp on February 19-21. It's going to be fun and exciting to meet the team again, in addition to testing out new bikes, including team bikes, new 29-inchers and this year's cyclo-cross bike, now with disc brakes.

We naturally have a lot to do here at home after such a long period away. I have a meeting with our sponsor Comrod on Wednesday evening, on Thursday we'll possibly have a press conference in Stavanger, and on Friday my wonderful boys are headed for the barbers at Bryne (Frisørsenteret) while I allow my own mane of hair to continue growing peacefully.

I'll have a small shopping trip to Lyst in Stavanger (by the Breiavannet lake behind the cathedral) which my sister owns and runs, as a lot of new spring clothing has arrived. One of my favourites is the brand Ti-Mo which is Norwegian, but the shop has many brands from all over Scandinavia.

The weekend will probably be used for training and recovery. On Monday, I'm headed in to Stavanger Sports Clinic, to Vibeke, for my new "MOT" check-up. I feel in need of a thorough treatment and adjustment of my whole system now, after having started up training again.

I'll send you all a small update from Majorca with information from the press camp and how large a group the Multivan Merida Biking Team gathers this year. Last year, we were a total of 200 people in all - an exciting group who all enjoyed a good time both on and off their bikes.

Cyclist's greetings from Gunn-Rita
Multivan Merida Biking Team
[Translation: Crispen T.P. de Lange]

PS: You need to be quick if you and your family, group of friends, or club wish to order a week of training here at Club la Santa next winter.

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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)