Archive for China Travel

Lower Shing Mun (Better than running around the river)

A while back I went for a nice longish run from Tai Wai up to Lower Shing Mun reservoir.

It was my first trip there so the GPS file is a spaghetti mess. I will go another day an then attach that GPS file to this post.  It was a good hill workout with a nice flat warm up/down there and back to Tai Wai Station.

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Follow your nose and you should be able to find it.  there are paths left and right of the reservor.  I went left as far as I could and then back to the right for a good look around.

Overall, it is a good hill run with nice views but it is concrete / bitumen.  To my dismay there were no trails I could find.


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Lantau50: Preparation & The Mental Aspect

Part 1:  Preparation

Well, while being pretty fit – I did recognize my own level and limitations. But sometimes things hit you sideways – and even preparation goes out the window. Damn you, Murphy and Your Law!

Lot’s of little things like nutrition and hydration I had planned very well.  Actions taken at CPs were OK and swift for the most part.

I did fail badly at CP3 by erring and not having enough fluids for the long exposed section to come. Should’ve worn a cap to avoid the midday sun on my shaved head. Finally, I almost forgot completely to take my Mineral supplements. This hindered both my performance AND recovery.

These are lessons learnt, so next time I won’t make these mistakes.

Of course, more effort on fitness and diet AND…. tuning up one key area – downhill.

I will do a dedicated downhill trail running session at least once every 2 weeks from now on!

Part 2: The Mental Game

Despite having never run 50KM before, I was not daunted at all – and I think mentally I was in a great state of mind for the most of the race.  Helping some foreign friends – briefing them on what was coming up ahead, and encouraging some other competitors helped distract me from my own near-exhaustion.

Calling on the inspriation from ones near to us that we have lost helped to. It might sound strange, but it is a great time to remember those you loved that are no longer around and what they meant to you.

I also thought of those poor f**kers in Indonesia that carry the sulphur down mountains nearly everyday.  They only earn a pittance – and they don’t complain. So who am I to whine with a a mere 51.92km of trail with a lazy 2600M of vertical gain?

Be comfortable in  your own head. If you spend quite a bit of time training alone (like me) you should be fine. But if you’re a social animal – you may have trouble if you spend extended periods running by yourself.  Your really need to do a bit of it before you get into something like this.

Finally, camaraderie is a great benefit from running in such a race. Chatting with fellow runners along the way is great and we are a great encouragement to each other.

Happy Trails!

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The Innaugural Lantau50: “It’s a Journey”

So many things to say, where should I begin?  It was a great race, but being the first running – there were a few tiny kinks, but nothing that could overshadow a  FANTASTIC race.

For resources online on course, pics etc. check

Some of the friendships made along the way and the beautiful views and terrain…”it’s all good” as they say.

In this Post I will give a brief summary of the race with a few observations.  Another posts will focus on different aspects; organization and the mental aspects – perhaps a guide for others considering entering this race (or similar) in the future.

Start to CheckPoint 1 (CP1)

The start was all well and good, but again a bit of a chokepoint with a rocky uphill section.  But still – manageable. Nothing like the dabacle the previous week. My feet were nearly skewered by trekking poles a few times, but avoided. Geez folks, it’s not Mont Blanc- it’s Discovery Bay, FFS!

After the uphill section, there was a nice flowing single track and a fire trail that I hung back on a bit.  In retrospect, I should’ve pushed myself a bit harder on this downhill. After this downhill the village concrete paths went on for a K or so and to CP1.

CP1 to CP2

A great uphll section that is testing, but not a killer followed by some rock hopping around Sheung Tung Au. Then a short descent into Pak Kung Au for CP2. Feeling fresh.

CP2 to CP3

The easiest or nearly easiest section of the race.  South Lantau Country Trail to Nam Shan. My brain checked out and I fell flat on my face. Dressed the scratches with some clay from the cliff side and continued on, and the adrenaline helped because I did a pretty good time for this section.  Thanks to the wonderful CheckPoint Nurse who dressed and bandaged my bloody hand.

Here is really where things went pear-shaped. My mistakes;

1) Not changing from visor to cap – bright sun and virtually no hair!

2)Not consuming enough fluids at CP for longer section and not taking enough with me – 2L only 😦

3)Eating too much at CP and lingering for too long.

CP3 to CP4

This devolved into a zombie-like hobble around Chi Ma Wan. By the end of it, I snapped out of it to some extent – but wasted over an hour.  FAIL. Positive, met a new friend – David Ong – thanks David for your support and hearing me out.

CP4 to CP5

This was a short session along a coastline and through Mui Wo town.  A solo run.

CP5 to DBPLaza & Finish

This section was fantastic.  Everything you want in a trail run.  BUT – after over 40+K and over 2K+ elevation it was a bit of a tough slog.  It was made worthwhile by a new friend Eva, (AKA CatWoman) and David ran with me for a while too.

Finally – near the rear of the Plaza, both a fellow runner and myself couldn’t find the ribbon to follow. I just went the most direct way to the Plaza and Finish Line. Apparently, DB Management forced the organizers to rent Security Guards that didn’t do their job and went AWOL. Haven’t lived there since 2004, but some things change – and some don’t!

