Cloudy Hill, Pat Sin Leng, Plover Cove plus plenty of sunshine

Author: ltcommander  //  Category: GORGEOUS TRAILS, Hiking in Hong Kong, My Cloudy Hill!, My Pat Sin Leng!, My Plover Cove!, Other insane runs!



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Cloudy Hill, Pat Sin Leng, Plover Cove plus plenty of sunshine

A poolside Corona or a 37km run?
35 degrees centigrade. 90% humidity. Zero cloud cover. Scorching heat. This is the kind of weather an average Joe would spend relaxing, lying on a poolside bench and sipping an ice-cold Corona. But, us? No, not the Hong Kong Trail Runners. Our way of relaxation in this weather is to go out on a mammoth scorching hot run. And not just any run. Today’s run was the mother of all heatstroke-causing runs. Cloudy Hill, Pat Sin Leng and Plover Cove. 37kms of sheer brutality with over 2200m of accumulated elevation. Extreme endurance training at its very best.

The sunshine lovers – courtesy Vic

Read about the HOT trail running experience and the “rescue” effort up ahead



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Cloudy Hill, Pat Sin Leng AND Plover Cove

Author: ltcommander  //  Category: GORGEOUS TRAILS, Hiking in Hong Kong, My Cloudy Hill!, My Pat Sin Leng!, My Plover Cove!



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Cloudy Hill, Pat Sin Leng AND Plover Cove

We were supposed to have heavy thunderstorms yesterday. So, I conveniently used Hong Kong Observatory’s weather forecast as an excuse to sleep in, instead of getting up early in the morning to do a trail run. When I finally awoke from my slumber, I was full of guilt. Trust me, an athlete succumbing to the vice called “extended sleep” is like a politician succumbing to bribe! What didn’t help one bit was the view from outside my window. The sun was shining nice and bright! I wanted to sue the Hong Kong Observatory for causing needless mental anguish. A couple of hours later, I heard heavy thunder. Soon, black clouds blanketed the skies. Within a span of a couple of hours, the skies went from being illuminated by the sun to being illuminated by frequent lightening. The guys at the observatory probably felt vindicated! I even suggested that they change their motto to: “HK Observatory, we always have the last laugh!”

The prediction for today, yet again, was heavy rain. However, there was no way we were going to fall victim to the trap of extended sleep. Besides, what was in store for the day was way too exciting. We were going to do a run covering three of Hong Kong’s most beautiful trails: Cloudy Hill, Pat Sin leng and my very own home, Plover Cove. That’s like getting a high dosage of endorphins from nature for free! The first time I attempted this run, I ran out of water in the middle of Plover Cove and was suffering from all sorts of cramps until my friend Dominic brought me water at the end of the Plover Cove dam. The second time I attempted it, I almost had a heatstroke on Plover Cove and had to walk at a snail’s pace to complete the course. It took us roughly 4.5 hours just on this leg that day.

Today, the weather seemed perfect for this run. Contrary to the Observatory’s forecast, there was hardly any rain. And, no, they didn’t have the last laugh either! In fact, it was sunny in the afternoon! I guess even the observatory boys get it wrong at times. Steven and I maintained a steady and fast pace on both Cloudy Hill and Pat Sin Leng. I attempted what I call the “tank maneuver” during a lot of the uphill stretches. What is that? Well, basically, it involves pretending that you’re a tank (I mean a US army kind of tank not a water tank!) and “rolling” up the hill effortlessly just like a tank would! (Yes, weird. Well, to each his own!) So, the idea behind this is that, when the going gets tough, the tough gets “rolling”. Unless, of course, the inclination is so high that the “tank” needs reinforcement. And, no, the tank doesn’t have a turret to fire a canon at the hill.

It took as about 3.5 hours to do Cloudy Hill, Pat Sin Leng and run to Wu Kau Tang via Bride’s pool. After refueling at a rather empty shop in Wu Kau Tang, we entered my territory, Plover Cove. Like a responsible owner, I removed random items of garbage I found strewn around on my trail. We kept a fairly comfortable pace and completed this leg of the run in 2 hours 52 minutes, feeling relatively good at the end of it. For the first time in all my attempts, I felt fresh and energized at the end of completing this course.

