Posts

20160514_081403257_iOS

#HKTRP #56 – Talking to Singapore ultra runner Paviter Singh (2/3)

I have with me one of Singapore’s famous ultra runners – Paviter Singh. He did his first ultra in 2011 and since then has done the TNF, CCC and many other races representing Singapore. We’re going to divide this podcast into 3 parts. In the first session, we got to know Paviter better and asked him about his background and what lead him to running. In this 2nd session, we’ll ask him questions about his training program and get him to talk about two of his most memorable races. In the 3rd part, we’ll ask him some personality questions and finish with his goals for 2016.

  • Walk us through the top 1 races, the preparation, the training, the nutrition
  • Did he put a lot of pressure on himself to complete? What was the “outside” pressure like on him?
  • What were the up and down moments of this race? Describe the race to us and what more impressed you about the race
Training: (physical)
  • How often does he train and how? Does he have a routine?
  • What’s his weekly training plan / mileage?
  • Has his training resulted in injuries and if so how does he deal with them?
  • How competitive is Paviter? How important is it to him to best himself? Would he risk injuries in order to achieve certain goals?
  • What’s his philosophy on team runs like the OTW? Would he push his team to do better or would they do it “just for fun” ?
  • Does Paviter take any painkillers during runs? What’s his philosophy on that? What’s been his most painful run?
  • Talk to us about injuries, what he learnt from it. Does he believe in the needle guy?
Training (mental)
  • How does he do so many races / such long distances during painful moments? What’s been his most painful mental moment?
  • What is his philosophy on pain? When does he know when to persist and when not to?
  • What does he tell himself mentally when he has to persist through pain and continue to the finish line?
  • During long distance runs, does he listen to music? How do you maintain your focus?
  • Is he scared he will even run out of challenges?
  • Is he scared he will someday lose his passion for running? What keeps him passionate about running?
  • Has he ever felt like quitting running?
This concludes Part 2 of the podcast. In Part 3 of the podcast, we will continue to talk to Paviter about his personality and goals

To subscribe to this podcast, please go to iTunes and search for The Hong Kong Trail Rockers Podcast (https://itunes.apple.com/hk/podcast/hong-kong-trail-rockers-podcast!/id994423166)

20160514_081403257_iOS

#HKTRP #55 – Talking to Singapore ultra runner Paviter Singh (1/3)

I have with me one of Singapore’s famous ultra runners – Paviter Singh. He did his first ultra in 2011 and since then has done the TNF, CCC and many other races representing Singapore. We’re going to divide this podcast into 3 parts. In the first session, we’ll get to know Paviter better and ask him about his background and what lead him to running. In the 2nd session, we’ll ask him questions about his training program and get him to talk about two of his most memorable races. In the 3rd part, we’ll ask him some personality questions and finish with his goals for 2016.

Show Notes: (The get to know Paviter better section)
  • Who’s Paviter Singh?
  • Was there anything in his past that lead him to trail running?
  • What is his day job?
Trivia for Paviter:
  • I’d ask what is Paviter’s favorite trail in Singapore but Singapore doesn’t really have many trails. Or does it?
  • What’s his favorite race and why? (can be local or overseas)
  • What in Paviter’s view is his best accomplishment in the field of running
  • In his running career, has he had any mentors? Who has had the most influence on him?
  • Does Paviter have role models in the field of running? Who are they and why?
  • Something or someone that has shaped him and his thoughts?
  • Does he have a coach? Who is it? When did he get the coach?
Questions for Paviter:
  • Intro – when did he start hiking/running? (what year) Humble beginnings: where it all started
  • Did he start off as a road runner? Does he enjoy both road running and trail running?
  • Why does he run? What is more fun – running for fun or racing?
  • In his journey so far (both running and racing) – does he have any unforgettable experiences? If so what are the top two experiences he can never forget?
This concludes Part 1 of the podcast. In Part 2 of the podcast, we will continue to talk to Paviter about his training routine – both physical training and mental training

To subscribe to this podcast, please go to iTunes and search for The Hong Kong Trail Rockers Podcast (https://itunes.apple.com/hk/podcast/hong-kong-trail-rockers-podcast!/id994423166)

20160526_050305179_iOS

Talking to Virginie Goethals about Free to Run

Today on the podcast, I’ve got with me a multi faceted woman. Virgine Goethals is a qualified lawyer with a degree in sustainable development. She is also an experienced ultrarunner, and a mother of three beautiful children. Originally from Belgium, she is currently based in Hong Kong after a number of years of studying and private practice in Beijing.
She is highly involved in an organization called Free to Run which is a nonprofit organization that uses running, physical fitness and outdoor adventure as a means of empowering and educating females from conflict-affected communities to overcome the harmful effects of gender, religious and ethnic discrimination.
Virginie brings to Free to Run her experience of working with other non-profit organizations as well as her direct experience acting as a mentor to Free to Run’s first Afghan ultramarathon team. She manages Free to Run’s Hiking to Heal program, tirelessly working to provide running and hiking opportunities to the refugee population in Hong Kong. Virginie speaks English, French, Dutch and conversational in Chinese and Spanish.
Today on the podcast, we’re going to talk to Virginie about her experience as an ultra marathon runner and about the Free to Run organization. So, let me welcome Virgine to the Hong Kong Trail Rockers Podcast.

