What’s your target for 2012?

It seems that we all need something to aim at, with recent research showing that a forthcoming event is the number-one reason to keep riding when it’s cold and wet. There’s nothing wrong with a little motivation, particularly when your first event is just eight weeks away.

Unfortunately I seem to be as unfit as ever, but undeterred I’m aiming for my best-ever finish in the Cape Argus ride in South Africa. It will be my fourth trip to the world’s biggest bike event, but after being buffeted by gale-force winds for two successive years and then suffering food poisoning 12 months ago, I reckon my luck is set to change.

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Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. Without doubt this is the world’s best sportive; nothing else comes remotely close for scale, spectacle or scenery.

More that 40,000 riders tackle this 110-kilometre lap of the Cape peninsula, all on completely closed roads and cheered on by thousands of spectators. Last year I was one of the slowest of the 597 British entries but this time, weather and stomach permitting, I’m aiming to beat four hours and a place in the first 10,000 overall.

That’s my first objective, to be followed in quick succession by the Southern Spring Classic in West Sussex on April 1 and then Cycling Weekly’s very own sportive at Sandown Park, Surrey on April 22.

Younger, fitter riders can manage more, but for a man of my years it’s more than enough of a challenge to keep me in the saddle at least once a week no matter what the weather.

Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly