The Galileo Risk rider was beaten by dormakaba’s Samantha Sanders, who will be absent on Sunday.
“She is a very strong rider and I lost her early on in the race. Without her, I won’t have a carrot, or maybe I will, because I’m not too sure what the competition looks like,” said Ralph.
Even though a win would be first prize, she said it would be wonderful if she and teammate Sarah Hill could get a first and second placing for their sponsors.
“If she’s first and I’m second, or I’m first and she’s second, we would be very happy with those results.”
Even though Ralph and Hill would race each other, Hill said she would be there to help Ralph win.
“Our focus is on getting her to the top step,” said Hill.
Ralph added that at Trailseeker events she and Hill worked together and helped each other any way they could to achieve the desired result of a double podium.
“We’ll just have to see who is on the start line with us and race as hard as we can. If we’re out of sight then we’ll be out of mind for anyone who is also contending for a similar position.”
Ralph felt the event was becoming increasingly popular and that more professionals were entering.
“I expect Danielle [Strydom] to be there, who came third to me [last year]. It will possibly be between her, Sarah and me, but we’ll just have to see what happens.”
Ralph said she was looking forward to taking part in the 55km race for the second time, even though it was nearing the end of the season.
“Everyone is pretty tired, but it will still be a good race. It’s a shorter distance than what I’m used to so we’ll just go balls to the wall and see how we do.”
The routes featured in the race are ones Ralph regularly trains on, which is something she feels could be to her advantage.
“I haven’t seen if it has changed, but I plan to hop onto the profile and have a look later this week.
“I suppose that’s my strength; knowing the terrain and what to expect. To find really long climbs in Johannesburg is almost impossible, so it will be a punchy race and I think that also suits my style.”
From her previous experience she found the route “pretty flowing”, but she said she expected a couple of bottlenecks as they raced amongst the men. There was always the prospect of getting stuck behind a slower rider.
“There isn’t singletrack, so those are the obstacles that may get in the way.
“I think being polite on the trails and asking the guys to assist, move out the way and just being fantastic like that would make for a fair ladies event.”
Ralph felt excited at the prospect of wrapping up the season after this weekend and enjoying some rest.
“Being a mother, coach, sports masseur, spinning instructor and pro racer is pretty taxing on my mind and body.
“Rest is important and everyone should take a break, enjoy the festive time and be fresh and ready for the upcoming season.”