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Elephants are such amazing creatures

Motorbiking in Northern Thailand (Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phayao, Mae Sai, Mae Rim)

Photos are here.

2016-09-15, Thursday, Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai

  • Toilet Cleaner Hannes and I took a flight from Hong Kong to Chiang Mai at 10am
Occupation: Toilet Cleaner

Occupation: Toilet Cleaner

  • At the APEC immigration counter in Chiang Mai, the immigration lady gave Toilet Cleaner a hard time because he didn’t fill up his APEC card number on the arrival card! (Does anyone anywhere in the world actually read the “Occupation” field on this card?)
  • We went walking from the airport to Tony’s Big Bikes: 2.5km but given I was navigating, it ended up being more like 3.5km and poor Toilet Cleaner was sweating like a pig
On the way to Tony's Big Bikes. I was contemplating riding this big and flowery bike

On the way to Tony’s Big Bikes. I was contemplating riding this big and flowery bike

  • We met Alex, our “bike keeper” and a man of few words, at around 2.30pm. 30 minutes later, we got on the bikes for a ride to Chiang Rai
  • It took us about three hours to cover the 180kms it took to ride from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai. There was some rain and I envied Hannes when he put on his rain jacket. Given my “travel light and shiver at night” philosophy, I could only watch, ride and occasionally shiver!
My Ninja and Hannes' CRF on the way to Chiang Rai

My Ninja and Hannes’ CRF on the way to Chiang Rai

RICOLA! That's how all kick ass biking trips start!

RICOLA! That’s how all kick ass biking trips start!

Ricola - the Swiss candy

Ricola – the Swiss candy

  • Chiang Rai seemed like Tai Po district in Hong Kong. Not too busy conpared to Chiang Mai and had a distinct character
  • We checked in into what looked like a really expensive hotel but only cost HKD 350/room (welcome to Thailand)
Our HKD 350/night hotel

Our HKD 350/night hotel

Ready for a full on dinner

Ready for a full on dinner

  • Hannes decided to impress everyone with his piano playing skills. Next time, he should probably fill in “Piano Player” on his Arrival Card
Hannes "Piano Man" Niggli

Hannes “Piano Man” Niggli

  • The next best thing about Thailand is the food. I ordered anything and everything I fancied including several “bukos” (young coconut). Cost about HKD 350 for the two of us. This also included several Singal beers

2016-09-15, Friday, Chiang Rai to Mae Sai. Mae Sai to Phayao

  • The plan was to hit the border. Mae Sai is what it was called and it was about 60kms from Chiang Rai
Mae Sai was the destination for the day. Right on the border with Burma

Mae Sai was the destination for the day. Right on the border with Burma

  • After a heavy breakfast, off we rode further north in the direction of Mae Sai. After about 50km, we saw a sign that read “second friendship bridge” (reminded me of a proverb: “people are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges”)
Back on the Ninja in the morning

Back on the Ninja in the morning

The Second Friendship Bridge (between Thailand and Burma)

The Second Friendship Bridge (between Thailand and Burma)

  • The guy at the “Customs House” forbid us from going any further so we did a U-turn and headed towards the ‘first friendship bridge’. It was a weird looking sight. A small immigration counter and two arches – one for Thailand and one for Burma
Immigration checkpoint between Burma and Thailand

Immigration checkpoint between Burma and Thailand

The Customs House were we got turned around

The Customs House where we got turned around

  • Some lady was carrying some fish into Burma while another one was showing off the “Hello Katty” sticker on her scooter. Yes, Kitty, Katty same same. As Shakespeare famously asked “what’s in the name”
Taking some fish into Burma

Taking some fish into Burma

Hello Kitty, Hello Katty. Same, same

Hello Kitty, Hello Katty. Same, same

Good guys in, bad guys out - that's what we're sayin'

Good guys in, bad guys out – that’s what we’re sayin’

Some appliances are going into Burma

Some appliances are going into Burma

  • The border was pretty much running in business as usual mode. Nothing eventful was happening there and it seemed to us that crossing the border back and forth is a daily affair for many. We spent about 10 minutes at the border and rode back to Chiang Rai
  • Final destination for the day was a place called Phayao. I read somewhere about a beautiful lake and several stunning temples there. It was a 120km ride from Mae Sai and a 60km ride from Chiang Rai
Phayao Lake. Love the colors

Phayao Lake. Love the colors

Two monks were cheering on the local Dragon Boating team

Two monks were cheering on the local Dragon Boating team

Row, row row a boat gently down the stream...

