Vanessa Bell is back in action after an extensive rest period and will line up at the inaugural Race to the Sun at Hartebeespoort Dam tomorrow.
Bell, who stopped competing last October and started focusing on film coverage of ladies races, said even though she was not 100 per cent fit she felt the race was ideal for her.
“I’m not going into this race feeling fatigued or tired. I initially wanted to do it for fun but it turns out I’m going to race it.”
She added that her aim for the 162km course, which finishes in Sun City, was just to cross the line at the other end.
“I’m not used to this distance, but it will be different and I’m excited to be part of the first one.”
Bell felt the organising company Advendurance was unique in terms of offering different types of disciplines for every kind of cyclist.
“This gravel and open type of road race is going to be cool and I think it’s just offering something else for those who prefer openness but also don’t like cycling among cars.
“This is definitely a whole new discipline and I think it will take off quite successfully.”
She said she was looking forward to doing something different and having the option of competing on a gravel or mountain bike.
“I’ll just aim to keep a good pace going as I’m good at tempo riding. I’ll maintain one speed and not go into it like a 70km race where you go flat out from the start.”
Bell added that her mind was strong, so she would just have to keep going but also enjoy the scenery and be careful not to go too hard or too slowly.
“If I just keep my heart rate at one level the whole time then I should be alright.”
Being a marathon rider she felt her strengths were on the flats where she could just keep going. The wind was also a factor for her.
“If it’s windy it’s another plus, because I actually enjoy it. Mentally it doesn’t break me and actually makes me stronger.”
She felt it would be exciting to win, especially with this being the first edition of the race.
“I’m not used to this distance, but if I just finish it then it would be awesome. Mentally, it should be a good morale-booster.”