Pelser, 24, said he was looking forward to the Gran Fondo, which comprises a 171km route with 3 000m of ascent.
“It’s in terrain that I love. I’ve done the pass a few times by bike and once with my family by car, but I was so young. I only have a photo of that.”
He added that he decided to enter because of the challenge it presented to body and mind.
“I love that part of the province and any occasion to ride or race my bicycle there is a must.
“The event organiser has also made a massive impact on the culture and sport of gravel riding. We have to stand together and support these events.”
For the long-distance route that features tough climbs on difficult surfaces including cobblestone and gravel sectors, Pelser has chosen a gravel-specific bike.
“I chose my bike because of the comfort and stiffness it delivers, with the speed in the rear and the flaring bars.
“When I get out of the saddle it’s stiff and on the long corrugated roads I just sit and power through. I’ve done some great long rides in the Midlands and have become extremely comfortable on it.”
The Somerset West local said he was looking forward to being out there “with a rad bunch of okes racing bikes and having a great jol”.
“Route-wise, that section from Meiringspoort all the way back to Prince Albert is my favourite and the most beautiful.”
He felt that the balance of tar and gravel was perfect.
“We set off on tar and that creates the rhythm for the day. I get stronger as the day goes on and managing my own pace will set me up for a good final climb.
“I love races that finish with these massive mountains. It’s similar to the racing we did back in Spain.”
Pelser said he planned on maintaining momentum throughout and keeping himself motivated by absorbing the feeling of the race and surroundings.
“I’ll count down the kilometres of the sectors and set my head on an average that I want to keep for the whole day pretty much.
“I’ll also ensure that I’m hydrated with enough drinks and [eat enough] food. It’s a long time to be out there and eating from the beginning will help me in the last 70km.”
He added that he prepared for the event by spending some long days in the saddle.
“Like the Cape Town Cycle Tour, that route I did twice just to get a 200km day in. We also took the local club rides out from Somerset West to Chapman’s Peak and in between those I spent time on my kickr, building power.”
Pelser said with these endurance events his plan was always to reach his limit by the end.
“For me it’s more a personal achievement of that sole fulfilment of challenging the body again. My mindset is set on a top-five result too.
“To my fellow riders, have fun, honestly. Don’t go too deep in the first 70km. Race or ride it at your desired pace and soak up the atmosphere.
“We don’t have many races that take us through these beautiful areas. The gravel sectors are the hardest, physically and mentally. You have to analyse them whilst you’re on them and follow your own lines.”