#TeamRed athlete Candice Lill shares her big plans for 2024 season

Born To Ride!
I rode 22km when I was three years old, which sparked my love for mountain biking– Candice Lill
  • Sport: Mountain biking & road cycling
  • Team: e-FORT.net SeattleCoffeeCo
  • Nutrition sponsor: Biogen
  • IG: candice_mtb

Candice Lill had a standout season in 2023, narrowly missing out on a World Championship jersey after finishing second in the 2023 UCI XCM World Championships, which took place in Glasgow, Scotland in August. 

The Biogen-sponsored athlete pulled off the biggest result of her career, crossing the line a mere 54 seconds behind winner Mona Mitterwalner from Austria. Her World Championship Silver medal topped off a stellar year of achievements, which included the SA National Mountain Bike XCO and inaugural XCC titles, and a second place at the 2023 Absa Cape Epic.

Candice has a few big, hairy, audacious goals (BHAG) in 2024, the biggest of which is going one better at the 2024 UCI XCM World Championships to earn that coveted rainbow jersey. 

She is also aiming to go one step higher on the podium at the 2024 Absa Cape Epic, where she will race with her new partner, reigning UCI XCM World Champion, Mona Mitterwalner. The new partnership has already tasted success after the duo convincingly won the 2024 Momentum Medical Scheme Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen in February.

On her journey to the World Championships, Candice plans to qualify for the Olympics, where she aims to secure a top 10 finish. She will race the 2024 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Series in Europe to prepare for the Olympics and the World Championships.

Candice has been mountain biking for as long as she can remember. It all started on the family farm. “I rode 22km when I was three years old, which sparked my love for mountain biking. Living on the farm allowed me to do a lot of riding out on farm roads.” 

While mountain biking wasn’t a sport offered at school, Candice would ride every afternoon and on weekends, in addition to her swimming and athletics.

Candice says she loves the feeling of freedom she gets from riding out in nature, and it is this love for the sport that fuels her success. “You need to love it to succeed. You can’t do the training and compete if you don’t have the desire and passion for it.”

While Candice was always competitive at sports, the opportunity to combine her love for mountain biking with her desire to compete offered the perfect combination. 

“You need self-belief to compete against the best and self-discipline to do the hard workouts needed to ride at the highest level. You really need to love what you do to get through them.”

Candice hopes that her success internationally will show other South African female riders that they too can make it on the world stage.

The night before: Candice starts her race fuelling the night before a race or stage with a meal rich in carbohydrates. “It doesn’t have to be fancy. In fact, the simpler the better. I stick to foods that are low in fibre to avoid digestive system issues and foods that I am used to eating.” The e-FORT.net SeattleCoffeeCo rider recommends options like rice, pasta or potatoes. “Try and avoid spicy, rich foods,” she adds. 

Race-day morning: For her pre-race breakfast, Candice prefers to keep breakfast simple, with carbohydrates the main focus for the meal. Candice likes to add some Biogen Iso-Whey Premium Protein Powder to oats or muesli for a high protein breakfast before a race. 

Before the start: If she is feeling a bit peckish on the start line, Candice eats a Biogen Energy Oats bar or Biogen Energy Nougat bar

During the race: Candice relies on Biogen Cytogen to get in 80-100g of carbohydrates per hour during the race. 

“This normally includes one small bottle of Cytogen, a Biogen Energy Bar and a Biogen Liquid Energy gel every hour,” she explains.

After the race: Candice supports her recovery with a Biogen Recovergen shake within 30 minutes of finishing the race for optimal recovery. 

“You need some protein for muscle repair and recovery, which Recovergen offers in a 4:1 carb-to-protein ratio.” Candice says Strawberry is her go-to flavour for a tasty recovery drink. She also sips on Biogen Hydrate drink mix powder to replace electrolytes lost during the ride.