After the abandoned ultra hot and polluted attempt to train on MacLehose last week I planned more sensible route for this weekend. Start on Wilson Trail from Yau Tong, join MacLehose at Shatin Pass and then continue to Shing Mun. Reasonable water stop and exit options along the way, some stream to cool down and some decent tree cover.
Stuart and Helen joined me for this one – it was definitely good to have some company. We hiked up the road from Yau Tong station and then started running once we reached the flatter part of the trail. Helen only planned to keep us company up to Shatin Pass and her fast pace reflected this shorter distance. It was important to rectify the situation. Blowing up on first 5km of 30km+ hot summer run would not be smart. We eventually settled into reasonable pace.
It took us a bit longer than expected (or wrongly planned) to reach the Clear Water Bay Road. Helen had to quit here in order not to miss her later appointment. So after brief drinks shopping stop only me and Stuart continued. The trail in the forest section was quite wet and slippery on the rocks so we took it easy there. We jogged on the catchwater but not in any crazy pace – the No Name Hill was looming and energy preservation was necessary.
No Name Hill is always tough in the heat. I took it steady dropping a bit behind Stuart. It felt like the right pace for me. Last time I was here I struggled a lot. This time it sure was not walk in the park but it was OK, no suffer fest.
We made it up the Shatin Pass Road relatively quickly, hiked up the road climb and then jogged to the Shatin Pass noodle shop to refill our water bottles. Bye Wilson, nice to meet you Mac.
After short water break we went on. We decided to make a small detour from MacLehose and climb up to the top of Lion Rock too. I pass quite often under the Lion Rock but I rarely go up. The day was hot but nice today, perfect day to go up for the view. I had my poles and they made the way up much easier. The views up on the ridge were totally worth the extra effort. We spent a bit of time enjoying the the views of Kowloon and Hong Kong on one side and the cloudy Tai Mo Shan on the other. We followed the ridge all the way to the Lion’s head and then jogged down and rejoined Mac.
We jogged / fast hiked all the way until the Beacon Hill climb. The climb was fine, my legs were still feeling surprisingly good. Somewhere here Stuart realized that he may not have enough time to complete the whole route. His new target was Tai Po Road, my target still Shing Mun and maybe a bonus up and down Needle Hill.
We paused for a bit on the top of Beacon Hill reminiscing on our OTW experience and the fun we had with destroyed Sean at the checkpoint here . Then we were on our way. I could feel that the last climb and especially the heat were starting to affect me. Once on the contour trail towards Tai Po Road I could still run but only the really flat or downhill bits. It was not situation critical but I was hurting.
Stuart stopped on Tai Po Road and was on my own to face the monkeys. Not too many of them though. Except the small group that was jumping in and out of the water at the beginning of the reservoir I only met perhaps 5 more on the entire Golden Hill road climb. That was a pleasant surprise. The climb was OK, I had good pace. After cresting the top of the hill I jogged down towards the trail to Shing Mun. I hoped to cool down under one of the pipes at the side of the road but group of hikers occupied it. I did not feel like waiting and so I kept my head hot.
The last trail bit to Shing Mun was tough. It was past 1pm, some parts totally exposed and the midday sun was mean. Eventually I made it to Shing Mun. I knew that I was no position to do that bonus Needle Hill climb. But I still went all the way there across the dam where the Needle Hill climb begins. Plan was to see if the large cloud would cover the sun by the time I get there (meaning GO!) or not (meaning no climbing up). Cloud missed the sun. I turned around and went for minibus .
It was not blisteringly fast in that heat but all in all it went according to plan and beyond (Lion Rock). Good 30km summer workout.
Link to Strava here