Double ‘O’ – Mui WO to Tai O and back! 55kms, 4000m+ elevation!

Double ‘O’ – Mui Wo to Tai O and back! 55kms, 4000m+ elevation!

One of legendary trail runner KK Chan’s killer training runs is a tough run from Mui Wo to Ngong Ping and back! i.e. “The Lantau 4 Peaks”. And that involves climbing each of Hong Kong’s two highest peaks two times! As if that wasn’t enough, Vic wanted to further improvise on this run. Knowing his fondness for torturing himself (and us), he decided to add a little extension post Ngong Ping – a 12km undulating trail from Ngong Ping to Tai O featuring 3 more high hills! That’s Mui Wo -> Sunset Peak -> Lantau Peak -> Ngong Ping -> Lantau Stage 4 -> Man Cheung Po -> Tai O. Then you do an “about turn”, and guess what! You’ll have to do the same thing backwards! 55kms, 4000+ elevation! To put this in perspective, the entire 100km Oxfam Trailwalker course features about 4500m in elevation. In about half the distance, Vic’s improvised course covers an almost equal amount in total elevation. Insane guy.

In anticipation of this run, I bought a brand new pair of shoes to replace my old worn-out dilapidated ones. And, just as I was going to break them in on this run, the day started off with massive thunderstorms. (Nature seemed intent on messing with my new pair of shoes). I didn’t want my shiny new pair of shoes to look like they had been through hell and back so I was reluctant to wear them. But, my old ones were already in the dustbin so I had no choice. I then told myself a dirty joke and wore them, knowing very well that they would look several months older by the end of the day. Ok, I can read your mind – you want to know what the dirty joke is, right? Well, here goes: a lady is confused and asks her friend what she should wear on her honeymoon. She has too many choices of clothes to wear. Her friend finally replies – “it doesn’t matter what you wear because either way you’re going to get screwed!”

The thunderstorms didn’t seem to do much to intimidate the runners. We almost had full attendance. Martin showed up sporting a scruffy, unshaven look to intimidate the mountains while the rest of us showed up looking all gung-ho, ready for some trail torture.

Steven Sparksman, my Trailwalker teammate for several years, once ruled that all runs that begin from Mui Wo have to begin at the Mui Wo postbox right beside the ferry pier. Knowing very well that he’d be tracking our start and performance the same way NASA tracks Curiosity, we made sure that we took our group photo right by the postbox.

The formidable group by our beloved green postbox

Continue reading about the Trail Torture experience

Securing bragging rights by bagging 4 peaks in Lantau

Securing bragging rights by bagging 4 peaks in Lantau

Legendary trail runner KK Chan has several secrets to his success. One of them is a killer 31km training run in Lantau. It goes like this – Mui Wo->Nam Shan->Sunset Peak->Pak Kung Au->Lantau Peak->Ngong Ping->some itty bitty part of the Lantau Trail … AND BACK! We’re talking about something like 2,500m of elevation gain in 31kms. Now you know why they’re such a fit bunch!

We “borrowed” this page from KK’s training book and organized a similar run. 17 runners showed up for this unique opportunity to bag 4 peaks. We assembled nice and early at 7.30am by the postbox in Mui Wo ferry pier. I was about to deliver a prepared keynote speech on Lantau’s rich cultural heritage but I got booed down even before I could begin. What the group found far more interesting was a discussion on how to best wear a Heart Rate Monitor. And, Alice’s revelation on Heart Rate Monitors sparked an immediate widespread interest. She stated an incredible fact which has the potential of delivering a fatal blow to the Vaseline industry while propelling the makers of Heart Rate Monitors to a whole new level. Additionally, it also has the benefit of saving several thousand liters of male blood. Ok, in the interest of complete fairness and unbiased reporting, I have to say that I am not in any way affiliated to either the Vaseline industry or the makers of Heart Rate Monitors. Anyway, enough of this suspense, what she said was -get this – male trail runners can wear their HRM monitors around their nipples to prevent that dreadful chaffing! No more discomfort, no more blood loss, just satisfaction (and an accurate heart rate reading).

Detailed discussion on how to wear a Heart Rate Monitor

Prior to our run, I made the Two Commandments of HKTR Trail Running crystal clear to everyone.
Continue reading about how we bagged 4 peaks