Show Notes: (The get to know Virginie better section)
  • Please introduce yourself in your own words
  • 3 children – how old are they?
  • How do you balance your time between family and training?
  • What is her day job now?
  • What got you into running?
Trivia for Virginie:
  • What is your favorite trail in Hong Kong and why?
  • What’s his favorite race and why? (can be local or overseas)
  • What in your view is his best accomplishment in the field of running
  • In your running career, do you have any mentors? Who has had the most influence on you?
  • Do you  have role models in the field of running? Who are they and why?
The Free To Run Organization:
  • Talk to us about the Free to Run Organization. What is it?
  • How did she get to know about it?
  • Why is this cause to important to her?
  • When was it founded?
  • How does running or hiking empower people in her opinion, especially refugees?
  • What have they achieved so far?
  • Talk about 2 of the most unforgettable experiences she has had as part of serving this organization?
  • What is the future vision?
  • Hiking and track training for refugees
    • How does the training work?
    • Is it harder to train people who’ve had greater setbacks?
    • What did she learn from doing this?
Running accomplishments:
  • When did she get into running?
  • How did her running career evolve?
  • Talk to us about Gobi in 2012
  • Talk about UTMF – 169km 35.35 hours in 2014
  • Talk to us about training for Laveredo
Conclusion:
  • How can one get involved in Free To Run?
  • Where can one find more information on this?

To subscribe to this podcast, please go to iTunes and search for The Hong Kong Trail Rockers Podcast (https://itunes.apple.com/hk/podcast/hong-kong-trail-rockers-podcast!/id994423166)

20160509_092456322_iOS

#HKTRP #53 – Talking to Trail Running Legend Stone Tsang (3/3)

I have with me one of Hong Kong’s Trail Running legends – Stone Tsang. He is recognized as one of the top runners of Hong Kong, if not the top Hong runner. Some of his accomplishments are:
  • First HK-er to win Action Asia Challenge
  • 9th Overall in Ultra Trail World Tour
  • Top Hong Kong finisher (20th overall) in UTMB
  • 2nd place overall in HK100 / TNF 100
This list runs huge. We will attempt to paint a picture of what lead him to start trail running and how he managed to become one of the top runners in Hong Kong. We’ll split the podcast into 3 parts, in the first part, as always, we’ll start with the humble beginnings, get to know Stone better and attempt to paint a picture of what got Stone into trail running.
In the second part, we’ll drill into his physical training routine. We’ll ask him how he trains / what his weekly mileage is and so on. We’ll also talk about 2 of his top races and his experience through them.
And, in the final part of the podcast, we’ll ask him some personality questions / future goals and conclude with some of his advice for budding trail runners.

Part 3:
In this part of the podcast, we’ll talk to Stone about his mental training strategies and will also ask him some personality questions. We will conclude by asking him about his future goals
Training (mental)
  • How does he do so many races / such long distances during painful moments? What’s been his most painful mental moment?
  • What is his philosophy on pain? When does he know when to persist and when not to?
  • What does he tell himself mentally when he has to persist through pain and continue to the finish line?
  • During long distance runs, does he listen to music? How do you maintain your focus?
  • Is he scared that someday he might not be able to defend his top spots?
  • Is he scared he will even run out of challenges?
  • Is he scared he will someday lose his passion for running? What keeps him passionate about running?
  • When he is running, does he view competition as targets he has to overtake? Are there people he wants to overtake and be ahead of?
  • What are his downtimes in running? When he didn’t want to run and felt miserable?
  • Which is more fulfilling? Work or running?
  • Does he believe in taking medicines? If so, when and how? Has he taken medicines before during a race in order to finish the race?
  • What does he think about DNF-ing?
  • Talk about the “No Concrete Movement” with AFCD
Personality:
  • If he could not run, what else would he do?
  • Does he have any strategies for mental training?
Goals:
  • As far as running is concerned what are his goals for 2016?
  • Has he even thought of attempting the Grand Slam (either HK or USA) or doing the 4 Trails?
Advice:
  • For beginners getting into 100km+ running, what kind of advice does he have?

To subscribe to this podcast, please go to iTunes and search for The Hong Kong Trail Rockers Podcast (https://itunes.apple.com/hk/podcast/hong-kong-trail-rockers-podcast!/id994423166)

Group pic at the summit

Climbing Mount Rinjani in one day – Lombok, Indonesia (June 2016)

After a cool friend’s real cool wedding party in Bali, we decided to climb Mt Rinjani in Lombok, Indonesia. Here’s our preliminary research on attempting to climb Rinjani.

