How Cyclist Candice Lill Is Approaching The Absa Cape Epic

by | Mar 23, 2023 | News

The Absa Cape Epic is a gruelling multi-day stage race from the 19th to the 26th of March 2023. Before the onset of the race, Candice Lill let us take a peek into her routine going into the race, with tips galore! Ever wanted to try the Cape Epic? Here’s your chance to see how the pro, Candice Lill, takes it on. Candice Lill is competing in this year’s race with partner Amy Wakefield.

Fuelling Up

“Fuelling correctly is a huge component of success in the Cape Epic,” says Candice Lill. “Even bigger than any other races you do, because you are not only fuelling for today, but for days to come. If you miss an opportunity to fuel, it can be very difficult to come back from. That is why you need a solid plan of what and when you’re going to eat before, during and after the race.”

For the race, Candice enlisted a dietician who came up with a meal plan, with how much to eat and drink during the race. “The general rule for optimum race nutrition is about 80-90g of carbs per hour,” she says. Because that’s a lot of carbs, sometimes you’d need to train your body to accept that amount during high-intensity exercise. For Candice, this is made up of energy bars, gels and a carb and electrolyte mix. “I just find this easiest due to the demands of racing at the front. We don’t have the luxury of stopping at water points,” she says.

Once the day is over, Candice recovers with a shake made with at least 20g of protein and a good amount of carbs. Once she’s home, there’s a simple meal she eats. “Our meals are simple, healthy and balanced,” she says. “We focus on good, easily digestible sources of carbs and proteins like rice, potatoes, pasta, chicken, fish, eggs and some vegetables.”

How Candice Lill is tackling long climbs

For the long climbs upward in the mountains, Candice does a recon of how long it would take her. There’s also an acceptance that things will get uncomfortable. “Try to break up the climb into ‘bite size’ segments. This is a tactic I use a lot in races to help me mentally,” she says. “Other than that, be honest with yourself about what sort of pace you are able to maintain on the climb, as well as to the finish line afterwards.” Prepare for the trip to the climbing spot, the climb and the race to the finish afterwards.

Taking on time trials

“It’s quite an art to execute a perfect time trial,” says Candice. “But it’s something that you become better at the more you train and understand your body.” For this, Candice uses a power meter, which is a device that measures the power being delivered during cycling. “ I decide beforehand what power I am going to ride on flats and climbs and where I am going to recover/drink/eat,” she says. “The idea is to start with a pace that is just below what feels ‘hard’ and try to maintain it to the end.”

Maintaining the ride

For this race, no outside help is allowed to fix broken bikes or blown tyres. For this reason, riders have to travel with a kit. “Between the two riders we will carry multiple bombs (CO2 canisters) and plugs to fix a puncture,” says Candice. “We will also have a spare tube and sealant in case it’s really bad.” Candice also carries multi-tools to tighten bolts or take off wheels, or to repair a broken chain. “If we are unable to fix something, we need to get to the closest tech zone where our spares will be, but this could be 40km away,” says Candice. “In order to be successful in the race, you need to be able to fix whatever issue you have as quickly as possible. It can be very stressful, but my advice is to remain calm and work methodically.”

Highlights From 2023 Absa Cape Epic

Follow Candice and Amy’s epic journey here.

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