Row, row row a boat gently down the stream…

There was a wedding by the lake

There was a wedding by the lake

  • We checked ourselves into a luxurious Phayao hotel (HKD 350/night) -talk about being spoilt- and went for a ride around town
  • The lake was quite a sight, very serene and scenic. But, I think the best part of the ride came when we rode up to Wat Analayo Thiphpayaram. This hard-to-pronounce place is a 15km ride from Phayao. This wooded area was a little up the hills and felt green very tranquil. The statues of Buddha and the decor of the temples built quite some spiritual energy in me
A big Buddha in Wat Analayo

A big Buddha in Wat Analayo

The temples were very tranquil

The temples were very tranquil

Very similar decor to Hinduism

Very similar decor to Hinduism

  • After returning to our hotel, we switched over to the free bicycles that our luxurious hotel provided to look for a food joint. We settled on a restaurant by the night market for another sumptuous meal which cost about HKD 250. Unfortunately, it seemed like Phayao didn’t sell any young coconuts!
Hannes loves his pink bikes

Hannes loves his pink bikes

Switching to cycling from the Ninja

Switching to cycling from the Ninja

This dog was desperately trying to rip out this piece of cloth

This dog was desperately trying to rip out this piece of cloth

2016-09-16, Saturday, Phayao to Mae Rim. Mae Rim to Chiang Mai

  • After another heavy breakfast we started to ride back to Chiang Mai on a hilly road. It was only 150km from Phayao and the roads were as smooth as butter. The Ninja hit 120kmh on occasion. Hannes claimed that his CRF did 138kmh but somehow I doubt the accuracy of the speedometer
  • En route, it started to rain again and history repeated itself. Hannes put on his rain jacket while I told myself the usual “travel light, shiver at night”. Luckily it didn’t rain beyond 5 minutes. There was a beautiful waterfall en route
Hannes putting on his rain jacket on the way to Mae Rim from Phayao

Hannes putting on his rain jacket on the way to Mae Rim from Phayao

Right opposite to the waterfalls

Right opposite to the waterfalls

Beautiful waterfalls en route to Mae Rim

Beautiful waterfalls en route to Mae Rim

  • We were making time and I thought we could detour to Mae Rim to see some elephants. There’s a place called “Thai Elephant Care” there
Maesa Elephant Camp in Mae Rim

Maesa Elephant Camp in Mae Rim

  • The elephant place was amazing and elephants are such amazing creatures. I fed baby elephant one banana while holding the remaining 10 or so bananas in my other hand. As I was feeding Miss Baby, mama elephant snatched the rest of the bananas away from me with quite some force! Rookie mistake: never hold food in front of animals if you aren’t prepared for a snatch!
  • Watching the elephants play with each other was quite a sight! The siblings were playfully stealing food from each other’s mouths! One of them was swaying her head left and right as though she was swing dancing
This badly behaved mama elephant snatched all the bananas I was holding in my left hand

This badly behaved mama elephant snatched all the bananas I was holding in my left hand

Feeding the elephants some bananas

Feeding the elephants some bananas

Hannes doing some banana feeding

Hannes doing some banana feeding

baby and mama elephant

baby and mama elephant

Elephants are such amazing creatures

Elephants are such amazing creatures

  • We left Mae Rim at about 1pm and arrived at Tony’s Big Bikes around 2pm to return the bikes
Close to 700kms in 48 hours

Close to 700kms in 48 hours

  • After checking into our luxurious 7-star hotel (Hotel Anodard) -THB 500- we took a red taxi thing (Song Thaew) for THB 500 to Doi Suthep. Another tranquil place of worship. Really had me lost in thought. Peaceful and serene
Our hotel. I think we were the only ones here

