Racing with her partner Neill Ungerer, the pair were flying through the Orange-Fish Tunnel when Ungerer suddenly braked hard and De Villiers nearly ploughed into his back wheel.
The Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge winner swung out to avoid hitting Ungerer, but unfortunately there was a dead-end and she crashed into it at about 50km/h.
“I immediately knew there was something wrong with my left leg. The left side of my face and jaw were also very painful, as was my left shoulder.
“The blood was pumping out of my leg, but luckily Neill took off his heart-rate belt and tightened it around my leg to prevent further blood loss.”
The event’s medics were quickly on the scene and able to stabilise the 46-year-old and transport her to the local hospital from where an ambulance took her to Queenstown.
“In Queenstown I was in the capable hands of specialist orthopaedic surgeon Dr Sharmiin Naidoo. He told me I had broken my tibia and fibula and was diagnosed with four open tibia fractures.
“That Sunday night he operated to remove all the bone fragments and to clean it. And on the Wednesday he did a second operation to insert the screws and put on the external ring fixator.”
De Villiers was in hospital for five days and released on May 3, when she travelled back to Oudtshoorn. Then began her long journey to recover.
“Physically it was and still is very difficult. I’m very active and to suddenly go from 100% to a standstill position was really not easy.
“I had to rely on so much and so many people, such as my husband, kids and mom.
“Emotionally this is one of the most difficult situations I’ve dealt with.”
The two-time Amarider 100Miler champion said she had experienced low points where she felt very down and demoralised.
“On those days I felt useless and depressed – so much so that I didn’t even get out of bed.
“The most difficult part is just to be patient. I really am getting such a big lesson in patience.”
Her patience has paid off as she can now put her full weight on her leg and is working with her physio to regain full strength.
“Everything is going according to plan. I also had X-rays taken yesterday and the doctor is very happy with the bone growth. The fixator is scheduled to be taken off on the 25th.”
De Villiers said she had learnt to be content in the situation she found herself in.
“It’s not easy, but just be the best version of yourself in all circumstances. This accident also taught me to trust God unconditionally.”