37 kilometers, almost 2000m in elevation, plenty of greenery and a great adrenalin rush. I couldn’t recommend this course more.

Garmin.

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Cloudy Hill, Pat Sin Leng and Plover Cove

Author: ltcommander  //  Category: GORGEOUS TRAILS, Hiking walk reports, My Cloudy Hill!, My Pat Sin Leng!, My Plover Cove!



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High res pics here.

The Hong Kong observatory predicted rains 3 days back. But after looking out the window today morning, I think they changed their minds. Hot and Sunny was the theme for the day. And boy was it hot! To be attempting to climb 3 massive hills on one day required some courage and a lot of insanity. But, there’s no shortage of insane people in Hong Kong. In fact, other than my insane team of 4 members, there were 3 others who opted for some masochistic pleasure on the hills.

Insane bunch
Pic1

We started nice and early at 7am! The idea was to beat the sun. My shoes, shorts and shirt were drenched in sweat under the sweltering heat. Cloudy Hill + Pat Sin Leng claimed three lives. (Pretty much everyone else other than our core 4-member team).

The surviving 4 of us somehow made it in one piece to Wu Kau Tang to refuel. The shopkeeper at that Dai Pai Dong couldn’t quite believe our itinerary for the day. He also couldn’t believe the amount of water we ordered.

Drinking like camels
Pic1

We were on Plover Cove under 35 degrees centigrade at 12 noon! The next shaky life was my very own! Barely 30 minutes into Plover Cove, I lost power and my legs and hands were literally barbecuing in the sun. Steven waited patiently for me and kept encouraging me to move slowly.

After 4 grueling hours, 36kms and 1700m in elevation, we finished without losing anyone in the team. (Insanity prevailed today).

Happy to finish
Pic1

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Pat Sin Leng + Cloudy Hill

Author: ltcommander  //  Category: GORGEOUS TRAILS, Hiking in Hong Kong, My Cloudy Hill!, My Pat Sin Leng!



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Got up at 0600 in the morning on a Sunday (surprisingly) and instinctively decided to do Pat Sin Leng + Cloudy Hill.

I was in Tai Mei Tuk by 0800 and the weather seemed a little ominous. Some black clouds, drizzle and a lot of breeze. Climbing up Pat Sin Leng was a solo experience as I had the whole hill to myself and it was an awesome experience. Flying into the clouds alone and taking a deep breadth felt invigorating.

On the way down to Cloudy Hill, I saw the first humans on the trail. Strangely, a bunch of old grandpas and grandmas carrying umbrellas. Not sure why only the old folks manage to gather the courage to do hikes in inclement weather but not anyone else.

Cloudy Hill was awesome as usual and I saw the elites Law Chor Kin and Ida Lee again training there.

Stats.

Tai Mei Tuk to last hill of Pat Sin Leng: 35 mins 57 secs
Pat Sin Leng to Cloudy Hill start: 1 hour 1 minute
Cloudy Hill start to Tai Wo KCR: 54 mins 50 secs

Time: 02:32:40
Distance: 17.66 km
Elevation Gain: 1,112 m

Garmin.

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Pat Sin Leng + Cloudy Hill

Author: ltcommander  //  Category: GORGEOUS TRAILS, Hiking in Hong Kong, My Cloudy Hill!, My Pat Sin Leng!



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Great day. Sunny + about 27 degrees.

Stats:
Tai Mei Tuk to first hill of Pat Sin Leng: 38 minutes 55 secs
Pat Sin Leng to beginning of Cloudy Hill: 1 hour 6 mins
Cloudy Hill to Tai Wo station: 59 mins 39 secs

Time: 02:45:13
Distance: 17.70 km
Elevation Gain: 1,103 m

Garmin.

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Pat Sin Leng + Cloudy Hill

Author: ltcommander  //  Category: GORGEOUS TRAILS, Hiking in Hong Kong, My Cloudy Hill!, My Pat Sin Leng!



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The best way to recover from a long, hard and fast trail run is to do a not-that-long, not-that-hard, not-that-fast trail run the next day. No, rest ain’t the answer.

So, after a 30km trail run yesterday, did an almost 20km “recovery” trail run today! The usual Pat Sin Leng + Cloudy Hill but much slower (very, very comfortable pace).

