Putting an end to the infamous Curse of Wilson Ralleigh!

Author: ltcommander  //  Category: Hiking walk reports, THE RACES, Wilson Ralleigh

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Putting an end to the infamous Curse of Wilson Ralleigh

The history
One totally hardcore 78km trail. 3 failed attempts. The first time I hardly managed 25kms of it before crashing and burning on Devil’s Peak (what a fitting name!) At that point, I could barely keep up with teammate April, who was running without any respect for the devils! They got me though.

The second time, a typhoon canceled our rendezvous and never showed up for the meeting either! We ended up having a clear day outside while being stuck at home.

The third time, a 400m hill we didn’t know the name of, i.e. “No-Name” hill (Tung Yung Shaan), took me out. An ankle twist shattered my confidence while climbing up that hill and severe stomach problems followed. I ended up with severe cramps on my legs and could barely walk down from Lead Mine Pass to Tai Po. It was Game Over for me at that point. Wilson won.

And so, I concluded that as far as trails and races go, I was cursed on the Wilson Trail. It simply wasn’t for me. Nature had decided that I was jinxed. I must have severely pissed off Mr. Ralleigh at some point in history. We were sworn enemies.

Fast forward to 2012
Rom Riche didn’t seem to think much of my history with Wilson. He chalked that up to bad coincidence (3 times) and asked me to do the full course with him. I hesitated as Wilson brought back nightmares!

Then, being the action movie buff that I am, I happened to watch Rocky Part One. Then I watched Rocky 2. Then came Rocky 3 followed by Rocky Balboa. And in rare moment of Sylvester Stallone fueled machismo, I said “yes!” (Maybe I should have watched one of those movies where the hero dies at the end?)

And, the d-day: 2012-10-13, Wilson Ralleigh 2012
We showed up at around 7.20am at the start. It was quite an electric atmosphere. There were many Tornado Teams present (read: insane guys attempting 156km -to and fro-). Who in the right mind does that? Over 10 teams! And, our friends Martijn and Olivia were among them.

At the start – courtesy Wilson Express Support

Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Garmins! – courtesy Wilson Express Support

Continue reading about the spell of Wilson Ralleigh

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Goin’ nuts on Wilson Ralleigh 2011

Author: ltcommander  //  Category: Hiking in Hong Kong, THE BOILERPLATE TRAILS, THE RACES, Wilson Ralleigh, Wilson Trail

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First of all, I think the organizers should call this event “Wilson Rally” instead this awkward spelling “Ralleigh”. What’s with that anyway?

Wilson and I are enemies till death do us apart. The first time, I had to abort because I had a flu and I was feeling dizzy on Devil’s peak. The second time, Typhoon Megi canceled our get together. The third time (i.e. yesterday), I ended up having food poisoning and despite all determination to persevere, I crashed and burned at CP7.

Ok, it all started with Carb Loading the day before which seemed to go great until a massive dump took it all away! Kind of like filling water in a big bucket before the base collapses releasing a deluge of water. Anyway, I won’t get into too much detail (you are welcome) but here are comments from Facebook.


Before the race started, I had to pump my body with massive energy. So, my bag of mixed nuts came to the rescue. I gobbled on them while teammate Steven went with his religious racing protocol (coffee 30 minutes before, gel 5 minutes before, etc, etc). (His hardcore preparation for a racing event puts everyone else to shame!)

My body seemed fine for the first hour or so but I could feel a little bit of discomfort as the hours passed. When we reached Quarry Bay MTR station, the discomfort increased but was tolerable. I didn’t read too much into it. We met Dom there who guided us all the way to Yau Tong and gave us supplies to refill during the train journey. We broke most of HK’s rules yesterday for “civilized” people – (a) No eating/drinking on the MTR (EAT THAT!) (b) No jaywalking on busy roads (WATCH ME!) (c) No running in the MTR platform (OH YEAH! TRY AND STOP ME!)

Steven was like a kid in a playground! Devil’s peak, Black Hill did nothing to slow him down. He was fast and talking at the same time while I was trying to fix this little discomfort I was having and kept my mouth shut most of the way in order to concentrate. Then came a scary fall. I fell down sideways but had my arm out just in time to prevent injuries. Took a bit of confidence out but did no lasting damage.

