The 31-year-old, who grew up in Maritzburg but now lives in Cape Town, will compete in his fifth Munga, which will take riders on a 1 120km route from the Free State capital of Bloemfontein to Wellington in the Western Cape.
In the previous four events, he has recorded finishes of fifth (2016), third (2017) and fourth (2018) before sharing the win with Thinus Redelinghuys last year.
But, for Benkenstein, it’s not so much about winning – it is a chance to refresh his mind, albeit in challenging circumstances.
“I feel I have been lucky to take part in the Munga four times and it’s become part of who I am,” he said.
“It’s an opportunity to explore, to see new things, even though the route stays the same, and to unwind from the daily grind.
“For me it’s a special chance to recentre myself and to reaffirm what matters by stepping away from life’s bubble.
“I just love the challenges and the people in the race, as well as how it feels doing it and completing it. It’s something you can’t quite describe but need to experience to understand.
“Riding far without stopping is part of who I am – I just love it.”
While he is excited about another tilt at the Munga, Benkenstein said he knew you needed to be astute in your approach.
“Patience, self-knowledge and acceptance of what you might face are key elements to handling the race,” he said.
“I’ve learnt that the Karoo doesn’t care about your race goals or what you think you’re capable of.
“My aim is just to make good decisions in the moment and get the most out of my body, whatever it might be capable of right now.”
Thanks to the disruption of the Covid-19 lockdown, Benkenstein said he had not been able to follow his normal structured planning.
“I only really decided to race nine weeks ago and then just focused on riding for fun with a little extra volume added,” he explained.
“In fact, I’ve done all of two intervals in the past nine weeks. I was lucky to be asked to do two four-day tours in the past three weeks which gave some nice blocks of riding.
“So this year my prep has been solely centred on enjoying riding the way I like to. Hopefully that translates into something fun tomorrow.”