The problem though is that I ran out of water before I could go up to Cloudy Hill. The sting of the sun started to get to me! But, experience has taught me that when the sun hits, you just decrease speed! So, times were off but finished the run without issues. Been eating and drinking nonstop since then!

Start time: 1037 HKT
Tai Mei Tuk to the top of the first Pat Sin Leng hill: 38 minutes 9 secs
Pat Sin Leng hill to Cloudy Hill start: 1 hour 6 minutes
(Tai Mei Tuk to Cloudy Hill start via Pat Sin Leng): 1 hour 44 mins
Cloudy Hill start to Cloudy Hill to Tai Wo Station: 1 hour 6 minutes

Time: 02:51:02
Distance: 17.67 km
Elevation Gain: 1,119 m

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Pat Sin Leng + Cloudy Hill

Author: ltcommander  //  Category: GORGEOUS TRAILS, Hiking in Hong Kong, My Cloudy Hill!, My Pat Sin Leng!



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Holiday today in Hong Kong on account of Ching Ming festival. It’s a festival where one is supposed to pay homage to ancestors by usually burning paper offerings on a mountain. Great festival, I think, because it forces believers to go on a hike! Hopefully, many will appreciate nature more as a result of it, thereby making the world a little less materialistic. Hmm… or maybe I am wrong because the paper offerings are designed to ensure that materialistic needs exist in afterlife! For instance, many are burning iPad paper offerings to ensure non-stop entertainment for their loved ones post death. But, thinking about it some more, after burning those offerings, they have to come back down from the mountains on beautiful trails anyway. So, I’m still hoping the family hiking trip will increase awareness of nature.

Anyway, digressed there a bit.. the idea was to do Pat Sin Leng + Cloudy Hill (short hike as I had to be back in the afternoon).

Starting time: 1015 HKT

Time taken from Tai Mei Tuk bus stop to the last Pat Sin Leng hill: 34 mins 28 secs
Time taken from last Pat Sin Leng hill to the start of Cloudy Hill: 59 mins 14 secs
(Total time from Tai Mei Tuk to Pat Sing Leng to beginning of Cloudy Hill): 1 hour 33 minutes
From beginning of Cloudy Hill to summit to Tai Wo KCR station: 51 mins 30 seconds

Overall
Time: 02:25:12
Distance: 17.81 km
Elevation Gain: 1,100 m

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Cloudy Hill, Pat Sin Leng, Plover Cove

Author: ltcommander  //  Category: GORGEOUS TRAILS, Hiking in Hong Kong, My Cloudy Hill!, My Pat Sin Leng!, My Plover Cove!



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Three big hikes in one! Started in Tai Wo and hit Cloudy Hill first, followed by Pat Sin Leng and then Plover Cove. Plover Cove was a little hot as it is totally exposed.

Overall, no complaints, managed to finish without issues.

37.26 km, 6 hours 44 mins, 1665m elevation gain

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Pat Sin Leng + Cloudy Hill

Author: ltcommander  //  Category: GORGEOUS TRAILS, Hiking in Hong Kong, My Cloudy Hill!, My Pat Sin Leng!



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I told myself before attempting the 100Km race last week that I would rest the ankle for a solid two weeks after the event. So, was largely grounded yesterday and resisted the temptation to put on my hiking shorts and tee shirt today … until about 1pm! Suddenly, at 1pm, the trails started beckoning harder than usual and I could no longer resist the temptation to go for a trail run. Besides, I was telling myself that the best way to cure a swollen ankle is to go trail running! It’s like this: when a snake bites, one needs anti-venom for the cure. Anti-venom is essentially more of a snake bite! An ankle injury is similar. Hardcore trail running might have caused it, so some gentle trail running will cure it! So, armed with that logic, I decided on Plover Cove or Pat Sin Leng (if I couldn’t get the bus to Plover Cove from Tai Po).

