The completion of the World Trail Orienteering Championship (WTOC) team selection race has marked the end of my last major piece of responsibility in Hong Kong before my departure on 20th April. It was one of the job to do as a Hong Kong team member for WTOC this year.
My final 3 years in Hong Kong was full of regret. If everything was known in advance I would already signed up a working holiday in 2018. In short, I planned to do the Asian Trail Orienteering Championship (AsTOC) 2019 held in Hong Kong, then the WTOC 2020 held also in Hong Kong, and go a working holiday in 2021. I will swim the English Channel in 2021 while I’m in my working holiday, with a training plan which match perfectly with my move and my working holiday.
AsTOC 2019 was cancelled due to war-like situation happening in Hong Kong at that time, and WTOC 2020 was cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic. My training plan for the English Channel couldn’t be executed apart from a single month because COVID restrictions forced pools to be closed in the majority of 2020, especially the latest closure order valid from 2th December 2020 to 31st March 2021 meant the whole winter season was gone. The bulk of my training plan consisted of pool training to build speed before I move to the UK, when it is cold enough in Hong Kong to actually swim instead of taking a dip, and acclimation after I move to the UK. There are 3 blocks in my training plan. The first has completely gone. The second has mostly gone apart from a single month of November. I need to think if I will continue the third block which is acclimation, or to cancel it and make up my missed training which is supposed to be done before I depart.
Moreover, everything has worked against me in my preparation of my Channel attempt. The COVID restriction listed above is the major factor. The other aspirant in Hong Kong, Allan McPherson, is not willing to train with me because I am too slow for him, also he doesn’t have any training plan as well, as he fits his swimming around his work (while I’m the other way round, scheduling my work to make time for my swimming). The cold season came too soon, one month earlier than expected, such that I didn’t have enough time to acclimate and couldn’t make my 6-hour qualification when the only chance came to me. The hot season came too soon also, one month earlier than expected, such that I’m starting to lose fitness in the period before my departure not being able to swim as much as in the winter in the hot sea (I can’t swim as hard in temperature over 23°C as in the winter when it is only 16-20°C).
I am going to start packing up my stuff in April to prepare for my new life. Most of my preparation has been done, including the visa and the flight. The major remaining items are my initial accommodation (e.g. Airbnb) and my Channel swim registration as I am deferring my action until I can get back to the pool in Hong Kong. The restriction will be lifted on 1st April, but it is already too late. It will be 27°C by then which means it will be too hot to swim at my race intensity, and I can’t compare my times taken in a 16-20°C pool directly. I will sort them out in April.