First things first, introduce yourself
I'm Gabriella Nordin, 30 years old from Åmål, Sweden, about two hours drive north from Gothenburg.
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born and brought up in Sweden. But have lived in the UK the past 9 years.
Where is your current home?
How did you get into riding a bike?
I have always enjoyed physical activity and started riding a bike with my dad. At first it was all about beating him but after riding my Scott Hybrid for a few months I decided to tag along to a local club run in Glasgow where I was studying at uni. I ended up really enjoying these training rides but entering a race never crossed my mind until I got talked in to it by my fellow club members. It was a steep learning curve at the start but I got immediately hooked after doing my first race!
What is your local climb? The climb you do the most out of any other.
Liveridge Hill, near a place called Hockley Heath in the outskirts of Birmingham.
What is it like?
It's a very deceptive climb, which doesn't look that bad from the bottom. It starts off fairly flat but gradually increases in gradient and by the end of it you're out of the saddle grinding in your lowest gear. It's about 5mins long and a real killer after you've already spent hours in the saddle.
What kind of efforts is the climb suited to?
I’d say that it’s suited to progession intervals - you ride at threshold on the draggy bit at the start and the climb gets steeper you start to ramp up the intensity to VO2 max…by the end you’re sprinting full gas out of the saddle.
Sounds like a good one for training then! Is the Strava KOM for the climb ever in your thoughts, or do you strictly focus on the goals of the current effort?
I'm one of those rare cyclists who doesn't use Strava so I solely focus on the current effort and my own personal goals/progress.
Any other climbs in the area you prefer, or is this climb your favourite?
I'd say Liveridge Hill is my favourite because I almost always have to ride up it at the end of my 4-5hr endurance rides. Always feels like a battle getting to the top but once it's over I can relax as I know that I've really emptied the tank.
What about favourite climb overall? Any reason?
I did a climb from Stresa in the north of Italy up the Mottarone mountain when I first started cycling. It's about 20km’s long, mainly dragging but with a couple of steep sections. The view from the top is incredible. To this day it remains my favourite climb!
What is the hardest climb you’ve summited by bike?
Probably the climb 'Tarravägen' in Båstad, Sweden. The climb itself is not super long (about 2kms) but it has some really steep 20+% gradient sections. I had to ride up it 8 times at the Swedish Nationals this year which was brutal and that's why I think it's the hardest climb I've ever done.
What kind of training do you do in general?
My favourite type of training is with fast chaingangs during the summer when the weather is nice. It feels like a race and you push yourself harder when with other people! I also like 20 min efforts on the turbo. They are horrible but you always feel proud about getting through them afterwards.
Touchy subject, but something that has happened to every bike rider at some point, getting dropped. When did you last get dropped in a race or ride? What was going on when you got dropped?
I got dropped at the Ryedale GP National Series race in August which was really disappointing. It's the hilliest National Series race in the calendar so was hoping to do well in it as I'm a climber. But on the day I just couldn't perform. When people attacked on the hills I couldn't follow. On reflection I was very busy studying for my accountancy exams in the weeks leading up to the race which took it's toll on my cycling form. Although I wasn't happy after the race I moved on from it quickly. It's impossible to be in top shape all year round and sometimes other things have to take priority over cycling.
Did you get back to the group you were with?
No but I got caught by a group behind and we worked well together until the end. I always say try to finish the race even if you get dropped. You'll still get some good training in and always learn something!
Gruelling turbo session or climbing the worst climb you can imagine in wind and rain?
Definitely turbo if the weather is really bad!
Onto more current matters. Which team/club are you riding for this year, and what do you aim to achieve in 2018?
I'm riding for TW1 Racing, a team based in Twickenham and set up through Twickenham CC. It will be my second season with them. One of my main goals is a top 10 at Swedish Nationals, been trying for years now but it's hard when up against Olympians and World Tour riders! I'd also like the team to achieve a good result overall in the Women's Team Series. We came 5th in the series this year and would like to improve on it in 2019.
What are your interests away from the bike?
I enjoy cooking and trying new dishes, I'm definitely a foodie! Also like learning foreign languages and spending time with family&friends.
Quick fire questions
Tell me your…
go to summer road bike? LaPierre Xelius sl 700
dream bike? An upgraded version of my current bike, not fussed about the model as long as it makes me faster. I'd like it to be a LaPierre though.
one climb to ride said dream bike up? Monte Zoncolan, I saw the women race up it in Giro Rosa this year. It looked absolutely brutal but epic all the same.
favourite cycling book? The Secret Race by Tyler Hamilton and Steadfast by Lizzie Deignan.
favourite cycling movie? The documentary 'Half the Road', it really portrays the issues of inequity female pro cyclists face in a male-dominated sport.
favourite pro rider? Emma Pooley
why? She's retired now but will always be my favourite rider. Always amazed me how she could win races by riding away from the peloton the way she did. She also has a great personality off the bike.
favourite piece of cycle clothing you’ve owned? My craft winter gloves, they always keep me warm on endurance rides in the off-season. There's nothing worse than cold hands!