My time was 10H:58M give or take.

Slow, but many places away from last – so by no means shamed.

With this sort of thing, ALL FINISHERS ARE WINNERS ANYWAY.

Congratulations to the organizers for a great race.  See you all back in DB next year if my body hold together!

<…More articles to come…>

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Match Report – Hysan Healthy Hike & Run: A Trail Race with a Traffic Jam!

This was a great day and a great course with one glaring problem.  A massive chokepoint.

The chokepoint was made worse by the fact that EVERYONE started at the same time.

Bang – a narrow staircase, where you can only go up one-by-one.  A wasted 8-9 minutes waiting to get up the staircase. INSANE.

Action Asia – , I expect better.  Indeed, Two Peaks Lantau – did a staggered start – it had a similar chokepoint.

Still – the course was lovely and gentle.  only did the 13KM – and paced a friend (who has never run much more than 10K).  Props to Carmen! – Your Are Tough – go for a 20K + trail race next time! But do your homework first!

I jogged for the most part, and stopped to take a few pics so here they are:

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GPS file: TaiTong13KM.gpx


+ Nice Soft Trail Run and Helping a friend. 🙂

– Traffic Jam 😦

Self Assesment: A good training run and a delight to run within myself 😉

Conclusion: Great day and event, but still have come to expect more from AA, really – fundamental error.

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Lantau 50 – the 2nd Half Recon. 14th March, 2012

This route is divided into 3 Sections

Nam Shan around Chi Ma Wan

From Nam Shan, the route follows the picnic area and then Lo Yan Shan signs to Lo Yan Shan. It is a great undulating run after the slogs up the 2 little peaks (Lo Yan Shan & Mui Tsai Tun). It is a great run around with great views. Note to the SAR Government – please don’t build the giant incinerator and stuff up the view – not to mention pollute a beatiful part of Hong Kong.

Pass the reservoir (check out those big carp) and the prison and follow along to the coastline and Mui Wo.

It undulates and flows – it’s just a great little run. Check the Lantau50 web site for route details.

On a good day, watch out for mountain bikers.  Fortunately – all I did was overtake a few that were going in my direction – 😉

Mui Wo to Hills Southeast

After following the coastline around and past  Mui Wo, this is where I start to think a bit about regrets that I didn’t bring the pics of the route.  But hey – I know the general direction – and there’s plenty of trails all going in the same direction. Following what I believed was the right way – I passed over the hills behind the Government explosive store and to a sign that says “Cow Path to DB”.

Final Bit – Cow Path, Bushwhacking and Discovery Bay

This is where things go a little bit off-course, I found some Lantau50 ribbons, but I think I bushwhacked a bit – and eventually got back on track. There was a lot of mud and slip-sliding – a big contrast to Chi Ma Wan! But a couple of nice creek crossings to rinse off the mud – most of it. Thank you Salonsip (aka Magic Spray) and no thanks to 95+% humidity at this stage as calf cramp struck.  Note to Self: Extra Hydration and more salty snacks if humidity is similar  on race day. Should’ve worn the calf sleeves or long socks…. 😐 Slogged around the final 1K <> before emerging near the DB Reservoir.

From there – along the DB Valley Road to a left turn and down a trail to DB proper ,and the plaza – where I eagerly wolfed down a Giant bucket of UncleRuss coffee, a muesli bar and a banana.

A great half day excursion, I heartily recommend.

No GPS file (who wants people to see the off-route diversions, groan).  But check the Lantau50 web site for route details.

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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: AND the pictures of the route:

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!


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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Idiotic Trail / Running Behaviour

Well, Hong Kong is a great place for many things.  Idiotic trail behaviour seems to be a specialty.

This post will be dynamic, I will keep adding things I have seen on trails (AND other running related stupidity) in Hong Kong that are mind boggling.

Seeing I am an equal opportunity whiner, I will add more from my travels as well. Here’s hoping I can get some pics too!

Here we go for starters;

1) Hanging sleeping bag over trail direction signpost to dry.  Where: Sunset Peak, Lantau When: 1st January, 2012

2) Falun Gong meeting blocking trail entrance.  Where: Kam Shan, Kowloon Reservoir When: 22nd January, 2012

3) People trying to hi-5 you when you are indicating for them to get out of your way: Where/When: Various

4) Obese woman smoking on Ma On Shan.  When: 26th February, 2012 Where: Ma On Shan.

Got to admire her for making it to the top, but  no excuse for smoking in a Country Park – b*tch!

5) Blonde woman gesturing aggressively at our bus when SHE was running on the road TOWARDS ONCOMING TRAFFIC. Grow a brain love, see the bus coming don’t abuse the driver and wave your arm at him – get out of the f’ing way! 31st March 2012 Tai Mong Tsai Road, Sai Kung.

6) Chinese International School (i.e. Mainland kids, caucasian teachers) picnicking at a junction, completely obscuring trail signs with proper picnic areas within a few hundred m in 2 directions and 20m in a third direction. Common sense, people! 6th May @ Shatin McTrail

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