The original idea was to try to do Double Au. My main concern were the thunderstorm warnings – would not be fun being up on the ridges with lightnings around.
The weather in the morning looked OK though. There was the thunderstorm warning but look at the lightning radar images did not show any lightnings anywhere. So this looked all good. It got even better when I was on the bus from Sai Kung to Pak Kung Au – it was raining!
Unfortunately it stopped raining by the time I started. And the rain instead of making things better made them much worse. Firstly – it was slippery. And this being the first wet run in my new shoes I needed some time to get used to the slightly different grip (or no grip at times). Even worse was the sauna the rain created. Thanks to the heat I was simply moving through the steam.
Otherwise it was not too bad. As I was planning to go long (I even packed headlamp) my initial pace was easy. Other than sliding around a bit and sweating like a pig it was nice journey through the Mac 4. It brought back memories of Saikung50 and HK100 races. Rooster Hill was surprisingly effortless and unlike during my painful HK100 experience this time I could run down to Kei Ling Ha. Overall Mac 4 bit was a good warm up. I cooled down a bit at the washroom, got a can of cold Coke and refilled the water from the vending machines. The empty water bottles I filled up with tap water for cool down purposes. I was ready for Ma On Shan.
The climb up to the ridge looks really tough from the distance but I quite like it. By now I was getting used to the new shoes on wet surface so sliding around was no longer an issue. The sun was up and it was getting hot but large section of the climb is covered by trees so it was quite OK. There was a bit of breeze up on the ridge (not too much). I ran most of the ridge passing few hikers and runners on the way. This is one of the most beautiful places to be in Hong Kong. But I had long way ahead. I kept on going. First hick up of the day came just at the bottom of the downhill. A large buffalo was resting right across the trail. I was not really sure how to pass by – there was no room at all. I decided to give it a bit of time. While eating and watching the buffalo few runners that I passed earlier arrived. They also decided to wait for the buffalo to move. It would not. One of the other guys went to check the bushes if there is way around through the thick vegetation. There was just enough to make the way through so after about 10-15 minuets I was back on the trail leaving the buffalo behind. About 3-4km later there was another one. But that guy was more courteous leaving enough room to pass by.
I ran most of this section except the climbs. I was still feeling good but starting to feel the effects of heat and especially the humidity. I cooled down in the stream near Gilwell Camp and a bit later crossed the boundary between Mac 4 and Mac 5.
It was getting more difficult to maintain pace towards Tate’s Cairn. I tried to run as much as possible but I was forced to switch to hiking quite often. The actual climb however was quite OK. I remember it took me only about 10 minutes from the beginning of the climb till I reached Shatin Pass Road.
I stretched my legs a bit on the run down the road to the noodle shop. This was planned break place. I had a bowl of noodles, another can of Coke and some water to refill my bottles and water bladder. After cooling down I was ready to continue.
I started feeling OK but soon I was feeling the signs that the heat is going to be major trouble from now on. I tried to keep good pace at least on the climbs but running on the flats and downhills was getting harder and harder. The last part from Beacon Hill to Tai Po Road was just pure struggle. By now I was taking it “CP to CP” way hoping that once I reach Tai Po Road I will find the strength to keep going towards Shing Mun. But I knew that I would be just on the limit with water if I go on to Shing Mun. And also I started to ask myself if I really want to spend the whole Saturday talking to myself. And then when I got to Tai Po Road the heat that hit me sealed it. I was done.
I am pretty sure that should this be a race I would recover and keep on going, legs were still up to it. But on this particular day the brain was in no mood for any more sunshine.
I ended up with about 33km and 2200m of elevation so not too bad training day. But plan was for more…
Link to Strava here.