Johannesburg - Cape Argus champion Anriette Schoeman will make her debut in the three-day Sani2c mountain bike race in KwaZulu-Natal starting on Thursday.
The seven-time Argus winner and eight-time national road champion said she was excited to fulfil a long-held ambition.
"There are lots of stage races but I’ve always wanted to do sani2c," Schoeman said on Monday.
"It’s such an awesome event and every seasoned mountain biker raves about it, so I thought I’d put it on my bucket list and I can’t wait to experience it myself.”
Schoeman said she would use the event to sharpen her off-road skills.
"I think because this is my first mountain bike stage race I will just aim to learn and enjoy it," Schoeman said.
"But my competitive nature might kick in at some point and it could turn into a race."
Schoeman, who has represented South Africa at both the Commonwealth and Olympic Games, said she found the discipline a very different challenge to road racing, which involves bunch-oriented riding.
"In mountain biking there is absolutely no place to hide. You have to be physically strong and never get to rest or hide in the peloton," she said.
"I quite enjoy pushing myself, but I must admit mountain biking requires a lot of mental toughness and patience, as you go much slower than on a road bike and half the distance might take twice as long."