The 24-hour race starts in Windhoek, Namibia, this evening. It crosses the Namib Desert overnight before ending in the coastal town of Swakopmund.
Looser, from Hinwil in Switzerland – the mountain-bike capital of the world – has won the taxing race for the past three years in a row.
Despite his successes, Looser said the event posed the types of challenges one couldn’t really train for.
“Some people want to train late at night or early in the morning but for me it’s about holding my rhythm and ending in one piece,” Looser told In the Bunch today.
“Riding at night isn’t so special; it can be tough for your mind because you only see the five metres ahead of you.
“Especially at around 2am to 4am when you start getting tired.”
He said it was important to be cautious when riding in pitch darkness in the middle of a desert.
“There could always maybe be a rock or stone that you can hit and get a mechanical,” Looser said.
“It’s never a free-wheel ride. Even when it’s flat you have to be careful. You also ride in a group [most of the time] so you have to be careful not to hit the wheel of the guy in front of you and crash.
“You have to concentrate all the time and that’s the most difficult part.”
The heat, he said, was understandably a challenge, as were strong headwinds, which he expected to encounter after this evening’s start.
“It’s probably about 36°C today,” Looser said. “The altitude is also a challenge; it will be important not to pace yourself too much in the beginning.
“Last year I went too hard in the beginning and my stomach started giving problems.
“Eating is another important aspect to consider; I always try to make a plan but there’s always something different that happens.”
He added that he usually tried to keep his sugar levels up by drinking Coca-Cola, especially after the 10-hour mark when he was “never able to eat anything”.
“For the last two weeks I’ve been trying to build up for this race by doing longer rides and I felt good. I’ve felt very good the whole year.
“I have a lot of confidence and I’m also quite relaxed because the other guys don’t have the experience I do.
“My body knows exactly how to deal with this race.”
Looser stayed in Stellenbosch for four years before moving back to Switzerland last year.
Adrian is a German-Namibian, and she encouraged Looser to continue to participate in the Desert Dash.
“We usually always travelled back to Namibia after the Wines2Whales to visit her family. [While here] we always did the race.”
He added that he and Adrian had since settled in Switzerland. She had remained there working in her new job while he was staying with her parents and “doing the race alone this year”.