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From the daily grind of City finance to full-time pro gravel cyclist — Maddy Nutt’s story

We caught up with the Ribble Collective rider in Finland during the inaugural FNLD GRVL race

The waves of Vesijärvi were quietly sloshing and the seagulls screeching behind Maddy Nutt, who stood with her race bike right next to the ‘Lahti’ sign, smiling broadly. We were about to go on a gravel ride together, recceing some of the inaugural FNLD GRVL ‘Lakes’ route, which Maddy was to race the following day. During our recce, we also had the perfect opportunity to find out how Maddy became a full-time gravel rider for Ribble Collective

Getting into gravel

Maddy video Ribble

Before meeting up to film a video together in my home country of Finland, I had already met Maddy at various gravel events. The first time was at a gravel race in Scotland, as she was smashing past me on a gravel road in Dumfries and Galloway. The race was Raiders Gravel, a three-day-stage race in which Maddy confidently the top podium spot and victory (I missed the podium, as usual). 

Now, I had the chance to hear how Maddy got to the level she’s at now, all while navigating the twisty Finnish ski tracks. 

The start of Maddy's gravel story takes us back to Scotland. A few years back, she raced the Grinduro - the race which she “kind of hated, kind of loved” - on the Isle of Arran. She managed to secure a podium spot and won a saddle, which she then bought a bike for. 

During Covid, Maddy rode a mixture of gravel and road, but inspired by her friendship group she started to ride increasingly off-road. In 2022 she joined a racing team and progressed to racing at the very first UCI Gravel World Championships. By the end of 2022, she realised she simply doesn’t like racing on the roads, and transitioned into gravel full-time. 

In 2023, Maddy signed up to be part of Ribble Collective - a group of 'privateer' bike racers. 

Leaving the Square Mile behind 

Maddy bikecheck Ribble

Making cycling her full-time profession wasn’t always on the cards for Maddy. The 25-year-old Londoner has a degree in statistics, but after half a year in the City, she realised the desk job life simply wasn’t for her. 

“I was sitting at the desk minimum 12 hours a day. I hated it - and it made me unhappy,” she states.  

Now, Maddy is racing for Ribble Collective alongside 10 other multi-discipline riders. Being a privateer means that Maddy has support from several different brands she has made a connection with herself. Her Ribble Gravel SL Pro is equipped with different wheels - Maddy's main wheel sponsor is Parcours - and tyres compared to some of her fellow Collective riders, but she says the mix of different sponsors makes the team an interesting group to be part of. 

The privateer life is a rather busy one. This year, Maddy has already raced the Battle on the Beach, Traka 360, the UCI gravel race Gralloch, the Unbound and FNLD GRVL. At the time of writing this, she is racing in Kenya at the Migration Gravel Race: a gruelling off-road epic covering 650km and 8,000m of climbing. 

The race in Kenya is part of the Gravel Earth Series, which finishes in Spain in September. Before that, Maddy is still to race in Sweden and Iceland. Her racing seasons has been full of travel, which always comes with ups and downs - but Maddy says she quite enjoys the nomadic lifestyle. 

“I’m quite a calm traveller. The fact that I am going to three different continents this month to race is pretty cool.

"I typically organise everything myself [for my travel] which is quite a lot of logistics. I am quite good at AirBnb - our one here has a sauna! - and navigating SkyScanner. You just build these skills up as a privateer." 

How does FNLD GRVL compare to the US gravel scene? 


As Maddy said, she has seen more gravel in a few weeks than most of us manage in a lifetime. The recent Unbound Gravel race in Kansas, US, attracted a lot of media attention, not only because of the ‘peanut butter’ mud section that messed up many riders’ race - but Maddy still finished strong. 

Mud was something that was not present in Finland, making it a very different experience. 

“American versus Finnish gravel - it could not be more different. At points, I swear I was on a straight road for 20km [at Unbound Gravel] and I could see as far ahead. I have to say that was pretty relentless - it wasn’t the most stimulating gravel. I found it quite hard power-wise too.

"Here, because of the swoopiness, you can freewheel as well. It’s a little bit more stimulating, more fun."

During our ride through the Finnish forests, Maddy was taken aback by the calmness of the area, even claiming that the place would make a great summer training camp location. Because yes, it is barely ever dark in Finland during the peak of the summer!

The future


Having said during our recce ride that the Finnish gravel is much more “her gravel”, Maddy went and took the victory in her age category on Saturday’s 77km race. It was a well-deserved podium in the race that was full of some of the most hardcore gravel riders in the world - a group that Maddy is quickly becoming part of. 

The enthusiasm Maddy has for what she does is tangible and I hope that it can inspire others into gravel riding and racing. Her sheer speed on the bike has contributed to my ambition to take training a little more seriously. 

You can follow Maddy on her Instagram and YouTube channel

You can find out more about the Ribble Collective here, and for more on the Ribble Gravel SL Pro click here

Suvi joined F-At in 2022, first writing for She's since joined the tech hub, and contributes to all of the sites covering tech news, features, reviews and women's cycling content. Lover of long-distance cycling, Suvi is easily convinced to join any rides and events that cover over 100km, and ideally, plenty of cake and coffee stops. 

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