The Team Bestmed cyclist finished the 110km ultra-marathon in 5 hours, 50 minutes and 58 seconds.
Nadine Visagie was second in 6:50:58 and Chantell Joubert third in 6:52:33.
“I wanted a last very hard ride before the SA road championships and I really wanted to win this event because it’s one of the oldest mountain-bike races in the country. I had heard how tough it is,” Oelofse said after her excellent performance.
The Pretoria ace had planned to use the race as her last preparation before the SA road championships in Oudtshoorn next month.
The course included a tough start – more than 1 000m of climbing in the first 27km.
“I went out hard with the front group,” she told In The Bunch. “But once the climbs got steeper I tried to get into a good rhythm and to just stick to a pace I knew I’d be able to keep up over the 110km.
“I felt quite good throughout the race and concentrated on keeping hydrated because it was very humid and hot.
“I was by myself for most of the race and never saw any of the other women. I didn’t know where they were so I just kept going.”
Oelofse, a strong climber and an endurance specialist, had said before the race that the route suited her.
After winning, she said it had been a true mountain-bike race.
“It’s an awesome route, and definitely one of the toughest races out there, with lots of climbing and rugged terrain. It’s not manicured like some of the other routes.”
Adding to her satisfaction was the fact that she had never taken part in the Barberton Challenge.
“This win gave me a good indication of where my form is at the start of the racing season. I came with a plan and it worked out,” she said.