Our hotel. I think we were the only ones here

Very clever demonstration of what the Up and Down buttons do on the lift

Very clever demonstration of what the Up and Down buttons do on the lift

Powerful gong but "no pushing" read the message

Powerful gong but “no pushing” read the message

All that glitters is peaceful but not gold

All that glitters is peaceful but not gold

Very tranquil here in Doi Suthep

Very tranquil here in Doi Suthep

Buddha Statues

Buddha Statues

Many were praying here

Many were praying here

2016-09-17, Sunday

  • Wake up time was a cruel 4am. (well, not that cruel – only 45 minutes ahead of my usual wake up time)
  • After riding 700kms in two days and having covered some of the key places on Northern Thailand, it was time to return to Hong Kong
  • Thailand is a special places. Friendly people, easy to get around and no speed cameras on the road. The food is awesome and the “bukos” are the best
The goodbye Chiang Mai meal

The goodbye Chiang Mai meal

Total "buko" count in one day: 7. Total buko count through the trip: 9!

Total “buko” count in one day: 7. Total buko count through the trip: 9!

20160721_054808560_iOS

#HKTRP #64 – Talking to ultra runner Rory Mitchell (3/3)

Here’s Part 3/3 of my interview with Rory Mitchell.

This also marks the end of this season of The Hong Kong Trail Rockers Podcast. A big ‘thank you’ to all the guests for sharing their wisdom with our listeners. Also, a big ‘thank you’ to all the listeners of this podcast! And, for all the comments and emails supporting this podcast. We’ll be back with a fresh new season and many more interviews in time to come!


Part 3:
In this part of the podcast, we’ll talk to Rory 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?
  • What are his downtimes in running? When he didn’t want to run and felt miserable?
Philosophies:
  • 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?
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?
  • Talk about Run Rabbit Run
Advice:
  • For beginners getting into 100km+ running, what kind of advice does he have
Parting words of wisdom:
  • #1 key to success. Winning formula in life?
  • Advice for 20-year old self

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)

20160721_054808560_iOS

#HKTRP #63 – Talking to ultra runner Rory Mitchell (2/3)

In the previous part of the podcast, we spoke to Rory about his humble beginnings. This week we’ll focus on his training routine and some of the races he has done that have left a strong impression on him.


In Part 1 of the podcast, we spoke to Rory about his humble beginnings and how he got into running. In this second part of the podcast, we will ask him about his training routine. We will then go over two races and have him talk about his experience in those two races and how he trained for it

Rory’s racing list: 
2009
Standard Chartered Marathon – 5:28

2010
UNICEF Half Marathon – 2:37

2011
China Coast Half Marathon – around 2:40
Apple Daily 10km – around 1:05
UNICEF Half Marathon – 2:46

2012
Green Power Hike 50km – around 10hrs
Moontrekker 40km – DNF
UNICEF Half Marathon – 1:53

2013
China Coast Half Marathon – 1:48
Green Power Hike 50km – around 7hrs
Moontrekker 40km – 6:11
Luang Prabang Half Marathon – 1:43
Trailwalker – 26:41
UNICEF Half Marathon – 1:41
KOTH Sai Kung Marathon – 5:54
MSIG Lantau 27km – 4:10

2014
KOTH Lantau Marathon – 4:57
HK100 – 16:34
Standard Chartered Marathon – 3:26
Translantau 50km – 7:58
TNF Philippines 100km – 28:54
UTMB CCC – 24:13
Moontrekker 43km – 7:12
XTE Midnight Express 45km – 7:56
TNF HK 100km – DNF

2015
HK100 – 21:41
Moontrekker 43km – 7:14
XTE Maclehose Challenge 45km – 7:35
UNICEF Half Marathon – 1:37
TNF 100km – DNF

2016
UTHK 100km – 20:01
Garmin Mountain Marathon 42km – 6:42
Translantau 100km – 22:35
Stairmaster Lantau – 4:50
Stairmaster Twins – 2:09
Yading Skyrun 30km – 5:45
Green Race Pottinger 13km – 1:46

  • Walk us through the top 3 races, the preparation, the training, the nutrition
  • What was it like?
  • Walk us through the journey. What was it like? You slept during the race. What happened? Did you want to stop?
  • 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 Rory? 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 Rory 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?

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)

20160721_054808560_iOS

#HKTRP #62 – Talking to ultra runner Rory Mitchell (1/3)

To introduce our guest today, I am going to read an email I got from a listener.

 

“Hi Vince, not sure if you know Rory Mitchell but I saw him at the Stairmaster Lantau when he passed me going up Lantau Peak and I was thinking, “yeah right big guy, I am gonna see you later again” – and I never did. He put in fact 5 min on me which is totally cool and no big deal when running in the middle of the pack BUT Rory has some 40-50 pounds on pretty much everyone else who runs in this terrain which is super impressive!!

 

He’s not just a big boy, by all standards he’s pretty BIG for a guy negotiating these types of challenges. I sat down with him later telling him that I am super impressed given his body type and that he’s just pure inspiration. If there was a BMI weighted category he’d surely make the podium in his group!! I was thinking to myself that he must a have an extremely good bone structure and some bullet proof resilience to endure this but what it shows is that trail running is really the great equalizer where you can never judge a book by its cover. We have all been passed by guys that didn’t strike us to look the part, right?

 

That doesn’t really apply to road or track running where you can pretty much easily spot who’s at home there and who isn’t really. When people see Rory finishing the Stairmaster the way he did, no one  has any excuses left!

 

Just checked the Yading Skyrun results and he did well! He also seems to have a 16h HK100 and 3:25h marathon in his books which is all pretty impressive!
This could be good content about reaching one’s full potential and becoming the best runners they can be and Rory is way ahead of most of us in that respect! You throw all these variable into one pot, rank them and spit out one number that represents how good a race someone ran or how great a runner someone is and guys like Rory will likely come out on top! It’s not just about fast (and fastest) times, not at all for most people anyway. If I could unlock my potential the way he does I would be running in a different league”

 

So, let me welcome Mr. Rory Mitchell to the show

 

Show Notes: (The get to know Rory better section)
  • Who’s Rory Mitchell?
  • Where’s he from?
  • Was there anything in his past that lead him to trail running?
  • What is his day job?

 

Trivia for Rory:
  • What is Rory’s favorite trail in Hong Kong and why?
  • What’s his favorite race and why? (can be local or overseas)
  • What in Rory’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 Rory 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 Rory:
  • 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 Rory 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)

20160624_124615853_iOS

#HKTRP #61 – Talking to Richard Scotford from HKTRL (2/2)

Part 2/2 of the podcast with Richard Scotford, founder of The Hong Kong Trail Racing League. In the previous part, we spoke to Richard about the initial days of the HKTRL. This week, we will talk about the format and how it has evolved.

The Hong Kong Trail Racing League: (The 2014 format)
  • What was the format in 2014?
  • Was the concept of prize money crucial to the idea you had for HKTRL in 2014?
  • Talk to us about the mechanics of HKTRL
    • Scoring
    • Calendar
    • Promotion
    • Who managed all the tallying and the FB page and all the “being the work” scenes?
  • 15 times entered the first year but the sponsors and sponsor prize money didn’t quite come about. Why?
  • You used your own money to fund the prizes in 2014. Why did you do so?
  • What lessons did you take away from the 2014 edition? What worked and what didn’t?
  • Was this effort worth it for you? What did you personally want to get out of all this?
The Hong Kong Trail Racing League: (The 2015 format)
  • How did the HKTRL evolve in 2015?
  • Talk about the two leagues – Trail League and Ultra League. Why the change?
The Hong Kong Trail Racing League: (The 2016 format)
  • What changed?
    • This year we will again have two racing leagues. An Ultra League, with race distances going up to 170km and a Trail League, with race distances ranging from approximately 10k – 30k. Both leagues have international standard athletes as well as ordinary trail racers competing.
  • Number of people in a team
    • 6
  •  Trail League and Ultra League
    • For the Ultra League these 6 races need to include three races of at least 42km distance. The remaining races are the runners’ choice.
    • For the Trail League, all 6 races are the runners’ choice
  • Points for volunteering
  • League Division
  • Talk about some of the races in the Ultra League and some of the races in the Trail League (http://www.hktrl.org/#!races/t0wue)

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)

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Elephants are such amazing creatures

Motorbiking in Northern Thailand (Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phayao, Mae Sai, Mae Rim)

Photos are here.

2016-09-15, Thursday, Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai

  • Toilet Cleaner Hannes and I took a flight from Hong Kong to Chiang Mai at 10am
Occupation: Toilet Cleaner

Occupation: Toilet Cleaner

  • At the APEC immigration counter in Chiang Mai, the immigration lady gave Toilet Cleaner a hard time because he didn’t fill up his APEC card number on the arrival card! (Does anyone anywhere in the world actually read the “Occupation” field on this card?)
  • We went walking from the airport to Tony’s Big Bikes: 2.5km but given I was navigating, it ended up being more like 3.5km and poor Toilet Cleaner was sweating like a pig
On the way to Tony's Big Bikes. I was contemplating riding this big and flowery bike

On the way to Tony’s Big Bikes. I was contemplating riding this big and flowery bike

  • We met Alex, our “bike keeper” and a man of few words, at around 2.30pm. 30 minutes later, we got on the bikes for a ride to Chiang Rai
  • It took us about three hours to cover the 180kms it took to ride from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai. There was some rain and I envied Hannes when he put on his rain jacket. Given my “travel light and shiver at night” philosophy, I could only watch, ride and occasionally shiver!
My Ninja and Hannes' CRF on the way to Chiang Rai

My Ninja and Hannes’ CRF on the way to Chiang Rai

RICOLA! That's how all kick ass biking trips start!

RICOLA! That’s how all kick ass biking trips start!

Ricola - the Swiss candy

Ricola – the Swiss candy

  • Chiang Rai seemed like Tai Po district in Hong Kong. Not too busy conpared to Chiang Mai and had a distinct character
  • We checked in into what looked like a really expensive hotel but only cost HKD 350/room (welcome to Thailand)
Our HKD 350/night hotel

Our HKD 350/night hotel

Ready for a full on dinner

Ready for a full on dinner

  • Hannes decided to impress everyone with his piano playing skills. Next time, he should probably fill in “Piano Player” on his Arrival Card
Hannes "Piano Man" Niggli

Hannes “Piano Man” Niggli

  • The next best thing about Thailand is the food. I ordered anything and everything I fancied including several “bukos” (young coconut). Cost about HKD 350 for the two of us. This also included several Singal beers

2016-09-15, Friday, Chiang Rai to Mae Sai. Mae Sai to Phayao

  • The plan was to hit the border. Mae Sai is what it was called and it was about 60kms from Chiang Rai
Mae Sai was the destination for the day. Right on the border with Burma

Mae Sai was the destination for the day. Right on the border with Burma

  • After a heavy breakfast, off we rode further north in the direction of Mae Sai. After about 50km, we saw a sign that read “second friendship bridge” (reminded me of a proverb: “people are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges”)
Back on the Ninja in the morning

Back on the Ninja in the morning

The Second Friendship Bridge (between Thailand and Burma)

The Second Friendship Bridge (between Thailand and Burma)

  • The guy at the “Customs House” forbid us from going any further so we did a U-turn and headed towards the ‘first friendship bridge’. It was a weird looking sight. A small immigration counter and two arches – one for Thailand and one for Burma
Immigration checkpoint between Burma and Thailand

Immigration checkpoint between Burma and Thailand

The Customs House were we got turned around

The Customs House where we got turned around

  • Some lady was carrying some fish into Burma while another one was showing off the “Hello Katty” sticker on her scooter. Yes, Kitty, Katty same same. As Shakespeare famously asked “what’s in the name”
Taking some fish into Burma

Taking some fish into Burma

Hello Kitty, Hello Katty. Same, same

Hello Kitty, Hello Katty. Same, same

Good guys in, bad guys out - that's what we're sayin'

Good guys in, bad guys out – that’s what we’re sayin’

Some appliances are going into Burma

Some appliances are going into Burma

  • The border was pretty much running in business as usual mode. Nothing eventful was happening there and it seemed to us that crossing the border back and forth is a daily affair for many. We spent about 10 minutes at the border and rode back to Chiang Rai
  • Final destination for the day was a place called Phayao. I read somewhere about a beautiful lake and several stunning temples there. It was a 120km ride from Mae Sai and a 60km ride from Chiang Rai
Phayao Lake. Love the colors

Phayao Lake. Love the colors

Two monks were cheering on the local Dragon Boating team

Two monks were cheering on the local Dragon Boating team

Row, row row a boat gently down the stream...

Row, row row a boat gently down the stream…

There was a wedding by the lake

There was a wedding by the lake

  • We checked ourselves into a luxurious Phayao hotel (HKD 350/night) -talk about being spoilt- and went for a ride around town
  • The lake was quite a sight, very serene and scenic. But, I think the best part of the ride came when we rode up to Wat Analayo Thiphpayaram. This hard-to-pronounce place is a 15km ride from Phayao. This wooded area was a little up the hills and felt green very tranquil. The statues of Buddha and the decor of the temples built quite some spiritual energy in me
A big Buddha in Wat Analayo

A big Buddha in Wat Analayo

The temples were very tranquil

The temples were very tranquil

Very similar decor to Hinduism

Very similar decor to Hinduism

  • After returning to our hotel, we switched over to the free bicycles that our luxurious hotel provided to look for a food joint. We settled on a restaurant by the night market for another sumptuous meal which cost about HKD 250. Unfortunately, it seemed like Phayao didn’t sell any young coconuts!
Hannes loves his pink bikes

Hannes loves his pink bikes

Switching to cycling from the Ninja

Switching to cycling from the Ninja

This dog was desperately trying to rip out this piece of cloth

This dog was desperately trying to rip out this piece of cloth

2016-09-16, Saturday, Phayao to Mae Rim. Mae Rim to Chiang Mai

  • After another heavy breakfast we started to ride back to Chiang Mai on a hilly road. It was only 150km from Phayao and the roads were as smooth as butter. The Ninja hit 120kmh on occasion. Hannes claimed that his CRF did 138kmh but somehow I doubt the accuracy of the speedometer
  • En route, it started to rain again and history repeated itself. Hannes put on his rain jacket while I told myself the usual “travel light, shiver at night”. Luckily it didn’t rain beyond 5 minutes. There was a beautiful waterfall en route
Hannes putting on his rain jacket on the way to Mae Rim from Phayao

Hannes putting on his rain jacket on the way to Mae Rim from Phayao

Right opposite to the waterfalls

Right opposite to the waterfalls

Beautiful waterfalls en route to Mae Rim

Beautiful waterfalls en route to Mae Rim

  • We were making time and I thought we could detour to Mae Rim to see some elephants. There’s a place called “Thai Elephant Care” there
Maesa Elephant Camp in Mae Rim

Maesa Elephant Camp in Mae Rim

  • The elephant place was amazing and elephants are such amazing creatures. I fed baby elephant one banana while holding the remaining 10 or so bananas in my other hand. As I was feeding Miss Baby, mama elephant snatched the rest of the bananas away from me with quite some force! Rookie mistake: never hold food in front of animals if you aren’t prepared for a snatch!
  • Watching the elephants play with each other was quite a sight! The siblings were playfully stealing food from each other’s mouths! One of them was swaying her head left and right as though she was swing dancing
This badly behaved mama elephant snatched all the bananas I was holding in my left hand

This badly behaved mama elephant snatched all the bananas I was holding in my left hand

Feeding the elephants some bananas

Feeding the elephants some bananas

Hannes doing some banana feeding

Hannes doing some banana feeding

baby and mama elephant

baby and mama elephant

Elephants are such amazing creatures

Elephants are such amazing creatures

  • We left Mae Rim at about 1pm and arrived at Tony’s Big Bikes around 2pm to return the bikes
Close to 700kms in 48 hours

Close to 700kms in 48 hours

  • After checking into our luxurious 7-star hotel (Hotel Anodard) -THB 500- we took a red taxi thing (Song Thaew) for THB 500 to Doi Suthep. Another tranquil place of worship. Really had me lost in thought. Peaceful and serene
Our hotel. I think we were the only ones here

Our hotel. I think we were the only ones here

Very clever demonstration of what the Up and Down buttons do on the lift

Very clever demonstration of what the Up and Down buttons do on the lift

Powerful gong but "no pushing" read the message

Powerful gong but “no pushing” read the message

All that glitters is peaceful but not gold

All that glitters is peaceful but not gold

Very tranquil here in Doi Suthep

Very tranquil here in Doi Suthep

Buddha Statues

Buddha Statues

Many were praying here

Many were praying here

2016-09-17, Sunday

  • Wake up time was a cruel 4am. (well, not that cruel – only 45 minutes ahead of my usual wake up time)
  • After riding 700kms in two days and having covered some of the key places on Northern Thailand, it was time to return to Hong Kong
  • Thailand is a special places. Friendly people, easy to get around and no speed cameras on the road. The food is awesome and the “bukos” are the best
The goodbye Chiang Mai meal

The goodbye Chiang Mai meal

Total "buko" count in one day: 7. Total buko count through the trip: 9!

Total “buko” count in one day: 7. Total buko count through the trip: 9!

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#HKTRP #64 – Talking to ultra runner Rory Mitchell (3/3)

Here’s Part 3/3 of my interview with Rory Mitchell.

This also marks the end of this season of The Hong Kong Trail Rockers Podcast. A big ‘thank you’ to all the guests for sharing their wisdom with our listeners. Also, a big ‘thank you’ to all the listeners of this podcast! And, for all the comments and emails supporting this podcast. We’ll be back with a fresh new season and many more interviews in time to come!


Part 3:
In this part of the podcast, we’ll talk to Rory 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?
  • What are his downtimes in running? When he didn’t want to run and felt miserable?
Philosophies:
  • 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?
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?
  • Talk about Run Rabbit Run
Advice:
  • For beginners getting into 100km+ running, what kind of advice does he have
Parting words of wisdom:
  • #1 key to success. Winning formula in life?
  • Advice for 20-year old self

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)

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#HKTRP #63 – Talking to ultra runner Rory Mitchell (2/3)

In the previous part of the podcast, we spoke to Rory about his humble beginnings. This week we’ll focus on his training routine and some of the races he has done that have left a strong impression on him.


In Part 1 of the podcast, we spoke to Rory about his humble beginnings and how he got into running. In this second part of the podcast, we will ask him about his training routine. We will then go over two races and have him talk about his experience in those two races and how he trained for it

Rory’s racing list: 
2009
Standard Chartered Marathon – 5:28

2010
UNICEF Half Marathon – 2:37

2011
China Coast Half Marathon – around 2:40
Apple Daily 10km – around 1:05
UNICEF Half Marathon – 2:46

2012
Green Power Hike 50km – around 10hrs
Moontrekker 40km – DNF
UNICEF Half Marathon – 1:53

2013
China Coast Half Marathon – 1:48
Green Power Hike 50km – around 7hrs
Moontrekker 40km – 6:11
Luang Prabang Half Marathon – 1:43
Trailwalker – 26:41
UNICEF Half Marathon – 1:41
KOTH Sai Kung Marathon – 5:54
MSIG Lantau 27km – 4:10

2014
KOTH Lantau Marathon – 4:57
HK100 – 16:34
Standard Chartered Marathon – 3:26
Translantau 50km – 7:58
TNF Philippines 100km – 28:54
UTMB CCC – 24:13
Moontrekker 43km – 7:12
XTE Midnight Express 45km – 7:56
TNF HK 100km – DNF

2015
HK100 – 21:41
Moontrekker 43km – 7:14
XTE Maclehose Challenge 45km – 7:35
UNICEF Half Marathon – 1:37
TNF 100km – DNF

2016
UTHK 100km – 20:01
Garmin Mountain Marathon 42km – 6:42
Translantau 100km – 22:35
Stairmaster Lantau – 4:50
Stairmaster Twins – 2:09
Yading Skyrun 30km – 5:45
Green Race Pottinger 13km – 1:46

  • Walk us through the top 3 races, the preparation, the training, the nutrition
  • What was it like?
  • Walk us through the journey. What was it like? You slept during the race. What happened? Did you want to stop?
  • 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 Rory? 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 Rory 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?

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)

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#HKTRP #62 – Talking to ultra runner Rory Mitchell (1/3)

To introduce our guest today, I am going to read an email I got from a listener.

 

“Hi Vince, not sure if you know Rory Mitchell but I saw him at the Stairmaster Lantau when he passed me going up Lantau Peak and I was thinking, “yeah right big guy, I am gonna see you later again” – and I never did. He put in fact 5 min on me which is totally cool and no big deal when running in the middle of the pack BUT Rory has some 40-50 pounds on pretty much everyone else who runs in this terrain which is super impressive!!

 

He’s not just a big boy, by all standards he’s pretty BIG for a guy negotiating these types of challenges. I sat down with him later telling him that I am super impressed given his body type and that he’s just pure inspiration. If there was a BMI weighted category he’d surely make the podium in his group!! I was thinking to myself that he must a have an extremely good bone structure and some bullet proof resilience to endure this but what it shows is that trail running is really the great equalizer where you can never judge a book by its cover. We have all been passed by guys that didn’t strike us to look the part, right?

 

That doesn’t really apply to road or track running where you can pretty much easily spot who’s at home there and who isn’t really. When people see Rory finishing the Stairmaster the way he did, no one  has any excuses left!

 

Just checked the Yading Skyrun results and he did well! He also seems to have a 16h HK100 and 3:25h marathon in his books which is all pretty impressive!
This could be good content about reaching one’s full potential and becoming the best runners they can be and Rory is way ahead of most of us in that respect! You throw all these variable into one pot, rank them and spit out one number that represents how good a race someone ran or how great a runner someone is and guys like Rory will likely come out on top! It’s not just about fast (and fastest) times, not at all for most people anyway. If I could unlock my potential the way he does I would be running in a different league”

 

So, let me welcome Mr. Rory Mitchell to the show

 

Show Notes: (The get to know Rory better section)
  • Who’s Rory Mitchell?
  • Where’s he from?
  • Was there anything in his past that lead him to trail running?
  • What is his day job?

 

Trivia for Rory:
  • What is Rory’s favorite trail in Hong Kong and why?
  • What’s his favorite race and why? (can be local or overseas)
  • What in Rory’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 Rory 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 Rory:
  • 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 Rory 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)

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#HKTRP #61 – Talking to Richard Scotford from HKTRL (2/2)

Part 2/2 of the podcast with Richard Scotford, founder of The Hong Kong Trail Racing League. In the previous part, we spoke to Richard about the initial days of the HKTRL. This week, we will talk about the format and how it has evolved.

The Hong Kong Trail Racing League: (The 2014 format)
  • What was the format in 2014?
  • Was the concept of prize money crucial to the idea you had for HKTRL in 2014?
  • Talk to us about the mechanics of HKTRL
    • Scoring
    • Calendar
    • Promotion
    • Who managed all the tallying and the FB page and all the “being the work” scenes?
  • 15 times entered the first year but the sponsors and sponsor prize money didn’t quite come about. Why?
  • You used your own money to fund the prizes in 2014. Why did you do so?
  • What lessons did you take away from the 2014 edition? What worked and what didn’t?
  • Was this effort worth it for you? What did you personally want to get out of all this?
The Hong Kong Trail Racing League: (The 2015 format)
  • How did the HKTRL evolve in 2015?
  • Talk about the two leagues – Trail League and Ultra League. Why the change?
The Hong Kong Trail Racing League: (The 2016 format)
  • What changed?
    • This year we will again have two racing leagues. An Ultra League, with race distances going up to 170km and a Trail League, with race distances ranging from approximately 10k – 30k. Both leagues have international standard athletes as well as ordinary trail racers competing.
  • Number of people in a team
    • 6
  •  Trail League and Ultra League
    • For the Ultra League these 6 races need to include three races of at least 42km distance. The remaining races are the runners’ choice.
    • For the Trail League, all 6 races are the runners’ choice
  • Points for volunteering
  • League Division
  • Talk about some of the races in the Ultra League and some of the races in the Trail League (http://www.hktrl.org/#!races/t0wue)

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)