The prep:

“Details on how to get there: get to Lombok by ferry or bus. 
 
Fast ferry (8am to 1.30pm) takes 2 hours and slow ferry (operates 24 hours) takes 4.5 hours. Port in Lambok is called Lembar. Takes about 4 hours to get to Senaru or Sembalun from Lembar by taxi. 
 

Then there are two options to climb Rinjani:

  • Senaru at an elevation of 600m close to Western side resort area Sengigi
  • Sembalun Lawang (1150m) eastern side. Closer to summit (we chose this route)

From Senaru, it takes 6 hours to reach the crater rim. 

 
From Sembalun Lawang, it takes 8 hours to the Plawangan II and 2638m via Posi 1/2/3. Stay at the campsite and leave at 3am for the summit”
 
And, here’s a photo blog of what transpired.

The beginning:
We decided to climb to Rinjani from Sembalun (1500m elevation) and return the same way. The very friendly owner at Rinjani guesthouse in Sembalun (where we stayed) told us that “this was not possible” and that it was normally a “one night two day” trip. He also told us that we had to have a guide. We hired a guide called Hasan for 400k (it became 650k later on when we told him at the crater rim that we wanted to summit). He told us that it would take us 8 hours to get to the rim and another 6 hours to get back. He had an athletic build and looked very friendly but didn’t really seem to believe or understand that we wanted to attempt to summit Rinjani in one day.

Landing in Lombok

Landing in Lombok

View of Lombok from the plane

View of Lombok from the plane

The bumpy ride to the start:
We paid 150k per person for the permit at the tourist guesthouse for the climb (we were told that they increased the price to 350k for visitors from the next day onwards) and then came a very bumpy 15-minute ride to the start of the trail.

Selfie at Lombok airport

Selfie at Lombok airport

Rinjani guesthouse

Rinjani guesthouse

In the pick up truck to the start

In the pick up truck to the start

At the tourist place for the permit

At the tourist place for the permit

Here’s a video:

Pos 1, Pos 2, Pos 3, Pos 4 … Base camp:
The start of the trail went through this green meadow which eventually lead to a little “hut” called “Pos 1”. It was not a hut where people could stay, more like a marker in the shape of a hut.

The meadow at the start

The meadow at the start

A selfie with Hasan

A selfie with Hasan

Hasan told us that it would take around 2 hours to reach Pos 1 but in reality it took only about 45 minutes. All the times quoted by the guide were “grandma” times, even at our walking pace.

The conversation Ollie had with Hasan at the start was classic:

Ollie: Hasan, is Rinjani’s someone’s name? What does it mean?
Hasan: Yes, it is someone’s name
Ollie: Really, who?
Hasan: Rinjani
Ollie: (What a great answer!)

Reminds me of an old joke.
Teacher: Who can tell me what John Smith’s wife is called?
Student: Me, me!
Teacher: Great! What is it?
Student: Mrs. Smith

A handsome guy going to Pos 2

A handsome guy going to Pos 2

Climbing up to Pos 3

Climbing up to Pos 3

Monkeys of Lombok. Different to their Shing Mun cousins with the pink butts

Monkeys of Lombok. Different to their Shing Mun cousins with the pink butts

The Base Camp

The Base Camp

Clouds, Clouds everywhere

Clouds, Clouds everywhere

Posing near the Base Camp

Posing near the Base Camp

Nice colours

Nice colours

The trail was relatively easy until Pos 3 after which there was a pretty sharp incline all the way to the rim of the crater, aka the Base Camp. The Base Camp was literally a big row of tents flanked by big piles of garbage on either side. From the rim of the crater, we were suposed to see a spectacular backdrop of a volcanic lake but our view of the lake was instead replaced by white clouds. But, not ones to be perturbed by the uncontrollable forces of nature, we still imagined the lake in the backdrop and took ample selfies! After all, doesn’t beauty lie in the eyes of the beholder?

Base Camp to the Summit:
Our guide who quoted 7 hours to get to the Base Camp, i.e., the rim of the crater, was pleasantly surprised to find out that it only took us 3 hours to get there. We told him that we wanted to summit which is when he said that our “program” at 400k didn’t involve a guide service to the summit. 250k more did it! (Our 650k -guide fee for the three of us- plus 150k -each person at the tourist center for the “entry ticket”- was still way cheaper than the 2M it would have cost to do the boilerplate “one night two days” tour). And about that “one night two days” Rinjani tour, I don’t think the money would have been so much a dampening factor for me, instead staying at the Base Camp amidst the smell of garbage, pee and you-know-what would have flushed that idea!

