The powerhouse duo claimed a winning margin of nearly three hours over runners-up Sarah van Heerden and Cindy Theunissen last year.
Their intention this weekend is to “go in tough and come out tougher” in the 24-hour mountain-bike marathon which starts in Willowmore on Saturday and finishes 230km later in Jeffreys Bay at the other end of the Baviaanskloof.
“We’re so excited for this weekend,” said Hill.
“Theresa and I are stronger than we were going into last year’s event. Emotionally, we’ve both gone through a rollercoaster couple of months and we’re ready to come into this race with a new fire.
“We’re tough women and want to use this to reset our mindsets for the rest of the year.”
Hill, who won this year’s joBerg2c alongside Ralph, added that they had an even bigger fire inside them following the disappointing news of the Swiss Epic. The pair planned to compete in the five-day stage race, but this did unfortunately not work out.
“Together we’ve grown enormously and we pride ourselves in our ability to get back up again once we’ve been knocked down.
“This is us getting back up again.”
She felt that due to this race being so “extra” they wanted to ensure they had enough in the tank to go as hard as they could for the entire race.
“Sometimes we’re going to have to fight hard to stay with groups to help keep the pace as high as possible. Other times we’ll focus on recovering, fuelling up and making sure we’re both doing okay.
“We’re feeding off each other’s excitement right now and aiming to retain our title is definitely in our sights.
“Our Swiss Epic training has added new elements to our bank and we want to see how it positively influences our racing.”
Hill said their strategy would not change much from last year, but they were very versatile when it came to their race plans.
“Anything can happen so we just want to make sure we go out as hard as possible, check in constantly with each other and keep those legs turning.
“We’re incredibly self-motivated but we add to this by encouraging each other once we make it over pinnacle points.”
This event is special to the pair as it marks two years since they first raced together.
“It’s our ‘team-aversary’. It really puts into perspective how far we’ve come. To see all our achievements puts a whole new meaning of motivation into my heart.
“We’re closer than ever. Bring on the challenge.”