Q&A with Ribble's Gravel World Championship rider, Maddy Nutt

Ahead of the UCI Gravel World Championships in October in Veneto, Ribble, launches its new Stone Collection Gravel Bikes which will debut at the competition by four Ribble Collective Riders. One of these riders is Maddy Nutt who shares her journey from working in finance to the podiuming at the Earth Series and being selected for team GB for the Gravel Worlds.

Q&A with Ribble's Gravel World Championship rider, Maddy Nutt

Lauren Smithie / News / 21 Sept 2023

Ribble recently launched its new Stone Collection Gravel Bikes ahead of the Gravel Worlds. The bikes will debut at the competition by four Ribble Collective Riders - Mikey Mottram, Metheven Bond, George Hodgkinson and Maddy Nutt, who we caught up with about her journey from working in finance to the Gravel Worlds - keep reading for the Q&A. The all-new Stone Collection is a set of three custom colour paint schemes designed in-house, and hand-painted by the Ribble team of master painters. Bringing gravel to life, each marble, slate, and granite colourway is a work of art. Every finish is unique, representing the ultimate expression of bicycle customisation. The complexity of each design ensures no two bikes will ever be the same.

Ribble CEO, Andy Smallwood, commented:

It's going to be incredible to see 4 riders on their Ribble Gravel SL race bikes representing Team GB at this year's UCI Gravel World Championships in Veneto, especially as 2 of the riders work at Ribble. The Gravel SL has been specifically designed to perform on the world stage, bringing together off-road capability with aerodynamic optimisation and race bike performance to give the riders a distinct competitive edge. To mark this occasion, we've created a brand-new paint finish specifically for our Gravel range - the Stone Collection – inspired by the rugged rocky terrain these bikes have been designed for and featured across all 4 bikes at the World Championships in October.

Ribble's new Stone Collection

We caught up with Maddy Nutt, on her journey from working at Goldman Sachs to gravel racing, how she discovered the sport and the Ribble Collective, her typical race prep and much more.

From finance to podiuming at the earth series and being selected for team GB for gravel worlds. How did you get here? 

From the outside, I definitely think my progression in gravel racing has appeared rapid, but behind the scenes there has been a lot of hard work and commitment. I left my job at Goldman Sachs at the end of 2021, and began training in January after a break to reset.  

Over the past almost 2 years I have gradually dialled in my training, nutrition, recovery, race craft etc to transition from city finance to professional athlete. Countless hours out on two wheels; time in the gym and effort putting together balanced nutritious meals have all played a part in my development, as well as the influence of those around me. A particular influence has been my current coach Tom, who I began working with in April this year, just as the racing season kicked off, and I have made huge progress working with him, despite the risky decision to switch coaches at this point in the season.

How did you discover Gravel racing?

I agreed to participate at Grinduro in the Isle of Arran a few years ago and borrowed a steel gravel bike. I had never ridden off-road before, and although overall I had a great day and ended up on the podium, I definitely had a little cry when I struggled through a technical root section. The prizes for the event were saddles, and I joked at the start of the day that if I won a saddle I would have to buy a gravel bike for the saddle...alas I spent my summer earnings on a gravel bike and began to build up skills and confidence on my new gravel bike. 

After we emerged from the covid era I decided to enter a couple of gravel races, and with the newly improved skills found I enjoyed them greatly and was naturally quite good at them. Last year I entered my first endurance gravel races, and found that I loved the challenge of completing longer distances and that the endurance element suited my physiology. After bonking and cramping in my first gravel race by simply not taking on anywhere near enough fuel or hydration, I have slowly built up the experience, knowledge and fitness to pace and race some of the toughest international gravel races.

Ribble Collective - what is it and how does it work? 

The collective is a group of privateers supported by Ribble. We are a diverse group focusing on different disciplines, whilst encouraging and supporting each other. 

How has your season been - what events have stood out and why?

This season has gone better than I could have hoped, with my highlight being the Gravel Earth Series and finishing on the podium. I've taken my Ribble bike to some incredible locations around the world, from the lava fields of Iceland to the Maasai Mara National Park in Kenya and without a doubt these races have been two of my highlights simply due to their location and the uniqueness of their gravel.

You’re garnering a large following on socials how important is connecting and communicating with your community?

Sharing my experiences and stories with my community is hugely important to me, and I find what I get back from my community extremely rewarding. Racing can often be seen as intimidating, and I am keen to break down that barrier by sharing what the races and experiences are like and encourage others to participate in gravel events/races, particularly women. One thing that is unique and amazing about gravel racing, is that amateurs can participate in the same races as pros, and so I think this makes sharing experiences on socials even more valuable, and the connections built with the gravel community even stronger.

I have also really enjoyed building a YouTube channel this year and using it as a platform to share my adventures. I think the best way to encourage people to get into cycling and gravel, in particular, is to offer opportunities that have low barriers to access, such as social rides over less technical terrain or events that have shorter distance options so that they are more accessible. 

I am always keen to encourage people into gravel because it is something that I love and enjoy greatly and I would love for other people to be able to experience it also.

You've been selected to represent Team GB at the Gravel World Championships, is this the icing on this year's cake?

I'm thrilled to be racing in the Elite Gravel World Championships again, as it allows me to race against the best riders in the world. It is also a huge privilege to be able to represent GB, and definitely is a way to end my season with a bang.

Do you have any specific preparation for the Worlds, or do you keep to the same plan?

With Worlds 3 weeks after my key race of 2023 (the Gravel Earth Series final), I am entering a de-load block before a training block ahead of the championships. My main goal is to keep my fitness for this race, but also add some sharpness to be able to cope with the more intense nature of a shorter race.

Can you give us an idea of a typical training day for you?

Typically I wake up naturally without an alarm to ensure I have had enough sleep and allowed my body to recover. After life admin and a carbohydrate-dense breakfast, I head out on the bike and ride from anywhere between 2 and 6 hours, depending on what my target races are that are approaching. At the start of the season, I did have some rides up to 10 hours in advance of a 360km race, but in the latter part of the season I have been doing shorter rides with more intensity built into them. After riding, I refuel with a balanced meal and a protein shake. Some afternoons I have a gym session, but typically I train once a day and use the rest of my day to do some work, before I cook dinner and relax in the evening.

What works for you with regards to race prep? Do you like to recce the course in order to put together a strategy for the race?

In terms of race prep, I like to be on the more prepared end of the spectrum and ideally travel out to races several days before the actual race. Recce-ing the course allows me to mentally prepare myself for race day, as well as make sure I make no wrong turns in the race itself, which can be costly. It is also good to check any technical or bottle-neck sections and note where these are, so I am able to position myself on race day to respond proactively to these. I also prepare for the race by eating a larger volume of carbohydrates to ensure my glycogen stores are fully topped up on race day.

Getting women into the sport is hugely important - what words of advice and encouragement would you offer? 

I always think it’s such a shame when young women stop sport. Sport is so empowering and can be life-changing, and I think if everyone can do their part to encourage and inspire women to keep participating, regardless of what the sport and the level is, that’s the best thing we can do. If I could ever be a role model for young women, that would really fill me with joy.

In 3 words how would you describe yourself

Enthusiastic, Calm and Jovial!

For more about the Ribble Collective, watch below:

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