Our guide said it would take 3.5 hours to get to the summit from the Base Camp. Judging from recent experience, we thought it would only take a fraction of that time as the summit was only 3kms away from the Base Camp. But, this time he was right – it took us 3 whole hours! Why? It was like walking on quicksand at 3500m above sea level! Ollie’s Oreo package suddenly popped because of the increase in altitude. Imagine climbing up slushy 20cm thick lose gravel and mud in thin air! It was like a bike spinning on its wheels in desert sand. Also, quite frequently, a little detour from the main trail lead to a “tour de feces” and a “tour de tissue”. Yup, dried human excrement is what I’m talking about! So, imagine you’re a fast guy trying to climb up Rinjani and you take a little shortcut by the side of the trail, lose your grip and fall face down in the mud. Now, normally that would be a-ok and even good fun BUT if that side of the trail had dried human feces on it then that wouldn’t too much fun, would it? Now, I am not saying that that happened to me… (Or am I?)

Anyway, amidst this discussion of human feces, garbage, quicksand and slushy terrain, I want to make it clear that this was still a very enjoyable experience! The views of the ridge, the dance of the clouds, the pyramid shaped volcano, the jagged terrain with distinctive volcanic features were all highlights of this experience. And, when the clouds suddenly cleared at the summit, that was the biggest highlight of them all! Anyway, so back to the story…

Posing before getting to the summit

Posing before getting to the summit

Climbing this wasn't easy

Climbing this wasn’t easy

The volcanic terrain

The volcanic terrain

This is what we found on the summit

This is what we found on the summit

Group pic at the summit

Group pic at the summit

Views from the summit

Views from the summit

Views from the summit

Views from the summit

Dance of the clouds

Dance of the clouds

More cloud dance

More cloud dance

The Summit:
Our guide was much slower than us. Dom had some jet lagged moments where he slowed down and Ollie was using her poles like a cruising machine to get to the top. Not wanting to go astray on another “tour de feces”, I went steadily up the beaten path, one foot in front of another using Ollie as my metronome. I was also playing DJ and had Robin Schulz’s “Sugar” playing in the background. I also added my own vocals to it which I’m sure Dom and Ollie didn’t appreciate – although they were either too polite or too busy focusing on the climb to comment on my great voice. Speaking of which, I still don’t know what “sugar, how you get so fly” really means. I get “high” but “fly”?

Anyway, we plodded on and reached the summit, only to be welcome by more and more clouds. It also started drizzling. We took selfies holding a little sign that was on the summit which read “Ringani – 3726m”. We then high fived each other to celebrate our 3-hour walk through that quicksand like terrain. After that, Ollie started to walk down. Just as Dom and I were about to follow suite, the clouds started to clear. The sun then revealed its power and the majestic views no longer needed to be left to mere imagination. It was amazingly scenic – yet another wonder of Mother Nature.

The Summit

The Summit

You're looking at the crater

You’re looking at the crater

Summit back down to Base Camp:
The descent was such a memorable experience. It really felt like we were skiing on fertile mud! The shoes took in several ladles full of volcanic soil as I leaned backwards, spun my legs around in a cycling motion and let gravity do the talking! What took 3 hours to go up, only took 40 minutes on the way down! That’s the power of momentum on that trail!

And, nature had its little surprise waiting for us at the rim. Those clouds that begged us to imagine the views from the rim on the way up, dispersed gracefully to reveal that stunning lake in the backdrop. Some of the clouds danced around and artistically lingered in the air adding to the serene setting. Beauty didn’t really have to be in the eyes of the beholder. It was literally everywhere! The lake and the setting was yet another wonder of nature!

My shoe had plenty of volcanic mud in it on the way down

My shoe had plenty of volcanic mud in it on the way down

Coming down

Coming down

More Cloud Dance

More Cloud Dance

The beauty of the lake finally revealed at the crater

The beauty of the lake finally revealed at the crater

With the lake in the backdrop

With the lake in the backdrop

Admiring the beauty of the lake

Admiring the beauty of the lake

 

Video of the descent:

 

Back via the meadows to Sembalun

Back via the meadows to Sembalun


Base Camp back to the guesthouse:
I enjoyed this so much! It was a fab trail run down (quite technical at times with rocks and tree roots) all the way to Pos 4. Our guide was definitely getting quite an unanticipated workout. After Pos 3, however, I managed to twist my ankle not once, not twice but thrice! Luckily, other than some swelling, it was okay enough to permit jogging to the finish!

After clocking something like 25km of distance and 2600m of accumulated elevation for the day, we reached the village where our pick up truck was waiting for us. At 6pm, we were back at the guesthouse.

All in all, it took about 11 hours for the trip to the top of Rinjani and back from Sembalun.

At the finish! Back in the pick up truck

At the finish! Back in the pick up truck

The verdict:
I know I say this about pretty much every hike or climb I’ve done but this was also awesome! Friendly people, great views, solid exercise, amazing scenery and awesome company!

I hope the tourist office does something about all the rubbish on the trail and that nature takes cares of all the human waste near the campsite!

My biggest advice to everyone attempting Rinjani, follow your nose, stay on the trail and enjoy Tour De Rinjani, not Tour De Feces. Yup, no shit. That’s the way to go my friend.

Pages

20160514_081403257_iOS

#HKTRP #56 – Talking to Singapore ultra runner Paviter Singh (2/3)

I have with me one of Singapore’s famous ultra runners – Paviter Singh. He did his first ultra in 2011 and since then has done the TNF, CCC and many other races representing Singapore. We’re going to divide this podcast into 3 parts. In the first session, we got to know Paviter better and asked him about his background and what lead him to running. In this 2nd session, we’ll ask him questions about his training program and get him to talk about two of his most memorable races. In the 3rd part, we’ll ask him some personality questions and finish with his goals for 2016.

  • Walk us through the top 1 races, the preparation, the training, the nutrition
  • Did he put a lot of pressure on himself to complete? What was the “outside” pressure like on him?
  • What were the up and down moments of this race? Describe the race to us and what more impressed you about the race
Training: (physical)
  • How often does he train and how? Does he have a routine?
  • What’s his weekly training plan / mileage?
  • Has his training resulted in injuries and if so how does he deal with them?
  • How competitive is Paviter? How important is it to him to best himself? Would he risk injuries in order to achieve certain goals?
  • What’s his philosophy on team runs like the OTW? Would he push his team to do better or would they do it “just for fun” ?
  • Does Paviter take any painkillers during runs? What’s his philosophy on that? What’s been his most painful run?
  • Talk to us about injuries, what he learnt from it. Does he believe in the needle guy?
Training (mental)
  • How does he do so many races / such long distances during painful moments? What’s been his most painful mental moment?
  • What is his philosophy on pain? When does he know when to persist and when not to?
  • What does he tell himself mentally when he has to persist through pain and continue to the finish line?
  • During long distance runs, does he listen to music? How do you maintain your focus?
  • Is he scared he will even run out of challenges?
  • Is he scared he will someday lose his passion for running? What keeps him passionate about running?
  • Has he ever felt like quitting running?
This concludes Part 2 of the podcast. In Part 3 of the podcast, we will continue to talk to Paviter about his personality and goals

To subscribe to this podcast, please go to iTunes and search for The Hong Kong Trail Rockers Podcast (https://itunes.apple.com/hk/podcast/hong-kong-trail-rockers-podcast!/id994423166)

20160514_081403257_iOS

#HKTRP #55 – Talking to Singapore ultra runner Paviter Singh (1/3)

I have with me one of Singapore’s famous ultra runners – Paviter Singh. He did his first ultra in 2011 and since then has done the TNF, CCC and many other races representing Singapore. We’re going to divide this podcast into 3 parts. In the first session, we’ll get to know Paviter better and ask him about his background and what lead him to running. In the 2nd session, we’ll ask him questions about his training program and get him to talk about two of his most memorable races. In the 3rd part, we’ll ask him some personality questions and finish with his goals for 2016.

Show Notes: (The get to know Paviter better section)
  • Who’s Paviter Singh?
  • Was there anything in his past that lead him to trail running?
  • What is his day job?
Trivia for Paviter:
  • I’d ask what is Paviter’s favorite trail in Singapore but Singapore doesn’t really have many trails. Or does it?
  • What’s his favorite race and why? (can be local or overseas)
  • What in Paviter’s view is his best accomplishment in the field of running
  • In his running career, has he had any mentors? Who has had the most influence on him?
  • Does Paviter have role models in the field of running? Who are they and why?
  • Something or someone that has shaped him and his thoughts?
  • Does he have a coach? Who is it? When did he get the coach?
Questions for Paviter:
  • Intro – when did he start hiking/running? (what year) Humble beginnings: where it all started
  • Did he start off as a road runner? Does he enjoy both road running and trail running?
  • Why does he run? What is more fun – running for fun or racing?
  • In his journey so far (both running and racing) – does he have any unforgettable experiences? If so what are the top two experiences he can never forget?
This concludes Part 1 of the podcast. In Part 2 of the podcast, we will continue to talk to Paviter about his training routine – both physical training and mental training

To subscribe to this podcast, please go to iTunes and search for The Hong Kong Trail Rockers Podcast (https://itunes.apple.com/hk/podcast/hong-kong-trail-rockers-podcast!/id994423166)

20160526_050305179_iOS

Talking to Virginie Goethals about Free to Run

Today on the podcast, I’ve got with me a multi faceted woman. Virgine Goethals is a qualified lawyer with a degree in sustainable development. She is also an experienced ultrarunner, and a mother of three beautiful children. Originally from Belgium, she is currently based in Hong Kong after a number of years of studying and private practice in Beijing.
She is highly involved in an organization called Free to Run which is a nonprofit organization that uses running, physical fitness and outdoor adventure as a means of empowering and educating females from conflict-affected communities to overcome the harmful effects of gender, religious and ethnic discrimination.
Virginie brings to Free to Run her experience of working with other non-profit organizations as well as her direct experience acting as a mentor to Free to Run’s first Afghan ultramarathon team. She manages Free to Run’s Hiking to Heal program, tirelessly working to provide running and hiking opportunities to the refugee population in Hong Kong. Virginie speaks English, French, Dutch and conversational in Chinese and Spanish.
Today on the podcast, we’re going to talk to Virginie about her experience as an ultra marathon runner and about the Free to Run organization. So, let me welcome Virgine to the Hong Kong Trail Rockers Podcast.