After that, we had the infamous no-name hill to climb. To make things worse, the sun was also out! This is where I lost concentration again and ended up twisting my right ankle. The discomfort was with my stomach and it also dramatically increased at this point. I could not increase pace because of two reasons now (a) Stomach issues (b) Right ankle issues. Steven was way up ahead. With the stomach + leg issues as well as seeing all and sundry pass me by, I was overwhelmed with negativity and lack of confidence. I was pretty sure that Sha Tin Pass was the end of the race for me.

Then I met Steven who was patiently waiting for me at the bottom of the no-name hill. He comforted me and volunteered to retire at Sha Tin Pass! He didn’t want me to go through any lasting injury. Support is a beautiful thing. It suddenly fills you up with positive energy and determination. Knowing I had Steven’s support, I suddenly reversed my decision to retire at Sha Tin Pass and no longer wanted to give in to the stomach discomfort or the ankle pain. I sat down in Sha Tin Pass, got what I thought was a muscle pain relieving cream from the checkpoint (it ended up being Dettol!!) and we continued.

I tried to stabilize the body as much as I could and I got the ankle to behave again. We called our support team and told them to cancel all support as we would likely bail out sooner or later. But, at least for the time being, we persevered. Steven, who showed absolutely no signs of fatigue, was patiently running at my reduced pace. We kept losing time and my mind would keep imagining my bed at home which is exactly where I wanted to be!

We kept at it and reached Shing Mung. Our support team then called us to tell us that they were not going to cancel support! They told us that irrespective of our time, they would be there and support us! That gave me an extra boost but by the time we reached Lead Mine Pass, my stomach problem got much, much worse. Each step was painful. I grabbed a handful of mixed nuts from my bag and immediately detected a stale taste to it and had to spit it all out. It then struck me that maybe that was the culprit.

Once we reached Lead Mine Pass, we met Alex, Ringo, Vivian and KW from the Hong Kong Trampers. It was great to meet my old friends there; although I badly wanted to sit down and break there for 5 mins, I didn’t want to let my macho image down in front of them. So, we went down a trail and stopped there instead for my break! By this time, my calf muscles were cramping up and I knew I had reached my limit for a safe race. Plodding on further would have been counterproductive. So, we asked our support team to meet us at the end of CP7 and we retired there!

Vic, Jinhwa, Annie, Newman from our support team took such good care of me there that I didn’t feel like leaving at all! Ice on the ankles, food, lots of moral support, encouragement, hiking stick, relief for my ailing calf muscles – I had it all! Vic and Jinhwa were ready to run with us all the way to the finish point but in the state I was at, that was ruled out!

After I returned home, sure enough, all the mixed nuts were out through the mouth instead of the preferred method! Massive puking and instant relief! Then I wished I were back on CP7 and we could have finished. At one point, we were #4 in the race!

Anyway, two lessons learnt:
a) Don’t carry stale mixed nuts that are a couple of weeks old
b) Wilson and I are enemies for life but I will be back to defeat my old foe

Special thanks to our fabulous support team and teammate Steven for all his support!


Elevation Profile
Speed Profile

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Tragedy on Wilson

Author: ltcommander  //  Category: Hiking in Hong Kong, THE BOILERPLATE TRAILS, THE RACES, Wilson Ralleigh, Wilson Trail

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Exactly one day before Wilson (80Km hike on 9th October 2009), I felt I had a flu coming on. Had problems with my throat, had a headache and fever. Went to bed at 8.30PM that night to revive myself before the event because I did not want to cancel under any circumstance.

Got up at 6AM on 9th October 2009 and tested myself. Felt about 60% fit. Still had mild fever and a headache. Went anyway. About 5 hours from start, fever went up and I was gradually getting very cold despite the hot temperature. I actually wanted to stand in the sun to feel warmer. Headache got worse and I had problems with my throat as well. Couldn’t quite drink water or eat easily.

Had no choice but to call it a day very soon. Took forever to get home and I was freezing all the way. Not sure when I slept but I think over the past 3 days I have put in more than 2X hours of sleep!

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