Fairbrook Naze to footbridge at Snake 11th May 2017
Approaching the summit of Fairbrook, I was very happy to see Brent Lindsey who had just been for a trot around Kinder as it was such a lovely evening, some Pennine runners had said they may becoming as well but they hadn't made it so it looked like just us 2. As we were preparing to set off Brent noticed somebody running up towards us - it was Dave Sykes. So we 3 amigos got ready for the first official downhill race. We set our watches and go… straight away Dave Sykes went off like a missile rocket down the first technical section of the descent, I couldn't believe how well he moved, I tried my best to catch up but he was too fast. He hurdled the fence with style and caned it down the steep bit of grassy stuff, I was less elegant in negotiating the fence but then I opened up my stride and caught him on the next section through the boggy trods which is very runnable. I didn't look back and just kept my foot down all the way to the bridge. Dave came in soon after and Brent followed a couple of minutes after. We all agreed on how enjoyable it was. This is a great descent which isn't in any other fell race but is part of the famous Kinder Dozen route created by Ken Jones.
Crookstone Knoll to Rowlee Bridge 18th May 2017
Anybody who has done Andy Harmer's Crookstone Crashout knows this is probably the best descent in the Peak District and racing it on fresh legs should be real fun! Apparently the fastest known time for the descent is 4 mins so that was the target for today. Only Dave Sykes turned up to race so it was a quality over quantity field for this one. Dave took the runners line down the nose from the knoll while I tried to cut the corner over the steeper rougher stuff. I could see in the corner of my eye he had made up ground but coming up was flatter running so it was my time to shine. I over took him just before the wall and followed the trod towards the next section which is the steep bit… I lost control and fell over, Dave over took me but I got straight back up and passed him again near the tree. I had to go all out now to beat Dave so I turned off my brain and descended like a suicidal frog jumping down Eldon hole… That's got to be one of the best 3 and half minutes of my life! After the race we went to the Ladybower for a pint which went down super.
Grindslow Knoll to gate at bottom of descent via the Ponds (Mozs Birthday descent) 15th June 2017
It was great to see Jon Pemberton out for this and again it proved to be a quality over quantity field. I had decided to change the route from what was advertised to the descent on the Moz's birthday race which is my favourite descent (and favourite race) in the Peak District, it also would mean much less running on the flat which seemed very apt. Jon and Dave Sykes left me at the start and I had my work cut out to catch them up. I passed Dave first then cut the corner to the ponds and managed to get in front of Jon and onto the trod that leads towards the steep heathery drop. But Jon wasn't giving up easily and he passed me just before we started to descend. Eyeballs out kamikaze frog style descending couldn't help me this time and the better man won albeit by 2 seconds. Dave Sykes came in shortly behind us, still feeling the effects of the brutal Ennerdale from the weekend. We went for a recovery pint at the Nags and discussed potential future downhill races and adventures of caving / potholing as well as the physical benefits they bring.