Lantau50 Recon Report – the First Half +/-

March 10 was a great day  – perhaps a tad cold and wet, but still great to go from Discovery Bay to Mui Wo.

Before reading on, you might like to use the Lantau50 website as a companion: http://www.lantau50.com/ AND the pictures of the route: https://picasaweb.google.com/117949209238864612682/Lantau50#

Firstly, let me state that while my objective was a Recon Mission, I didn’t obsess with following the exact route PLUS I did meet a few likeminded souls (Howard and Ringo – Hi Guys! ) – and did end up bumbling around for the best part of an hour at the back of Siu Ho Wan (or was it Dai Ho Wan?) – anyway – one of the Ho Wans!

So there’s really no point to share the embarrasing bird excrement-like GPS file.

From Kowloon or NT, the quickest way to get to DB is MTR & bus from Sunny Bay. From HK Island, Ferry would be best.

I divided my route into 5 stages(below):

Stage 1: DB to Lo Fu Tau

Jog from plaza past old clubhouse and along the beach and up past the changing sheds, up steps with small pine trees, through a park and up to the uphill trail for the first uphill slog.  100+ metres of bounding on a trail to descend some steps and follow a concrete path along and a right turn to begin the 2nd stage of the ascent of Lo Fu Tau. Short slog up to Lo Fu Tau.

Stage 2: Behind DB Single Track to Village Concrete

After Lo Fu Tau, there is a short section of absolutely awesome single track with equally awesome panoramas of the Airport, across to Tuen Mun, Castle Peak and Shenzhen beyond. That goes for a way – a couple of KM.  Here is where I diverted from the Lantu50 gospel. ‘Knowing’ the area, I just bounded down a nice trail downhill – knowing it was going where I was going. Ended up close enough, and met the buds (Howard/Ringo)  who sorted me out directionwise (….eventually). Torturous concrete followed for a short section, then we saw the fabled incinerator – and up we went.

Stage 3: BTI to Lantau Trail

BTI – Behind The Incinerator and up, it was mud, lung-busting ascent – but the big benefit of this is is knowing that when you get to the top – you have ascended 65% of the total altitude gain for the whole course within the first 40% of the race. Ironic cheer.

Nice view, and for the botanically inclined – lovely Rhododendrons in bloom all over the hillside(i.e. pink flowers). It was super  muddy and actually started to feel my ankes tightening from carrying the mud, so had to stop and scrape off a lot of the mud.

At this stage I had to manage friction scratches from my Hydrapack (nice to be bleeding from somewhere non-nipple region) – so it let me catch my breath.  Anyway, blah blah, hard slog up to the top and caught the Lantau Trail Stage 2.

Stage 4: Alpine Run & Descent to Pak Kung Au (Tung Chung Road)

Once you get around the top, you can bound around like a mini-alpine adventure for a few KM. Then you have a descent.  If you’ve been good and done you squats and butt, err glute conditioning – you’ll be sweet, otherwise you might be in a bit of trouble.

Pak Kung Au is a good out if you are tired or in pain or just jack of it. Just hop on a bus going left (Mui Wo – check that you’re getting on the right bus, otherwise you may end up at the Buddha or Tai O instead) or right (Tung Chung).

I also picked up my friend, Carmen – who is not as big a masochist as me.  She volunteered to accompany me along the South Lantau Country Trail and for a leisurely lunch.

Stage 5: South Lantau Country Trail & Descent to Mui Wo (Silvermine Bay)

After descending to Pak Kung Au, don’t follow down to the road, just go to the left of the picnic area and follow the South Lantau Country Trail. This is great, because (at least for me) it gives me fond memories of school cross country races of my youth.  It is also great because it lets you pick up some minutes you might have lost in the earlier ascents.  Lifting yourself up over rocks lets you use your upper body a bit more and gives your legs some small respite.

Take the chance – especially if it is warm and sunny – to use the streams along here to splash your head – the cooling helps you save fluids (slow down sweating) and retain energy.

After getting to Nam Shan – this is where the visions of spaghetti bolognaise overcame me. A quick jog down the road to Mui Wo and a visit to Rome Restaurant for their signature spag bol.  Delicious!

Conclusion

This is a tad more than 1/2 of the Lantau50, but a vast majority of the altitude gain. I will do another recon of the rest of the Lantau50 Route later this week and post a report after.  The views are great, it is challenging, but not a killer.

I heartily recommend it.

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