Saturday, 15 October 2011

Squad at North Bondi on an overcast Saturday

Surf lifesavers at North Bondi
Just when I get my act together and decide that, yes, I will do the Saturday squad at North Bondi, it rains.

I don't live near the beach so it is a major triumph for someone like me (creature of habit, slave to routine) to get to the beach on a Saturday.

As I was driving out of the city towards Bondi it poured but there was no turning back. I arrived early and got a great parking space in one of the few spots that isn't meter or two-hour limit parking (that's Sydney). I then visited the yummy organic bakery, where Davo and I go during the ocean-swimming season. I bought a spelt scone. Sounds boring but it was studded with raspberries and melted in the mouth.

Because I'm also extra careful I carted a golf umbrella down to the beach with all my gear and waited for the squad to arrive. It was a good opportunity to observe the eastern suburbs scene on a Saturday and, let me tell you, it's bootcamp city on Bondi Beach.
Before the sun came out

Everywhere you turn, there are personal fitness trainers doing sessions with their charges - they squat, sprint, step, crunch and punch. It's a hive of feverish activity.  I was exhausted before I even started.

The squad I swim with also does running and bike, so many of the members had already been out doing their fitness thing before they got to the beach. I felt like a sloth.

The rain was holding off when we ran into the water. There were two groups. I was in the slowest. I'd say there were around 20 people participating. I and another man were the only swimmers in the squad NOT wearing wetsuits.

The thing about wetsuits is they keep you warm and they also make you more buoyant. This is why die-hard ocean swimmers are agin them. They give the swimmer a distinct advantage. I don't think I did too bad for someone doing it naked, except for the cossie.

I lasted an hour - the squad is an hour and 15 minutes - before calling it a day. I was a bit cold but it wasn't too bad. My guess is the water temperature was 18-19 degrees. That's manageable.

The surf was pretty flat, with only small waves. We did a lot of swimming out over the reef past the rock swimming pool and a lot of swimming back in, running around the flags and then back in again.

I was pooped. The ocean, even without waves, is more challenging than the swimming pool. I've got Burleigh Heads next week and I don't feel at all prepared.

After I left the beach the sun broke through the clouds.

It's a lovely day in Sydney.

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