The path of a righteous rider is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of excited men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the Via Gellia, yes – the valley of darkness, for he his truly the Ilson brothers keeper and the finder of lost children…..

And so it began, the next chapter in the epic dynasty of the mighty Ilson CC.

Just a few weeks into the cycling calendar and the boys from Ilson CC hit the road again this morning with great expectations after a successful but demanding week on life’s treadmill turbulent turbo. Following the epic TT successes of Ant, Spanner , Knighton and Shepherd earlier in the week, the Ilson lads were in great spirits and the mood was high. The sun had been set over glorious West Hallam on that promising Friday evening and it very much seemed that – impossible was nothing – with BIG George making a very a rare but important appearance on the race scene, stopping off for a full fat coke and burner at the Newdigate Pub with del boy Ricky.

Then the alarm….. The 5am…. The calling card, harsh but the best alarm of the week by far and one you want to rise for…. this is what the Ilson CC lads had been waiting for all week. It rang out, deep and loud, exited?? YES – for sure – but – the mood had started to change. No early morning banter this week, no pictures of Snap, Crackel and Pop, just a strong north easterly wind that had blown in from the cold north east….

The skys had become extremely dark…. and two dangerous looking characters had turned up at the start line…

Dave the “Stallion” Stevens and Alex the “Shotgun” Shepard.. Who were these rider gangsters….??? Three Hoss Shoes quivering in the background. These boys had arrived and they looked like they meant business. Young Hartley had messaged Kitch to voice his concerns. “Where these boys actually made in Ilson”… ? Moments later, Kitch (but not Ken) Nick and then very soon after Spanner came peddling on the the scene. Team ilson suddenly felt very buoyant, but the sky’s darkened further still…. and with the shocking news that the infamous Draft King had finally snapped his banjo and was missing in action this morning – the scene was set for a truly soul shattering ride..

The lads put their disappointments behind them and paced their way to Cromford.. . An all time 3rd place out of 1051 Stravaletes from Hartley between Rose and Crown to Horesley chatting to Spanner semi casual was the first cut of the day. John made it look easy….But this was just scraps and there was much more to come.

Kitch had been very quiet all morning. Worryingly so….. but the A6 seems to play to his strengths and light his fire and it was the 2 mile stretch utterly dominated by Kitch to Cromford where the Ilson men started to hide their pain. Kitch on the front during that section is lethal, devastating and painful but that is just the start of what was to come.

Let us take a breather in Cromford. The land that time forgot…

Just before the dark and dangerous climbers strike down on thee with great vengeance and furious anger at those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers Knighton, Spanner and Alex who, at this point were starting to act a little peculiar, shedding jerseys, dropping liquids and generally becoming a little bit disorderly…

Meanwhile, Hartleys head had gone and he was wondering where Ant & Ken had dispersed (forgetting they were never going to be there!) too and he was missing the almighty Godfather Gilly and funk master Tim terribly…. Kitch was there, but motionless, not even breathing, he was all but finished, but this lad his smart and his his hand was poised on the Gramin pause button like a world war 2 sniper… .

The rain began to fall and the wind began to blow harshly on these brave and courageous Ilson boys, a credit to queen and country and determined to become the finest cycling club in the midlands, with an aim to inspire over 100 young cyclist s in the next decade, one of which will reach the highest level if cycling within the same decade,,, ..

Knighton was on his last legs and almost exhausted following a brutal round of questioning in relation to the controversial new team kit. After 9 versions and a Big Bogwash Ballet Box, the jury was still out, but Knighton stuck at it and the kit was finally over the order line. Spanner looking as deadly as ever…

The climb began, heavy, hurting, soul destroying and then boom, pop, bang blast – the team were in pieces and scattered along the road like a dog without a bone and actor out on lone. Spanner, Nick had destroyed the field, but new kid Alexander “The Great Shotgun” Sheperd had rocked Cromford to its core with a sensational effort that left the Ilson team taking a a look in the mirror and at their training plan and seriously considering taking fizzy haribo’s for the first time – next time… At Longcliffe tempers were stretched and team Ilson agreed that from this moment forward they would work as a team. Both Nick and Spanner coaching on the how..

Everyone agreed that whilst working together was a little bit Elton John and very Lord (ish) it was the way forward and something Team Ilson would aspire to achieve

After that little drama and coupled by the fact the route was then mainly downnhill, and despite the heavy rain, harsh wind and truly knackered legs, the individuals rode home as a team, togther and unified in very harsh battle. They were truly one, That team is called Ilson CC and is now, from this day far greater than the sum of its parts.

So in summary a few lessons learned today. Team Ilson discovered their power and the devastating effects of it, but the best sections were where they worked together as team and when they do – n impossible was nothing.

Next week flat route, so please tune in to your next addition of Ilson CC Times.


Blog post written By Dave Hartley

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