Show Notes: (The get to know Virginie better section)
  • Please introduce yourself in your own words
  • 3 children – how old are they?
  • How do you balance your time between family and training?
  • What is her day job now?
  • What got you into running?
Trivia for Virginie:
  • What is your favorite trail in Hong Kong and why?
  • What’s his favorite race and why? (can be local or overseas)
  • What in your view is his best accomplishment in the field of running
  • In your running career, do you have any mentors? Who has had the most influence on you?
  • Do you  have role models in the field of running? Who are they and why?
The Free To Run Organization:
  • Talk to us about the Free to Run Organization. What is it?
  • How did she get to know about it?
  • Why is this cause to important to her?
  • When was it founded?
  • How does running or hiking empower people in her opinion, especially refugees?
  • What have they achieved so far?
  • Talk about 2 of the most unforgettable experiences she has had as part of serving this organization?
  • What is the future vision?
  • Hiking and track training for refugees
    • How does the training work?
    • Is it harder to train people who’ve had greater setbacks?
    • What did she learn from doing this?
Running accomplishments:
  • When did she get into running?
  • How did her running career evolve?
  • Talk to us about Gobi in 2012
  • Talk about UTMF – 169km 35.35 hours in 2014
  • Talk to us about training for Laveredo
Conclusion:
  • How can one get involved in Free To Run?
  • Where can one find more information on this?

To subscribe to this podcast, please go to iTunes and search for The Hong Kong Trail Rockers Podcast (https://itunes.apple.com/hk/podcast/hong-kong-trail-rockers-podcast!/id994423166)

20160509_092456322_iOS

#HKTRP #53 – Talking to Trail Running Legend Stone Tsang (3/3)

I have with me one of Hong Kong’s Trail Running legends – Stone Tsang. He is recognized as one of the top runners of Hong Kong, if not the top Hong runner. Some of his accomplishments are:
  • First HK-er to win Action Asia Challenge
  • 9th Overall in Ultra Trail World Tour
  • Top Hong Kong finisher (20th overall) in UTMB
  • 2nd place overall in HK100 / TNF 100
This list runs huge. We will attempt to paint a picture of what lead him to start trail running and how he managed to become one of the top runners in Hong Kong. We’ll split the podcast into 3 parts, in the first part, as always, we’ll start with the humble beginnings, get to know Stone better and attempt to paint a picture of what got Stone into trail running.
In the second part, we’ll drill into his physical training routine. We’ll ask him how he trains / what his weekly mileage is and so on. We’ll also talk about 2 of his top races and his experience through them.
And, in the final part of the podcast, we’ll ask him some personality questions / future goals and conclude with some of his advice for budding trail runners.

Part 3:
In this part of the podcast, we’ll talk to Stone about his mental training strategies and will also ask him some personality questions. We will conclude by asking him about his future goals
Training (mental)
  • How does he do so many races / such long distances during painful moments? What’s been his most painful mental moment?
  • What is his philosophy on pain? When does he know when to persist and when not to?
  • What does he tell himself mentally when he has to persist through pain and continue to the finish line?
  • During long distance runs, does he listen to music? How do you maintain your focus?
  • Is he scared that someday he might not be able to defend his top spots?
  • Is he scared he will even run out of challenges?
  • Is he scared he will someday lose his passion for running? What keeps him passionate about running?
  • When he is running, does he view competition as targets he has to overtake? Are there people he wants to overtake and be ahead of?
  • What are his downtimes in running? When he didn’t want to run and felt miserable?
  • Which is more fulfilling? Work or running?
  • Does he believe in taking medicines? If so, when and how? Has he taken medicines before during a race in order to finish the race?
  • What does he think about DNF-ing?
  • Talk about the “No Concrete Movement” with AFCD
Personality:
  • If he could not run, what else would he do?
  • Does he have any strategies for mental training?
Goals:
  • As far as running is concerned what are his goals for 2016?
  • Has he even thought of attempting the Grand Slam (either HK or USA) or doing the 4 Trails?
Advice:
  • For beginners getting into 100km+ running, what kind of advice does he have?

To subscribe to this podcast, please go to iTunes and search for The Hong Kong Trail Rockers Podcast (https://itunes.apple.com/hk/podcast/hong-kong-trail-rockers-podcast!/id994423166)

Group pic at the summit

Climbing Mount Rinjani in one day – Lombok, Indonesia (June 2016)

After a cool friend’s real cool wedding party in Bali, we decided to climb Mt Rinjani in Lombok, Indonesia. Here’s our preliminary research on attempting to climb Rinjani.

