After couple of long Saturday runs at my backyard I decided to move butt to the other side of Hong Kong and do my favourite hilly training run over Needle Hill, Grassy Hill and Tai Mo Shan and back.
The weather forecast was for hot hot day with some showers and possible thunderstorms later in the day. I kind of hoped I could enjoy those showers while avoiding any thunderstorms.
Well it was hoooot… I set off in easy relaxed pace. I wanted to complete the whole run and that would not happen if I exhausted myself on the first hill…
It was raining when I started from Shing Mun but by the time I begun climbing Needle Hill the rain was gone. Needle Hill was quite fine though, not too many people there and the easy pace strategy was working.
Between Needle Hill and Grassy Hill my brain wandered somewhere away and I missed the turn. It took me a while to realize I am enroute to the reservoir. So I backtracked about 2km and made the turn towards Grassy Hill. I was in no hurry but my pace picked up a bit under the trees. When I reached the top of the climb I decided to go all the way to the top of Grassy Hill before running down to Leadmine Pass. I have never been there… So I turned right and went on extra 100 or 200 meters and the a bit of trail to the trig point.
Did not waste much time there and quickly ran down between the cows to Leadmine Pass. Short break to cool down under the water from the taps and time to climb Tai Mo Shan.
The climb was a bit frustrating – I could see clouds moving fast across the hillside but always in front of me. I never got the chance to enjoy them. I was baking on the sun all the way up … But other than that the climb was OK. No major issues.
I started to feel weak though on the run down. I could not run non stop all the way down, I had to switch to walking from time to time. I could not wait for the water pipe that is about 2km from the top on the way, I so needed to cool down. Just before that pipe I met Bei on her way up. After short chat I went on but first I stuffed my head under that water pipe …
I still had about 3km to go down the road at that stage I was not sure if my body would be able to handle that heat and do the return leg back to Shing Mun. It did not look good. I decided to keep my options open and make the decision after the refreshment break at the “Lin Ar aid station” at the Rotary Park.
I sat down there, got some cup noodles, Coke, refilled my water, made new VFUEL mix, cooled down with tap water, packed a bottle of tap water to have something to pour over my head if hot and decided to go back where I came from.
Surprisingly the climb up to Tai Mo Shan was actually OK. The break and food and drinks helped. I cooled down again under that water pipe by the road but that was the only break on the way up. What surely helped was that the clouds kept rolling over covering the sun. By the time I made it to the top the sky was dark and the winds were picking up – it was actually very pleasant. It was very easy for my to push, run, increase my pace, suddenly I was enjoying this run.
Somewhere half the way down I met Bei again (on her way back up). We exchanged few words and continued in opposite directions. Soon I was down at Leadmine Pass.
It was much cooler now and the winds were quite strong. So stopped for a while and checked the weather info. And what I did not see – screen full of weather warnings – thunderstorm warning and strong gusts warning + message that rain is coming soon to my location. I am fine with rain but I had two more hills to climb. Last thing I wanted was end up on the top of the hill in the middle of the thunderstorm … But the radar images showed that storm is still quite fat away so I decided to go and quickly climb the Grassy Hill.
No lightnings and no sound of thunder but the wind was all of sudden very strong and the rain was lashing at right side of my face. It was fun as long as nothing was going to fall on my head. At least the climb was easy in these cool conditions.
I rushed down from Grassy Hill. On the road I ran into those cows that disappeared from Grassy Hill. At few places between Grassy Hill and Needle Hill the winds were pretty insane abut the rain was slowly going away.
When I started climbing the Needle Hill I looked at Tai Mo Shan – the almost black skies turned to some clear blue grey with very clear views – the storm was going somewhere else. I saw a lightning far in the distance. There were quite a lot of people on Needle Hill (surprisingly, in that weather) so I had to navigate through some traffic. But I made it up quite quickly – again thanks to much cooler conditions than in the morning. From the top it was just short run down to the Shing Mun reservoir – but even on that short run it rained, stopped raining, rained again, stopped raining… Just before the dam I ran into bunch of monkeys. They were minding their own business so no monkey business this time. Only quick jog back to the minibus station.
It was definitely an interesting day. Most important I did what I set out to do and at the end it relatively OK pace given the super hot first half and a bit…
Strava link here.