"It’s pretty amazing to create unity with your body, bike, nature and speed. You have to try it!"
Paula Gorycka @gopaulinhio is a Polish cross-country mountain biker. She's a multiple medalist of the Poland Championship and has won two bronze medals for the World Cup, one in 2010 and another in 2012. She also won the silver medal in the European Championship and competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Her determination and incredible work ethic are impossible to overlook, making her the true definition of a modern day beast. Check out her interview below.
What inspired you to become a professional cyclist?
I was very active as a child. I used to run, swim, alpine ski, and play many team games (volleyball, basketball, handball, soccer). I was always riding my bike. It was like bike and something to add. Bike was always and the “something” was changing. I started in my first competition when I was 7 years old. It was in my hometown and I won the race. I liked the feeling I had on the podium and wanted to feel it again. So, step by step, I came more into the cycling world. My first idol in mountain bike was Anna Szafraniec. She was the first Polish cyclist to reach international success and as a child I wanted to be like her :) In 2008, I earned a spot on the Polish National Team and after that cycling became a very important part of my life.
If you had to pick the best hill climb across the globe for cyclists, which one do you think wins first place and why?
I don’t know too many climbs to pick the best on Earth... but I can say something about my favorites. I love the asphalt uphill from Granada to Sierra Nevada, Spain. It is about 30 km long, not too steep, so you can use it in early spring for training. Another asphalt uphill is Italian Stelvio - both sides. It's steeper, so you need to put more effort, but beautiful views are the reward. I really like mountain streets in Italy and Spain, you can just drop your problems and enjoy your ride. This year I can ride more in Switzerland (I'm in Swiss UCI MTB Team) and I've fallen in love with Swiss MTB routes. They give you so much thrill and you'll always find a route to challenge you. It’s pretty amazing to create unity with your body, bike, nature and speed. You have to try it!
What do you do to train during the winter?
Winter is a season of training. I ride my bike (MTB or cyclo-cross), but no more than two times per week. The important part is gym sessions, to build up strength and power. I also like cross country skiing, swimming, crazy jogging with my team-mates and our coach. In winter you look for possibilities to move and have fun. Training is not so specific and more flexible.
What’s the most important part of your diet?
My main goal is to fuel my body with food which is as natural as possible. Less processed food makes you feel better and makes your trainings count more. In cycling, it is important to have proper body weight, but you have to remember that your body works really hard, so calorie balance plays another big role. I like to feel light and powerful - food should help not hinder. Another part is sport or dietary supplements. This season I use isotonic drink and gels from sport supplements and as dietary supplements I chose products from Duo Life – they are made only from natural ingredients. Sometimes I also have a bar that's raw and natural, from another great company – Roo’bar. In one word about my diet: natural :)
What’s one thing on your bucket list?
I have more than one thing on this list! In life – to create family and real home. In cycling - to again reach the Olympic Games and fight for a medal. And to fight for a World Champion rainbow jersey. Others? I really want to learn Italian and Spanish. Just to be happy and to make others happy :)