The prep:

“Details on how to get there: get to Lombok by ferry or bus. 
 
Fast ferry (8am to 1.30pm) takes 2 hours and slow ferry (operates 24 hours) takes 4.5 hours. Port in Lambok is called Lembar. Takes about 4 hours to get to Senaru or Sembalun from Lembar by taxi. 
 

Then there are two options to climb Rinjani:

  • Senaru at an elevation of 600m close to Western side resort area Sengigi
  • Sembalun Lawang (1150m) eastern side. Closer to summit (we chose this route)

From Senaru, it takes 6 hours to reach the crater rim. 

 
From Sembalun Lawang, it takes 8 hours to the Plawangan II and 2638m via Posi 1/2/3. Stay at the campsite and leave at 3am for the summit”
 
And, here’s a photo blog of what transpired.

The beginning:
We decided to climb to Rinjani from Sembalun (1500m elevation) and return the same way. The very friendly owner at Rinjani guesthouse in Sembalun (where we stayed) told us that “this was not possible” and that it was normally a “one night two day” trip. He also told us that we had to have a guide. We hired a guide called Hasan for 400k (it became 650k later on when we told him at the crater rim that we wanted to summit). He told us that it would take us 8 hours to get to the rim and another 6 hours to get back. He had an athletic build and looked very friendly but didn’t really seem to believe or understand that we wanted to attempt to summit Rinjani in one day.

Landing in Lombok

Landing in Lombok

View of Lombok from the plane

View of Lombok from the plane

The bumpy ride to the start:
We paid 150k per person for the permit at the tourist guesthouse for the climb (we were told that they increased the price to 350k for visitors from the next day onwards) and then came a very bumpy 15-minute ride to the start of the trail.

Selfie at Lombok airport

Selfie at Lombok airport

Rinjani guesthouse

Rinjani guesthouse

In the pick up truck to the start

In the pick up truck to the start

At the tourist place for the permit

At the tourist place for the permit

Here’s a video:

Pos 1, Pos 2, Pos 3, Pos 4 … Base camp:
The start of the trail went through this green meadow which eventually lead to a little “hut” called “Pos 1”. It was not a hut where people could stay, more like a marker in the shape of a hut.

The meadow at the start

The meadow at the start

A selfie with Hasan

A selfie with Hasan

Hasan told us that it would take around 2 hours to reach Pos 1 but in reality it took only about 45 minutes. All the times quoted by the guide were “grandma” times, even at our walking pace.

The conversation Ollie had with Hasan at the start was classic:

Ollie: Hasan, is Rinjani’s someone’s name? What does it mean?
Hasan: Yes, it is someone’s name
Ollie: Really, who?
Hasan: Rinjani
Ollie: (What a great answer!)

Reminds me of an old joke.
Teacher: Who can tell me what John Smith’s wife is called?
Student: Me, me!
Teacher: Great! What is it?
Student: Mrs. Smith

A handsome guy going to Pos 2

A handsome guy going to Pos 2

Climbing up to Pos 3

Climbing up to Pos 3

Monkeys of Lombok. Different to their Shing Mun cousins with the pink butts

Monkeys of Lombok. Different to their Shing Mun cousins with the pink butts

The Base Camp

The Base Camp

Clouds, Clouds everywhere

Clouds, Clouds everywhere

Posing near the Base Camp

Posing near the Base Camp

Nice colours

Nice colours

The trail was relatively easy until Pos 3 after which there was a pretty sharp incline all the way to the rim of the crater, aka the Base Camp. The Base Camp was literally a big row of tents flanked by big piles of garbage on either side. From the rim of the crater, we were suposed to see a spectacular backdrop of a volcanic lake but our view of the lake was instead replaced by white clouds. But, not ones to be perturbed by the uncontrollable forces of nature, we still imagined the lake in the backdrop and took ample selfies! After all, doesn’t beauty lie in the eyes of the beholder?

Base Camp to the Summit:
Our guide who quoted 7 hours to get to the Base Camp, i.e., the rim of the crater, was pleasantly surprised to find out that it only took us 3 hours to get there. We told him that we wanted to summit which is when he said that our “program” at 400k didn’t involve a guide service to the summit. 250k more did it! (Our 650k -guide fee for the three of us- plus 150k -each person at the tourist center for the “entry ticket”- was still way cheaper than the 2M it would have cost to do the boilerplate “one night two days” tour). And about that “one night two days” Rinjani tour, I don’t think the money would have been so much a dampening factor for me, instead staying at the Base Camp amidst the smell of garbage, pee and you-know-what would have flushed that idea!

