So, the plan was to do the whole of the Hong Kong Trail (50Km) on a hot, hot day! It was 33 degrees today and the sun was shinin’ bright.. make that super bright!
We started at 0800 in the morning from the Peak at a fast, fast pace! I was following Romain for the first 45 minutes or so but eventually managed to get to the front. Had no issues until Park View (25km mark). Steven caught up and was at the #2 spot.
It took us about 2 hrs 15 mins to reach Park View. After refueling at Park N Shop, we got going and the time was about 1100. After a couple of hills, there was a super boring 10km around-the-reservoir run. That’s when I got hit by the sun.
I was waiting for Steven just before the climb to Dragon’s Back after this reservoir run and when he showed up, we got climbing. I thought of buying water at a nearby shop but I was too lazy to walk down to the shop. BIG MISTAKE. I should have listened to that inner voice which warned me that this could end up being one of those silly mistakes that would invariably come back to bite me in the ass.
As we were climbing the super exposed Dragon’s Back, my sun situation got worse. To remedy the issue, I began sucking on that water-pipe from my Hydrapack. Zilch. Zero. Nada. There was no water! That’s like riding a motorbike on Gear 2 with no petrol in the tank. I knew it was Game Over for me. I was telling myself that I should have managed this risk better and bought water at that Lan Kee shop. Shoulda woulda coulda. Hindsight is 20/20. Well, anyway, Steven overtook me at this point and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to power my engines again without water!
I tried playing it cool and killed speed on the uphills to try and finish the run. There was only about 6-7km left anyway. But, nope, the combination of no water + a strong sun is like the combination of an open wound plus salt! It hurts double! The signs were telling:
- I couldn’t run anymore. Each time I attempted to gain speed, I got a stomach cramp! No salt in the body or fuel in the tank
- pee was super green. (I am sure nature lovers will like the color but the body sure doesn’t). Sign of low salt in the body
- visual feed from the eyes slowed to about 10 frames per second instead of the usual 40 frames/sec. It was like watching everything in slow motion!
- My reflex actions weren’t as spontaneous anymore
- I felt dead tired all of a sudden. I needed a nap!
I still managed to finish Dragon’s back but HAD to get to some water source. I thought of asking someone on the trail for water but refrained from doing so. After completing Dragon’s back, I saw two signs (a) Shek O road – 2Km (b) somethin’ else [where I was supposed to go to finish the trail] – 2.5km.
It sounded to me like the best way to get to a water source was to head to the road. So, I abandoned the run and started walking to Shek O. This was by far the MOST boring 2Km walk I have done in a long, long time! But even at my slow walking speed, I managed to overtake quite a few people!
I was thirsty as hell by the time I reached Shek O and took the first bus I saw without even checking where it was headed. Forgot to turn Garmin off. I reached Sai Wan Ho eventually! That was apparently where the bus was headed! I jumped into a 7-11, gave the Bonaqua bottle a kiss (7/11 lady thought I was weird) and gulped the water. Then turned Garmin off!
Energy came back. Power in the legs returned. Sleep disappeared. And I could run again! That magic of water. The MOST precious liquid in the world.
For a change, I was relishing the cold MTR ride back to Kowloon.
Nice run! Did about 45km of HK Trail (5km short of finishing) but a good lesson learned in Risk Management. Moral of the story: always pay the premium to mitigate considerable risks. The cost of them materializing is far higher!