So, a week out from the King of the Hill (KOTH) Hong Kong race, I decided to run a reverse version of the route I ran a few weeks earlier. I mean, sure, that hill seemed pretty long on the descent, but I've hiked it numerous times... how hard can it be on a trail run?
Heading out of Sai Kung and looking towards the Ma On Shan... That's what I'm climbing!
Bright sun is beating down, my back's wet... already? oh, I see, my water bladder is leaking. I quickly re-seal it: I don't think I lost that much water at all: no problemo... ah... so foolish.
Looking away from Ma On Shan, out towards the eastern islands as I begin the climb
The climb starts up a road that gains 250m (vertical) over 2km before turning onto a trail, dipping a little and then getting really serious.
This shows the route quite well, with the trail basically climbing up onto the ridgeline on the right of the photo, and winding it's way (up and down) towards the mountains obscured by haze on the left.
Incidentally, I love long runs / hikes where you can point at a distant landmark and say that you're going over (or come from) that thing. It really adds a sense of scale (by some magnitudes) to the adventure.
Sun really beating down by this stage, the subsequent hard pushes followed by slacking off, is a formula that's designed to inflict maximum damage in minimum time.
Reaching the top in about an hour, that's 15mins of flat running and bladder fixing followed by a 45min non-stop-thigh-burning hill climb. Just over a 550m gain in about 5km!!
If you were to design a 45min workout, hard effort for 12mins followed by 3mins at a slower pace with 3 repetitions might be a good way to compress a lot of work into the time frame. You'd probably be pretty tired afterwards (I sure was)... not really ready for a 20km very hilly trail run! Bring it on... as Courage Wolf says: "You remember that last guy who gave up? Neither does anyone else"
A para-glider standing around, trying to draw a large enough audience for take off
At least someone's enjoying the sun beating down as my water supplies start to dwindle
Cruising through the mountains towards Tate's Cairn
Lots of water here, but none that I'm going to drink!
Vistas open up as I just about reach the cross-over between MacLehose and Wilson Trails
Looking a little to the left of the above image
An abandoned building at the bottom of the steep Wilson Trail downhill section
By this stage I was almost totally out of water and planned to buy some at Tseng Lang Shue... but... oh... closed for Chinese Nwe Year? That's... unfortunate. So on I run down towards HKUST.
I see the light.
Getting to the end of the 26.5km I'm totally parched and worn down. I couldn't stomach more than 1L of water and jumped straight in the shower to cool off. I came away with quite a bad headache, fever that night and a lesson about being self-reliant with water!
See you out on the parched trails!
Route map and elevation plot: