When the race convoy rolls out from the Boadicea Way HQ at 0845 to make its way over to the Abberton Reservoir it will be followed by a field of 60 racing cyclists from around the eastern region to take the start of The Abberton Road Race. The annual race has been run by the Colchester Rovers
Cycling Club for over 20 years
The race is a round of the 2019 Eastern Road Race League (ERRL). The ERRL is the premier organisation for club-level road racing in the East of England. Currently, the league consists of 38 member clubs, each of whom promotes one or more road races during the season.
The riders face 7 laps of the Layer de la Haye – Layer Breton – Abberton course before finishing on the rise up to Layer Church from the reservoir after 79 kilometres. There aren’t many hills in this part of the country – the only one of note on the course is a winding lane up to the Hare and Hounds pub in Layer Breton
The wind often plays a major factor in all races around the reservoir circuit and could play a big role in any potential breakaways making it to the finish line.
Late attacks can often punish a dawdling group on the Abberton Reservoir course, with ambitious puncheurs taking advantage of teams’ hesitation to commit to a chase. A strong attack entering the final lap, with 11km to go, has proven successful on more than one occasion.
The final charge for the line begins at 3km to go, as the riders come back to the reservoir for the second time on the last lap. This road is fast, exposed, and regularly buffeted by a strong south-westerly wind. If there’s a sprint finish, expect riders to be lined up in the gutter, fighting for space in the closing kilometres. A slight drag to the line starting with 250m to go can be a platform for late attacks, though they’ve proven more successful from a small group than a large bunch.
Riding the course in the opposite direction to the racing is a great way to spectate a road race. Just be sure to get well out of the way when the race comes through especially in the high-speed sections of the course. No one wants to be the guy who brought down a whole peloton.
Paul Goldsmith, the race organiser for the Rovers, will be looking for several keen volunteers to help with the promotion of this annual event. Whether it be helping in the kitchen or marshalling out on the course all roles are crucial in the club putting on well organised slick regional level event.
Please watch out for Paul’s requests via the normal channels.