Jessop, who won the national cross-country title in July last year, said he had started his preparations long in advance of the event, which kicks off the 2018 UCI World Cup season.
“A month ago I made the decision to rent a place in Stellenbosch so that I could practise my riding on the nearby trails and on the course,” he told In the Bunch.
“I’m living by myself,” he said. “Where I am from, in Durban, I don’t have access to proper trails like the ones we will ride on Saturday.
“I have turned all my focus on the World Cup and I have also been preparing for the Cape Epic, which starts next weekend.”
The PYGA Euro Steel rider has also adjusted his training methods. “I’ve changed to much shorter intervals of training but with a higher intensity. This will help me more to get used to cross-country riding,” he said.
“I’m feeling really good. The training over the last month has really prepared me well.
“A lot can happen on the day that you cannot control. I am hoping things work out, but from what I was able to control [in preparation] I think I have done a good job.”
The World Cup event will boast a large, strong international field, but Jessop feels it is important initially to focus just on himself.
“I’ve only ridden against most of the guys [taking part] once or twice, so I don’t really know them too well, like I would with the riders taking part in the nationals.
“I have spent less time focusing on the competition and more time focusing on myself. I think that will be important.”
Jessop is seeded 25th in the under-23 line-up, according to his UCI ranking, and he feels the start of the race could pose a challenge.
“That means I will start in the third or fourth row,” he said, “so it may be hard to get a good start.
“Traditionally, my strengths are in my starts so I’ve got to just work with it and see what I can do.”
He feels the condition of the course could also pose a challenge as the race wears on.
“Due to the drought situation in Stellenbosch, the course could get really loose and dusty as more riders go through,” Jessop said.
“This will only be my second cross-country event for the year and I’m just hoping my body will be able to cope and react to the demands of this type of race.
“But I haven’t been feeling weak [in the build-up] and I feel like I could get a good result this weekend.”