Gunn Rita Diary: Training in Italy

Another week of training camp here in Italy is complete. I'm still not feeling totally well, but things are moving forwards. Ten weeks with hardly any exercise has left me feeling out of shape, and I have to accept that the racing season is over for me.

So I won't be participating in any more competitions this season. After such a long absence from training, I need time to rebuild my strength. It would be starting at the wrong end if I was to start racing again in a couple of weeks. The highest priority is to allow my system a full recovery, get in a few normal training weeks, and then take on the winter season in October.

Even so, I'm optimistic about the situation, and I think we will emerge strengthened from what we've been through. An unwelcome break like I've had is without doubt good for my body, after so many seasons of high intensity and incredible results. The season of 2008 is both exciting and important, and it's good to meet it with a well rested and well prepared body and mind.

It's been challenging to be forced to take it easy these weeks since the end of May. I certainly don't enjoy the feeling of being out of shape. My body has been crying out to me that rest is the best and only medicine that will help me recover my energy after having competed and trained with the virus and stomach bacteria in my system.

We're still here in the north of Italy, in the town of Rovereto, south of Trento. This is an unbelievably gorgeous region for those who like a bit of dramatic nature, with mountains and hills, castles and citadels on both sides of the valley, and the river running through here. We're staying in a fantastic area which offers interesting history, beautiful nature, delicious Italian cuisine (it's impossible to get tired of Italian pizza when you're here), fantastic wines and endless opportunities for both hiking and biking.

To read the complete diary, click here.

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.