Desiree Strydom will be seeking to defend her title in her hometown at the Langebaan Country Estate Cycle Challenge in the Western Cape on Saturday.
Strydom, 49, last year won the 80km feature race in 2:16:08, edging out Bianca Holtzkampf by three seconds.
The former Tiletoria rider however admitted she was “much fitter last year”.
“This year I just want to get on the bike, ride and see how it goes,” Strydom told In the Bunch today.
She said she knew from previous experience it would be important to take careful note of the weather conditions before the race.
“You need to look at what the wind directions are on the morning [of the race].
“A north and south-easterly for instance are very different. We do a lot of wind training here in Langebaan.
“We also finish on top of the Mamba hill, which you usually think you will be able to sprint up before suddenly coming to a standstill.”
She recently took part in an endurance race in Italy which she said had slowed her down.
“Then when you do the [shorter] races you’re not as fast as you used to be.
“At the moment I need to work on a bit of speed. You often go to these races thinking you’re the most unfit rider in the group before you actually surprise yourself.
“I enjoy the racing but it does get nerve-racking,” she said, adding that two months ago she had a big crash in a mountain-bike race which made her “nervous” to ride in a big group close to other cyclists.
She is however looking forward to the event. “The race brings many people to our area and both the road race and mountain-bike event are held at the country estate, which is a lovely venue.
“It’s amazing for Langebaan and the west coast.”