The Tsim Sha Tsui pollution and incredibly slow walkers got to me when I stepped into Kimberly Road. So, decided to run to all the way to Hung Hom station. I had to run on the main road as pedestrians on the side walk just wouldn’t give way!! Besides, having watched Transporter 3 in the morning, I felt I could pull off a few Jason Statham kind of stunts myself. So, as I was running on the main road, a car started honking from behind. The car caught up to me pretty quickly and the driver – some Indian guy lowered his glass window and asked me why I was running. It went like this:

Indian Driver: Bhai.. why are you running?? [Bhai is brother in Hindi]
Me: (thinking I am wearing a friggin’ hiking tee shirt and shorts, what does it look like I’m doing?!)
Exercising! (I shouted)
Indian Diver: (puts his hand out the window, has a sarcastic smile on his face and asks me:) Why don’t you run right in the middle of the road? I won’t “crash you”
Me: (trying to think of a witty reply but could only come up with this one)
don’t worry – I have insurance (wondering if I really have insurance?!)
Indian Driver: Ok Bhai! [or maybe it was Ok, Bye!]

Anyway… so after that little Jason Statham kind of fast run, I took the train to Tai Po. Had to go to Pat Sin Leng (no surprise) as the bus to Wu Ku Tang (Plover Cove) was ages away

Stats:
From Tai Mei Tuk bus stop to Pat Sin Leng to Hok Tau to Cloudy hill beginning: 1 hour 41 minutes

Now.. the past few times I have done this, I have ALWAYS ended up missing the Cloudy Hill trail. Today, I was determined to apply my brains. So, reached Cloudy Hill and saw two turnoffs. One to the left (I took this before and was wrong) and there was this narrow trail to the right. I took that. MISTAKE!! It was steep as hell and I was attempting to follow the ribbons hanging from the trees on the side and missed one of them. At 150m above sea level, I found myself bush whacking. I could hear the traffic and noise from the village below, yet it seemed far, far away as I wasn’t going to get there because of the thick overgrowth. So, Plan B was to go back up!! I didn’t want to lose sunlight so went back up to the nearest telephone pylon. As I was preparing to go back up to Cloudy Hill, a ribbon flashed before my eyes. I lowered speed, kept my eyes on all subsequent ribbons and ended up at some village! Had to get a mini bus from there to Tai Po station.

Stats:
Cloudy Hill -> Finish (some village): 1 hour 15 mins (should have taken <60 mins had I gone the right way..)

Garmin.

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Pat Sin Leng + Cloudy Hill (sort of)

Author: ltcommander  //  Category: GORGEOUS TRAILS, Hiking in Hong Kong, My Cloudy Hill!, My Pat Sin Leng!



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Wanted to do a Plover Cove fitness test (if Time Taken From Wu Kau Tang To Tai Mei Tuk < 2 hours 30 minutes then print "Fit" else print "Get fit") but as usual, didn't get the bus from Tai Po. So, history repeated itself. Actually, if the input parameters are the same (in this case, showed up on a Sunday during peak hours) then history will obviously repeat itself. Expecting anything different is insanity (doing the same thing over and over again YET expecting different results). Anyway, I did go with the usual back up plan - Pat Sin Leng and Cloudy Hill (for the umpteenth time this year).. actually the 1st time this year since it's 2011!

Stats:
Start time: 1055 HKT
From the bus stop in Tai Mei Tuk to the top of the first hill or the last hill (depending which way you look at it) of the Pat Sin Leng ridge: 36 minutes 45 seconds
From that summit to the end of Pat Sin Leng and beginning of the trail to Cloudy Hill: 1 hour 2 minutes
From the beginning of the trail to Cloudy Hill to Fung Yuen: 53 minutes 40 seconds

The last time I did this, I somehow couldn't find the trail to Cloudy Hill. And today, well, history repeated itself in the sense that I again somehow failed to get to Cloudy Hill but the input parameters WERE different! Last time I took a right at the beginning after Wilson trail and missed Cloudy Hill but this time I took a left! But I guess I should have gone right at the end of this long concrete trail instead of left (note to myself: Left and then Right!)

Anyway, ended up at Sha Lo Tong and then at a place called Fung Yuen and had to take a bus back to Tai Po.

Tai Mei Tuk bus stop -> Pat Sin Leng -> Cloudy Hill (sort of) -> Sha Lo Tung -> Fung Yuen = 2 hours 33 minutes (17.27km)
Elevation gain: 1084m

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