Our guide said it would take 3.5 hours to get to the summit from the Base Camp. Judging from recent experience, we thought it would only take a fraction of that time as the summit was only 3kms away from the Base Camp. But, this time he was right – it took us 3 whole hours! Why? It was like walking on quicksand at 3500m above sea level! Ollie’s Oreo package suddenly popped because of the increase in altitude. Imagine climbing up slushy 20cm thick lose gravel and mud in thin air! It was like a bike spinning on its wheels in desert sand. Also, quite frequently, a little detour from the main trail lead to a “tour de feces” and a “tour de tissue”. Yup, dried human excrement is what I’m talking about! So, imagine you’re a fast guy trying to climb up Rinjani and you take a little shortcut by the side of the trail, lose your grip and fall face down in the mud. Now, normally that would be a-ok and even good fun BUT if that side of the trail had dried human feces on it then that wouldn’t too much fun, would it? Now, I am not saying that that happened to me… (Or am I?)

Anyway, amidst this discussion of human feces, garbage, quicksand and slushy terrain, I want to make it clear that this was still a very enjoyable experience! The views of the ridge, the dance of the clouds, the pyramid shaped volcano, the jagged terrain with distinctive volcanic features were all highlights of this experience. And, when the clouds suddenly cleared at the summit, that was the biggest highlight of them all! Anyway, so back to the story…

Posing before getting to the summit

Posing before getting to the summit

Climbing this wasn't easy

Climbing this wasn’t easy

The volcanic terrain

The volcanic terrain

This is what we found on the summit

This is what we found on the summit

Group pic at the summit

Group pic at the summit

Views from the summit

Views from the summit

Views from the summit

Views from the summit

Dance of the clouds

Dance of the clouds

More cloud dance

More cloud dance

The Summit:
Our guide was much slower than us. Dom had some jet lagged moments where he slowed down and Ollie was using her poles like a cruising machine to get to the top. Not wanting to go astray on another “tour de feces”, I went steadily up the beaten path, one foot in front of another using Ollie as my metronome. I was also playing DJ and had Robin Schulz’s “Sugar” playing in the background. I also added my own vocals to it which I’m sure Dom and Ollie didn’t appreciate – although they were either too polite or too busy focusing on the climb to comment on my great voice. Speaking of which, I still don’t know what “sugar, how you get so fly” really means. I get “high” but “fly”?

Anyway, we plodded on and reached the summit, only to be welcome by more and more clouds. It also started drizzling. We took selfies holding a little sign that was on the summit which read “Ringani – 3726m”. We then high fived each other to celebrate our 3-hour walk through that quicksand like terrain. After that, Ollie started to walk down. Just as Dom and I were about to follow suite, the clouds started to clear. The sun then revealed its power and the majestic views no longer needed to be left to mere imagination. It was amazingly scenic – yet another wonder of Mother Nature.

The Summit

The Summit

You're looking at the crater

You’re looking at the crater

Summit back down to Base Camp:
The descent was such a memorable experience. It really felt like we were skiing on fertile mud! The shoes took in several ladles full of volcanic soil as I leaned backwards, spun my legs around in a cycling motion and let gravity do the talking! What took 3 hours to go up, only took 40 minutes on the way down! That’s the power of momentum on that trail!

And, nature had its little surprise waiting for us at the rim. Those clouds that begged us to imagine the views from the rim on the way up, dispersed gracefully to reveal that stunning lake in the backdrop. Some of the clouds danced around and artistically lingered in the air adding to the serene setting. Beauty didn’t really have to be in the eyes of the beholder. It was literally everywhere! The lake and the setting was yet another wonder of nature!

My shoe had plenty of volcanic mud in it on the way down

My shoe had plenty of volcanic mud in it on the way down

Coming down

Coming down

More Cloud Dance

More Cloud Dance

The beauty of the lake finally revealed at the crater

The beauty of the lake finally revealed at the crater

With the lake in the backdrop

With the lake in the backdrop

Admiring the beauty of the lake

Admiring the beauty of the lake

 

Video of the descent:

 

Back via the meadows to Sembalun

Back via the meadows to Sembalun


Base Camp back to the guesthouse:
I enjoyed this so much! It was a fab trail run down (quite technical at times with rocks and tree roots) all the way to Pos 4. Our guide was definitely getting quite an unanticipated workout. After Pos 3, however, I managed to twist my ankle not once, not twice but thrice! Luckily, other than some swelling, it was okay enough to permit jogging to the finish!

After clocking something like 25km of distance and 2600m of accumulated elevation for the day, we reached the village where our pick up truck was waiting for us. At 6pm, we were back at the guesthouse.

All in all, it took about 11 hours for the trip to the top of Rinjani and back from Sembalun.

At the finish! Back in the pick up truck

At the finish! Back in the pick up truck

The verdict:
I know I say this about pretty much every hike or climb I’ve done but this was also awesome! Friendly people, great views, solid exercise, amazing scenery and awesome company!

I hope the tourist office does something about all the rubbish on the trail and that nature takes cares of all the human waste near the campsite!

My biggest advice to everyone attempting Rinjani, follow your nose, stay on the trail and enjoy Tour De Rinjani, not Tour De Feces. Yup, no shit. That’s the way to go my friend.