Hill, who won the Drak Descent title a month ago, expects a “different” 80km race to last year.
“We will have a couple more top contenders to fend off this year,” Hill told In the Bunch today.
“I will have to be up there to mix it up. I want to finish on the podium – if I cannot manage a win.”
Hill, who hails from Durban, said “last year’s course was different to the usual”.
“There was a lot of rain and mud, so it was heavy underfoot. That suited the KwaZulu-Natal rider in me.
“This weekend I will have to use the right equipment in what could possibly be drier conditions.
“I took part in the Tankwa Trek last weekend, which was bone dry. Then I went back up to KZN this week and we did some training in the mud.
“Whatever the conditions may be, I will have to make allowances and be ready,” he added.
Hill expects the race to split about midway through. “I think most of the guys will go really hard as soon as we hit Hayterdale, going up the Zuurberg Pass.
“There are two fairly big climbs; the first one will be the main split. It will be important to remain composed and to hang on.
“Utilising the winds correctly on the flat roads coming back will also count in your favour,” he said, “but the mid-section will be the real tell-tale.”
Hill feels his form should hold, but understands that the season is “still young to be at your fittest”.
“You wouldn’t want to be at your fittest now and then later in the year run out of steam.
“It is important to have a progressive build-up heading towards the peak racing in March and April.
“It is around the corner so I should be feeling good, but you never know until you start racing hard again.”
“He’s flying at the moment; he’s probably one of the country’s top marathon racers. He will be the guy to chase and we should capitalise if he has a bad day.”