The season starts in Italy; the Gunn-Rita Dahle diary

It's great to be on the go again with a new season of cycling. The menu for first race of the year included lots of mud and freezing cold weather, but even so it was wonderful to take part in the Italian winter championships in cross country today. I won the race, here in the town of Volpago del Montello, just outside Treviso - a very positive start to the season. The result is very encouraging and shows that we've been working correctly through the winter and are headed in the right direction.

It's been raining hard all night, and it was bucketing down as we stood lined up at the start of the race, so we didn't have to spend long deciding what tyres to use today. Maxxis Medusa 1.8 mud tyres are very trustworthy in such conditions, but braking, however, is a different story on days like this. I had to make some adjustments along the way, but managed to stay on my bike most of the time. However, on the last lap there wasn't much rubber left on my brake pads. Today I should definitely have used disc brakes instead. So it was a somewhat uncontrolled Gunn-Rita on the way in to the finish, but I had no major crashes.

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