Last year the dormakaba pair rode under the Valencia Ladies name and crossed the line ahead of Vera Adrian and Candice Lill, who formed part of the dormakaba team.
“We would love to take the win again and I feel as if we’re in good form to do it but our approach to every race is just to take it as it comes and try to ride our own event,” said Sanders.
“We don’t put pressure on ourselves in the sense where if we don’t win then we feel like failures. So we’re just going to go there, ride our bikes as hard as we can, stick to as much strategy as the race allows and just really have fun.”
She added that they expected to perform well at the three-stage event that opens with a 98km route, followed by a 62km ride before concluding with a 48km stage.
“We know the route well and what to expect. There are sections that suit us really well, but there is also a fair amount of climbing.
“We will approach each day with a new, fresh attitude [even] if anything would go wrong previously. The trails are amazing as with most riding in the country,” said Sanders, who recently won the 3 Towers race alongside McDougall.
“I feel like we have good form after the win [at 3 Towers]. This week we’ve been recovering, keeping our legs turning and making sure we have plenty of rest. We’re both healthy and feel good,” said Sanders.
She added that the first day was important in determining how they were doing and who they were racing against.
“Day two is considered the hardest and longest day with the most climbing, but racing should always be challenging and the whole point is to line up and ride as hard as you can.
“Each day brings its own challenges, so we’ll just face those obstacles when we get there,” said Sanders, who added that they worked well as a team and they always tried to work off each other’s energies and strengths, and supported one another where they could.
Sanders said they would keep their fingers crossed that they did not have any mechanicals, but fortunately their bikes had been looked after properly and everything worked well. They knew the terrain, so tyre choices were standard.
“Hopefully we don’t have any issues. If there are any obstacles, whether it is performance- or mechanical-wise, we will group together and face them as a team.”
She felt the Berg and Bush was one of her favourite races and that it had a particular element that made it special.
“One can always tell the amount of effort that goes into not only preparing trails, but also catering to the rider to make sure they feel like a king or queen each day because they finished,” said Sanders.