I could not make up my mind what run to do on Saturday but repeat of last week’s Mac action was one of the options. Then two things happened. First I failed to wake up early enough. Then I looked out of the window and I saw the ominous polluted haze. For first time in months I seriously contemplated to skip Saturday training. But with TDS getting closer and closer I managed to drag my butt out of the house at the end.
Due to late wake up I decided not to waste too much tie travelling. I went for Wilson 3-4 and then bit of Mac and see if I have any energy and willpower left to go up to Lion Rock (haven’t been up there in years).
The start was not too bad. It was seriously hot but taking the initial climb easy helped things. After few minutes only away from city I had this view:
I passed some hikers and some people dressed like trail runners. But there was one guy who hiked up the steps in unbelievable effortless pace in that heat … I haven’t even tried to follow him.
I climbed up the hill and then the other with the radars or whatever it is and then followed the ridge making sure I don’t miss the correct turn. Once there the shadow was quite a revelation.
I was running solo. With no pressure to keep up with anybody I had time to look around. And running through here many times I finally stopped to look at some of the artworks that line this section of Wilson Trail:
The next few km were quite uneventful. I jogged through some villages, did my best to keep cool and hydrate. My pace was slow but in the heat just moving head was good enough for me.
On one of the road sections I noticed something moving above me. I looked up. What I saw was the largest spider I ever seen in Hong Kong. It was easily 2 maybe 3 times larger than those black/yellow things that we see along the trails. The iPhone photo does not do the justice to the size of this thing … Spiders don’t freak me out but I would not want this one to fall off that lamp and land on my shoulders …
I made it to the Clear Water Bay Road without any major issues. I took a short break at the shop there getting some cold water, cold Coke and even a ice lolly. Keeping cool was the rule of the day.
I navigated through the village and the small vegetable gardens around it. The small climb that followed was not bad, it was under the trees so no issues at all. I tried to take some advantage of this shaded section – all the runable parts I jogged. But when I reached the exposed catchwater I switched to walk. There was the “No name Hill” to climb after it …
The hill was not too bad actually. I was not flying but I felt I am going up in decent place. My plan for the day included also the bonus hill just off the trail before reaching the road. By the time I reached that junction I was still up for it. So I turned right and scrambled up the hill. There was no way I could fly up the way I did in the winter (I found out I have the Strava CR on that climb) but at least I made it up. When I was up on the top of this hill in winter it was really cold and windy up there – I had to turn and go back down right away. This time it was “slightly warmer”:
Continuing on the ridge would eventually connect me to MacLehose Trail. But I decided to leave that exploration to some cooler day. I simply ran down the hill back to Wilson Trail and then followed on the road towards Mac and Shatin Pass.
I ran bits and pieces of the road until the junction with Mac. There I met Sharon and her friend coming down from Mac. As I found out they were doing Double Au. Their pace was much slower than mine at that moment and I was more than happy to adjust my pace to theirs. It was really getting hot by now.
We walked jogged walked and chatted towards the noodle shop at Shatin Pass. The ladies were determined to continue their Double Au conquest. For me all that remained was climb up to the Lion Rock and then return down to Wong Tai Sin. It was tempting to join them and keep on going towards Tai Mo Shan and beyond but I was not sure if on this day with such a late start I would be mentally up for it.
After a short drink refill break we went still together towards Lion Rock. After a while I found myself a bit ahead. I decided to keep pushing a bit. There was always the option that I after Lion Rock I would decided to continue and catch up with them somewhere ahead on Mac.
Another kilometer later came the sharp left turn to the Lion Rock climb. It has been a very long time since I took this turn off the trail and actually climbed up to the top of the Lion. I could not really recall how that climb feels.
It did not feel too bad, it was not actually that difficult. Once at the top with all the views I realized that last time up there I watched the planes approaching Kai Tak airport. That airport closed in 1998 …
I decided to cross the ridge and come down from the “head” side of the lion. I remembered that was possible. So that was what I did. Last fall this rock was pretty prominent during the Umbrella Movement. And the hooks that held the huge banners hanging down from this rock were still visible. I jogged back down to Mac from the other side – only pausing for a quick pic of the lion head:
When back on Mac started to run in the direction of Tai Po Road. But once I reached the pavilion few hundred meters later I realized I am done.
I am not sure if it was the heat or the “not too bad” climb up to the rock but I simply hit the wall. I decided that this was enough. I turned around towards Shatin Pass. The 3-4 km that I had to cover to get back to the noodle shop were tough. All of a sudden it was just one foot ahead of the other. No pace at all.
I struggled back to the shop for a cold drink and without wasting too much time there I ran down to Wong Tai Sin.
At the end I managed to rake up around 24km with some decent climbing. It was not too bad considering how hard time I had just to get out in the morning. But I should have done more …
Link to Strava here.