Team dormakaba’s Candice Lill and Helen Grobert wrapped up the women’s title at the Momentum Health Tankwa Trek this past weekend beating the second placed team of Ascendis Health by just over three minutes in the general classification.
“The Tankwa was a key part of my preparation for the Absa Cape Epic (March 18 to 25) and I honestly did not expect us to show the kind of form we did. We really wanted to go out and control the race. Having done it before, I knew the sections where we could make time, so we planned around it,” says Candice.
She says that both Helen and herself used their strengths of descending into the single-track sections to their advantage and capitalised on good teamwork throughout the three-day event.
“This was the first time we rode together and neither of us expected it to go as smoothly as it did. While Helen is not doing the Epic, it has given my confidence a significant boost. It is important to hit such a large event with confidence and the Tankwa has done exactly that,” she says.
While Candice admits it is difficult to look past the Epic, she wants to have a strong year and is looking at competing internationally in Europe and continuing to race against the best in the world.
“I would love to qualify for the World Championships in Cross Country and Marathon and want to compete at the Olympic Games again after being there in 2012. Fortunately, female’s cycling has evolved significantly in the past two years where competition is much stronger resulting in more exciting racing and pushing all of us to compete at higher levels.”
She cites the investment that sponsors like dormakaba have made in the sport as being the cornerstone of the shift that is happening.
“Having sponsors make a massive difference to getting more females involved in cycling. For example, our team originally started small but has grown to four women who are all passionate about the sport and growing its image among young girls. Equal prize money has also been important and shows the women competing that there is something worthwhile to race for.”
For her, Team dormakaba is the ideal platform to grow her skills in cycling.
“There is such an empowering environment in the team that is focused on helping all of us (men and women) grow and learn. Not having the pressure to win all the time creates a relaxed team spirit that drives us to perform well for our sponsors. As female athletes, we want to show girls looking to enter the sport that anything is possible with the right commitment. Even beyond cycling, we are showing girls that they can overcome challenges if they persevere,” she says.
One of the key messages Candice wants to instil in young girls is to be patient and trust the journey.
“Whatever you do in life there will be those that excel immediately and others that take a while to grow. There will be hard times, but it is about the journey and having fun in the process. Life is all about having balance. Even at the highest level, you need to have fun whether that be on your bike in a race or at school studying. Focus on what you need and trust your abilities,” she concludes.