Cape crusader

After months of deliberation, I’ve finally taken the plunge and entered the Cape Argus. I’ve had enough of all this cold weather, and the chance of starting my sportive-riding season in the warmth of South Africa was just too much to resist.

It will be my second attempt at the world’s biggest timed mass-start ride and I’m almost certain of improving on last year’s performance when I struggled manfully into a 50mph block headwind for almost six hours.

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Finishing 17,646th out of the 25,698 finishers was probably not my finest hour, but there were 15,659 riders who didn’t complete or even start the ride.

The organisers reckoned we were up to two hours slower than usual and beating four hours for the 68 miles should be doable if I can only get out on the bike.

At the time of writing there are just 40 days to go, but for the past week my local lanes have been covered in ice. I delayed Sunday’s outing until 3pm, waiting for most of it to melt, but I still encountered plenty of slippery surfaces. It’s the dilemma most of us face – whether to take the safe option of staying indoors, letting any precious fitness slip away, or taking our chances on the black ice.

Fortunately it looks as though it’s going to be getting a little milder this week, which has got to be good news for all of us.

Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly