Beating Your Best: our very own Nicolas Cap takes on La Doyenne - OLEUS

Beating Your Best: our very own Nicolas Cap takes on La Doyenne

At XTRACT, we’re all about beating personal training records, a core mantra everyone on our team takes to heart. The latest example? Earlier this year, our Board Member and fellow endurance enthusiast, Nicolas Cap (aka Nico), took on his biggest challenge yet - La Doyenne, one of Europe's toughest one-day cycling events.

The goal? To beat his own personal record, set when he took part in the event back in 2017.

So, buckle up, and join us for an inside look at La Doyenne, what it takes to run the course and the training hacks Nicolas used to get to the finish line despite having limited training time. 

But first, let’s kick things off with a bit of context.





Meet La Doyenne

La Doyenne, officially known as Liège-Bastogne-Liège, is part of the UCI World Tour and one of Europe's most esteemed and demanding one-day cycling events. Its nickname, La Doyenne, roughly translates to “the old lady”, reflecting the event’s long history, dating back to 1892 when it was first held. 


The route spans roughly 250 to 260 km starting in Belgium’s industrial city of Liège and winding south towards Bastogne through a myriad of small towns and picturesque Belgian countryside. After reaching its halfway point in Bastogne, the route turns around and heads back north to Liège.


The return journey is notorious for its difficulty, with a series of steep climbs known as "côtes." Some of the most famous include the Côte de La Redoute, Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons, and the Côte de Saint-Nicolas, all known for their punishing gradients. Each côte serves as a rite of passage, making the return journey of La Doyenne a real challenge for even the most seasoned athletes. It's on these steep gradients that legends are made, records are broken, and personal bests are beaten.


The race typically concludes in the suburb of Ans, a few km away from Liège's city centre. Here, the riders have to overcome one final climb before reaching the finish line.





Training smart, not just hard

Like many athletes, one of the biggest training challenges Nicolas faced was a lack of time. Balancing work, family, and training is no easy feat, but with just a few hacks, you can make it happen. Nico’s moto? "Train smart, not just hard". He goes on to explain:


"Efficiency is key when time is limited. Through focused, targeted training, you can achieve a lot. When time is limited it is not always possible to bring quantity to your training, it is rather about honing in on what you specifically need, especially when preparing for an event like La Doyenne."


Here’s how he did it:


Zwift is a virtual training app for cycling and running that enables users to interact, train, and compete in a virtual world. With Zwift, Nicolas was able to easily fit sessions into his schedule, compete with other users and set intervals to mimic the terrain he would be facing at La Doyenne.


To test his stamina against the hilly terrain, he did a 200 km test run the week before - confirming his readiness for the upcoming 250-260 km event. 


Nico’s supplement regime includes Maurten gels (the caffeine version) for a carbohydrates boost, 6D shakes for recovery and the 6D isotonic drink for hydration. And for stamina? Nothing beats XTRACT.


The XTRACT Factor

XTRACT played a key role in Nico’s training plan, providing the burst of endurance and recovery support he needed to make it to the finish line. Here’s how he described it:


"You know that feeling when you hit the finish line and still have fuel to spare? That was me. I was even able to join a faster group towards the end, and I was faster on 80-90% of the climbs than my previous time.”


In addition, participating in events like La Doyenne aligns with the values and mission of XTRACT. As explained by Nico:


"At XTRACT, we're all about helping athletes hit their goals – whether that's nailing a long-distance run or smashing a new personal record at an event like La Doyenne. We believe in our product based on personal experience.” 


So it’s not surprising that he represented the brand at La Doyenne, wearing the XTRACT limited edition cycling cap and describing the experience as “amazing!”.





Beyond the finish line

Like most endurance junkies, Nico isn't one to stop at one event. He explains:


"Sporting keeps me sharp at work. There's something about cycling that's akin to yoga—it's a form of meditation. When I'm on the bike, my mind becomes clear and focused. It's like hitting the reset button."


Next on his radar are the Dirty Boar a 170 km gravel course later this year and then the Mallorca 312, a grueling 312 km single-day cycling event.

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