“I had a very good training camp in Spain with my Cape Epic partner for three weeks and I felt very strong. I changed my training and preparations this year and it’s definitely helped a lot,” Luthi told In the Bunch.
Luthi participated in the Tankwa Trek last week with Lia Schrievers. It was her first race of the season and unfortunately for her did not go the way she intended.
“I wasn’t quite feeling at the top of my game at the Tankwa Trek and I think there are many different reasons for it. One of the reasons was a stomach virus on the first day, and terrible sitting problems as well.
“I am hoping I will feel a little bit better in the coming races, but I also understand that the competition is extremely hard and everything has to be absolutely perfect [for one] to be in the front of the race.”
The 36-year-old rider, who recently partnered with Canyon Bicycles, said she had made changes to her training programme in the hope that it would leave her in a better mental and physical condition for future events.
“I realised that I made a big mistake last year. I didn’t feel in proper form during my training rides. I changed that for this year and it’s definitely helped a lot in a physical way.
“I made a slight change over the Christmas and New Year week. Normally I would increase the volume of my preparations continuously, but this year my coach advised me to try something new.
“One of the biggest changes I have made is how I fuel myself on the bike when training. I drink more carbs and make sure not to starve myself during my rides.
“I feel that the training is going really well. I just had a little hiccup with the Tankwa Trek, otherwise I am super excited to get this season going. I love my equipment and I feel like I am in very good shape.”
Luthi said this was the first year she had spent so much time training with her Cape Epic partner, whose name will only be released on Tuesday.
“I have never spent this much time training with my Cape Epic partner before. I always felt it was something that had more potential [for success].
“I find that in pairs racing, like the Cape Epic, it’s incredibly important to have very good teamwork and ultimately to trust each other really well. Partnership truly gets tested in this race.
“I feel that with my partner this year I’ve got a much deeper relationship and I certainly feel that we support each other on a different level in that sense.
“The goal is to ride to my potential and get the best out of my partner. This is a team race and I want to be as good a teammate as I can possibly be.”
The Stellenbosch-based rider says this year she is running her own team, which has given her more motivation and freedom to choose.
“I feel that I can choose my support and my sponsors that support me emotionally a lot better, which gives me a lot of energy. It costs energy to organise everything myself, but I feel it gives back a lot more than it takes.”
The Cape Epic starts on March 15 and comprises a prologue on Table Mountain followed by seven stages through the Ceres and Wellington area of the Western Cape. The mountain bike race covers a total of 647km and 15 550m of vertical ascent.
After the Cape Epic, Luthi has plans to tackle a number of European races, with the world, continental and Swiss championships being her main focus for the year. She also plans to participate in the Swiss Epic.
“To win those titles is something special. It’s also a great honour to wear the Swiss champ jersey. Having the cross on my chest feels special.
“I want to measure myself against the best in the world. It’s what motivates me to give my absolute best in training and improve myself day by day.”