The Port Elizabeth mountain biker won the 50km Longmore race at Crossways Farm Village for the first time last year after trying to win it “too many times to count”.
“Because it takes place in PE, it’s one of the highlights of the year for us locals,” said Joubert, who won the Stellenbosch MTB Challenge and Makro Bestmed MTB Tour this year as he sought to rekindle his passion for racing.
The 20-year-old Momsen-sponsored rider was eager to repeat last year’s success and said about two months of solid training had enabled him to be in even better condition for Sunday.
“The plan will probably be to set a fairly hard tempo and see who stays with me before I try to break away.
“But one can’t always rely on a plan. I’ll have to see what the other guys do in the early kilometres to find out what I must do to get away from them.”
Speaking about his burn-out problems last year, Joubert said he had considered getting out of the sport. But he then changed to a different style of training ‒ more relaxed and unstructured ‒ which put him into a new mindset.
“Taking it easy and not stressing about anything too much, just riding my bike, means I can race flat out and perhaps beat the top guys instead of just trying to stay with them.”
He will also return to the Cape Epic, the catalyst for what turned out to be a rocky 2016 for him.
Joubert took part in the tough eight-day event on five days’ notice after receiving a last-minute opportunity to ride for Team Kargo.
Even though he was slightly underdone, he finished a credible 22nd alongside Durbanite Andrew Warr; a result he was far from disappointed with.
The race went well, but the following months brought about tough times.
“After the Epic, I kept training and racing.
“I didn’t give myself enough time to recover. Eventually my body pulled the brakes and quit on me.”
Joubert’s preparations for next year’s Epic are already well under way.
“Everything is looking positive,” he said. “I’ve decided to drop my studies and cycle fulltime for the next few years to see where it takes me.”
He fancied his chances of continuing the upward trend and said it was “all or nothing from now on”.