The 87km event is part of the South African cross-country marathon championships and provides elite riders with an opportunity to compete for a national title and the jersey that goes with it.
“It certainly heightens the level of competition and prestige,” Sanders said today. “My preparation has therefore been geared towards peaking this weekend.
“I believe any cyclist would love to win the national jersey, but there will be a stacked field, so my emphasis is not solely on winning, but rather on trying my best.”
The dormakaba rider won the second Trailseeker round at Legends MX last month and said it had been “a lekker feeling”. But the victory was not necessarily a confidence booster for the national championships because the two events were “polar opposites”.
“It’s different in terms of the course and the competition. The route for the [Trailseeker] race was flat compared to this weekend’s, so a sprint finish was almost guaranteed.
“This weekend will be completely different. There will be plenty of climbing and opportunities to attack, so the route requires a totally different approach.”
“I always try to just embrace whatever the route holds. I don’t think the previous course suited me better than any of the other riders. Everyone is pretty capable.”
“It’s difficult to anticipate how things will unfold, but I’m not looking forward to the cold weather,” she said.
The Trailseeker series was not a particular goal for Sanders, but the events are important because they offer excellent exposure for the riders and sponsors.
“The races are always well organised and well attended. The women have their own start and we get great coverage through live Twitter feeds by Vanessa Bell, who follows the race.”