The dormakaba rider said she had prepared well for the prestigious race.
“I’ve put in about three months of solid training for both the cross-country marathon and cross-country champs, so I’ll definitely give the jersey a shot.”
McDougall, who placed third after finishing in 1:25:37 last year, felt a podium at the SA champs was always an achievement although she was not pleased with her own performance.
“Like any race, good or bad, I used it as a learning experience to better myself next time.”
The elite women must complete six laps, with the winner the quickest to do so.
“My strategy will all depend on how the race unfolds at the time. With XCO the key is not to go too hard. An hour and a half is a long time to be in the red.”
She felt the course suited her well and that her strengths would lie in the jumps and rocky sections, of which there were plenty at the Happy Valley Conservancy.
“I’m comfortable on all the obstacles, which is great. Riding a hard tail will make it slightly more challenging especially on the rocky climbs, but either way you compromise so bike choice is also a bit of a gamble.”
“Cherie is out from Germany and should be strong, while Mariske has been racing world cups and just had a great result in Andorra.
“Candice is on great form and Sarah is getting stronger by leaps and bounds. She’s also one of the best technical riders in the country and I expect her to have a cracker on this course.”
McDougall felt her year had had its ups and downs. “It has not been without its challenges, which always makes you stronger in the end.
“It will be super special to win the title and jersey this weekend. I have never been an SA champ.”