Care Action circuit + going Gangnam style on Sharp Peak
Picture this: 5000 people racing up a narrow trail. Plenty of pushing and shoving and jostling and falling. Add to it, bushwhacking, boulder hopping, bum sliding and reckless overtaking. Oh, did I mention pushing, shoving and jostling? Well, one kick ass, hardcore, trail running competition in Hong Kong brings all this action to the general public and that’s CARE ACTION! Now, please don’t interpret “care” as in people “caring” for each other. That ain’t it. This is “care” as in care-for-yourself-or-else-you’ll-be-shoved-off-the-trail kinda care! Seriously, this race isn’t for any shy trail runner. You’ve gotta be an expert at “classic” overtaking (read: running and grabbing the person ahead of you by their shoulder and moving them to one side of the trail before overtaking them). If you don’t do that, someone will do that to you. The Gandhian philosophy (“if you are slapped, kindly show them the other cheek”) will only leave you with two bruised cheeks on Care Action! So, don’t try that! Instead, shove and be shoved! That’s the real Care Action victory. Trust me – I am a shovin’ veteran. And, don’t complain! This is where the fun is! It’s like playing tackle rugby on the trails!
And the course? BEAUTIFUL would be an understatement! Some gentle road running to start off with before climbing up a narrow muddy forest trail with several hundred other people. Then you get some proper overtaking opportunities, i.e. no shoving necessary although advantageous. Take full advantage of this section. You’ll be able to overtake all the way until the turn off to Sharp Peak. And, after that, prepare for some classic falls and some bum sliding, boulder hopping and bushwhacking — all this while enjoying some stunning scenery of misty hills, beautiful beaches and incredible rock formations. But then again, don’t admire it too much because you DON’T want to lose concentration and fall! Keep your focus otherwise the stampede behind ya will kill ya if you fall!
So, seven of us decided to recci and soak in the beauty of the Care Action course in peace, exactly one week before the pushing + shoving that the race next week will invariably bring.
It didn’t take long for our clean legs and tidy shorts to get all muddy and stinky. The recent rains turned the muddy trail into wet, slippery slopes causing some unintended break-dancing moves. (Maybe Michael Jackson practiced his famous “moonwalk” move on such a trail.) Barely 30 minutes into the run, the count of the group’s total number of “inelegant falls” started ticking.
The actual Care Action course doesn’t go up to Sharp Peak’s summit but then I own the place. So, I insisted on my friends climbing up to my summit. Hence, we took a little deviation from the original Care Action route and reached Sharp Peak’s summit “Gangnam” style. Psy will be proud of us. We “rode” our horses all the way upto the summit. By the way, quite shockingly, party queen Olivia didn’t have a party to go to after our run today. I found that so hard to believe that I decided to put that on record in the video (just in case I was dreaming).
After Sharp Peak came one of the most beautiful and technical trails that Sai Kung has to offer! It was a trail runner’s playground – technical twists and turns, dangerously slippery downhill stretches and plenty of boulder hopping. The views were really a treat to the senses. The mist and drizzle added to the experience.
Somewhere during the run, I made the mistake of calling Martijn’s music boring and that seemed to fuel him! He was dancing away to the tune of his high-octane music while blazing down the trails at warp speed. He ran straight down to the edge of the Sai Kung peninsular to a spot that overlooked the vast South China Sea. The three of us sat there admiring the way the waves lashed at the humongous rocks.
Soaking in the beauty of Sai Kung made us hungry, so we ran all the way from the peninsular to some fried rice at Ham Tin restaurant where we waited for the rest of the group.
As we were relishing the taste of some “ka lei chow fan” and “chap choy udong”, I asked the troupe what they thought of the trail. “Beautiful”, “amazing” came the responses from Olivia and Vic who both sported some muddy shorts as evidence of their experience. “Terrible”, came the response from Clewin who evidently thought the course was too wild for him. The course took its toll on Ray too, who seemed to be experiencing discomfort after 20kms of adventure.
Then came the last 10kms of “safe” running! (Well, except for the part where we had to hop over incredibly BIG boulders and climb a very steep but short slope before descending down to the beach before Ham Tin). Then, a long concrete stretch took us all the way from Ham Tin to Pak Tam Chung concluding the 30kms Care Action route!
After running the course, Jinhwa’s world suddenly turned upside down.
Stay tuned for the ultimate “pushing, shoving, jostling and even more pushing” report of the actual race next weekend! (I’m getting myself insured before that…)