In 2015 I went to Hong Kong. Actually, in 2015 I went to Hong Kong twice! In February I went to for a little less than a week to race the Sai Kung 50k Skyrunning race. I returned in October as part of the Mile for Mile media tour and had the chance to race another 50k.
Hong Kong was the second part of the trip, for a little information on the first part check out the previous blog on China. Krissy Moehl and I had an awesome whirlwind of fun in and around Beijing and before I knew it we were on a plane, on to the second chapter of our journey. The itinerary continued to be be action packed. Jeff Chan, of Patagonia Hong Kong, picked us up at the airport and we without delay we headed to the closest Patagonia store to meet the staff and have lunch.
Food is an amazing thing. It is something that consumes an enormous part of our lives. Food while traveling enriches the experience. All of our hosts and friends in Asia made sure that we experienced the food. I will be totally honest we ate some weird stuff, flavors that were unknown and interesting to my palate. Jeff and the Patagonia crew in Hong Kong took us to some amazing and classic restaurants during our stay.
The next three days were action packed with group runs, running clinics, presentations and fun. The crew put together a short video highlighting what we did.
The fourth day in Hong Kong had an event planned in the evening, but we had the day wide open. Given that I had a race only a day away, I opted to not go running with Krissy and Jeff, but jumped at the opportunity to go sport climbing with Fred To and Hans. It had been a long on since I had been on the sharp end of a lead, but that’s how my day started. I led the “warm-up” pitch, which was way harder than I expected. Turns out that Hans is solid 5.12+ climber and he warms up on what I should have been projecting. Fortunately I was able to get the send on the warm-up and then was able to either lead or top-rope another 10 or routes before we called it a day. That night we wrapped up the media tour with a showing of Mile for Mile and a night run along the Harbor.
Whenever I travel I try very hard to take full advantage of the opportunity. This often means little sleep and a full throttle schedule. Sheepishly, I have to admit that on my fifth day in Hong Kong I slept in. I had the day clear, nothing planned and it called for some rest. When I ventured out of the hotel I walked to packet pick up and then spent a couple hours wandering around Hong Kong Island. I snuck in a short shake-out run and then went back to the hotel to get get ready for the race and to go to bed early.
I was a bit surprised about how well I slept the night before the race. Normally, the night before the race is spent dosing off and then waking to check to see if it is time to get up, only to find out I had done the same thing just 15 or 20 minutes prior. I must have still been pretty tired.
I left the hotel at 5:00 AM in a taxi under a warm rain. I’ll save you the agony of a blow by blow race report. The course was not what I anticipated. It had close to 30k of paved paths, and only about 20k of terrain that I would consider legitimate for Skyrunning as the race had been advertised. I wasn’t well trained for that type of race or for the high temps with high humidity. I was in a dark place for a long time, but was able to finish 6th overall.
After the race I took a taxi back to the hotel with the race winner, snuck in a shower and set out to find food. I spent many hours wandering the streets of Hong Kong and eating my fill of Indian, Thai, and Chinese food. The draw to see just a little more kept me walking, exploring and taking pictures until well into the night. When I got back to my hotel it was nearly midnight. Bleary eyed, exhausted and sore from the race, I stuffed my backpack, set the alarm for my early flight back to the states, and collapsed into bed.
A few hours later I was walking the dark, predawn streets of Hong Kong towards the train that would take me to the airport and the strange world that exists amongst airplanes and terminals. It took something like 30 hours of travel, but I walked into my house only 10 hours after leaving my hotel.