Calling all Aussie Beach Bums

You’ve just got to love this time of the year in Australia, winter is well and truly past, the warmth of an Australian fast summer approaching…

And some of the best water-ways and beaches in the world…

I’m heading down to one of my favourite spots on Sydney’s northern beaches, Narrabeen Lake, with Janet and TomO.

The lake opens to the ocean at north Narrabeen, which has one of the best surf breaks on the east coast of Australia.

It is a tidal saltwater lake and a haven for all kinds of water birds.

 Hey sleepy-head get out of bed and jump on, I’ll take you around the lake on my Epic V10 – it goes fast just sitting there!

Crikey, how good are lazy Sunday mornings down under!

Baz…

 

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Early morning fun (Australian beach culture)

surf skiAnother glorious start to the day on Australia’s eastern seaboard.

A 10,000 metre row on the C2 rowing machine in the pre-dawn darkness before heading to the beach for some fun with TomO, followed a breakfast of hot chips and tomato sauce; all before 8:00am…

Whoops sorry Janet, meant to say healthy muesli and yoghurt 😉

Photo: TomO

Nobby’s Beach (Newcastle, East Coast Australia)

beach pavilion
Nobby’s Beach, Newcastle, Australia

How good is this, a bike ride to the beach and some lap swimming in the ocean pool just as the sun pierced the eastern horizon…

And boy, do I need to get some exercise and fitness back into me, after all there are mountains to climb, eventually!

But for now, two weeks of cycling, swimming and kayaking, strewth, it’s a tough life, but us Aussies’ are used to this tough life 😉

Photo: Baz, The Landy

Parkour for Agility and Fitness (If you’re game enough)

Exercise forms part of the daily routine of a large part of the population and it can take many forms. 

Keeping it interesting, fun, and relevant is the challenge for most of us…

In our household, TomO spends a lot of his waking hours on our Olympic Standard trampoline and I usually get a bounce in most days as it is great for core strength and stability.

TomO - Urban Tramp
TomO – Urban Tramp
TomO -  In full flight
TomO – Just Hanging 

And Janet is out walking the MilO every day in between pilates classes and is our chief gardener, pushing the lawn mower over the yard regularly. This makes for a solid workout, especially given how fast our lawn grows during the warmer months.

Yes, I know lawn mowing is typically a man’s domain, but strewth, if I was to ever touch that lawn mower I’d be in strife, that’s for sure.

And of course, most days I can be found up in The Shed in the pre-dawn hours, or in the mountains and on the lake in my kayak most weekends.

The Shed
The Shed

But we are always on the lookout for new ways to exercise and of course, it has to be enjoyable.

Recently, TomO decided he wanted to give Parkour a go.

Par what I hear you say…

Don’t worry, I said the same thing!

It roughly translates to “the art of displacement” and like many training disciplines it was borne out of a military background.

The idea is that you move, jump, run, and tumble between and over obstacles of various shapes and sizes, even scaling walls.

We did a search to see if anyone was teaching Parkour in Sydney and found a group of young people at Jump Squad HQ teaching it on Sydney’s northern beaches, not too far from Narrabeen Lake where I train on my kayak.

Baz - kayaking Narrabeen Lake, Sydney, Australia
Baz – kayaking Narrabeen Lake, Sydney, Australia

This weekend TomO commenced his basic training and all I can say it was awesome, well TomO said that as well.  I was watching from the sidelines, but wishing I was in amongst it.

This is a discipline that teaches balance, agility, core strength, and judgement.  All the things I need to focus on as I head to the world’s highest mountains…

Balancing on top of a mountain with a severe drop either side with crampons on is quite an art! Self-preservation helps mind you…

Baz, Southern Alps, New Zealand
Baz, Southern Alps, New Zealand – All a balancing act

What really took my interest was an old round trampoline frame that they had the kids walking around for balance and agility.  I have been racking my brains as to how I could improve this skill myself, and there it was.

And we have a large trampoline in our backyard.

Now I might just look a little conspicuous and out of place joining TomO’s class, but I’ve already spoken to them about private lessons, and I might even be able to rope my partner in all things outdoors and adventurous, brother-in-law, Ray, into a session.

He’d be up for it no doubting…

So if you are looking for something to liven up your training you could always give Parkour a go…

And remember, if all else fails, just remain out of control and enjoy yourself…

We're always out of control - and loving it!
We’re always out of control – and loving it!
photos: Janet, Baz, and TomO…
YouTube: Jump Squad HQ, Sydney

Going for a Spin (Up in The Shed)

The Shed
The Shed – Font of all knowledge

There is something invigorating about starting the day in the pre-dawn hours with an exercise routine. 

Your body awakens as the world rises to a new day, the golden hue of the sun rising over the eastern horizon, stars fading into an ever brightening sky…

 Just like Linus and his blanket, I find something comforting about this routine.

Most days start with a row on a Concept C2 rower, one of the best value for money pieces of exercise equipment you could invest in. The row might be 10-kilometres at a steady pace, aiming for 39-40 minutes, or it might be 10×500 metre sprints with 20 push-ups between each one, it certainly kick-starts the day into action.

Baz - Concept C2 Rower
Baz – Concept C2 Rower

And everyday, without fail, involves some form of resistance training, squatting, and deadlifts, all the big compound exercises. Without a doubt, weight-bearing exercises should be undertaken by all to assist muscle tone as our body’s age.

Baz - A daily dose of weight bearing exercise
Baz – A daily dose of weight bearing exercise

There is plenty of good research available on the topic!

Perhaps it is fair to say I push it to the limits, but that is my thing, always testing the boundaries, I never want to be wondering what I might have achieved, but you know, apart from anything else it is fun.

 The Shed, the font of all knowledge in this modern age, is my training arena and I’ve just added a new piece of training equipment, a reconditioned LeMond spin bike, supplied by Gray’s Fitness Equipment in Melbourne, Australia.

Le Mond Spin Bike
LeMond Spin Bike

Now I’m sure there are many who are very familiar with spin bikes, and anyone who has taken a spin-class will attest to its effectiveness when you push to your limits.

So as I prepare for my mountaineering expedition to Nepal later this year, and the Coast-to Coast Adventure Race in New Zealand not long after, the swoosh of the spin-bike, the clink of the chain on the rowing machine, and the sound of weights being lifted, will be heard heralding in a new day in the world’s greatest harbour city, Sydney, Australia…

Baz - Chancellor Dome in the background
Baz – Southern Alps, New Zealand

 Hey, if you’ve got a favourite spin-bike workout, shout it out to me…

Anyway, the sun is shining, there’s a light breeze, and we’re all heading down to the lake for a paddle…

 Strewth, you wouldn’t be dead for quids, hey!

Ps: Just in case you are wondering and as the picture of The Shed attests, you can never have enough paddling craft…
Baz - Kayaking Narrabeen Lake, Sydney, Australia
Baz – Kayaking Narrabeen Lake, Sydney, Australia

I signed up to do what? (Mates – Out and About)

Baz - Southern Alps, New Zealand
Baz – Southern Alps, New Zealand

It is been just over one month since I returned from my mountaineering training in New Zealand and I haven’t so much as touched a rope or any of my climbing gear.

 Mind you I need little encouragement to get “Out and About” in the mountains and with only eight months to go before I head to Nepal I need to be training as much as I can.

Unfortunately, my Achilles tendon remains sore although treatment is progressing. I’m working on the basis that rest is best, but it does test the patience!

I just need to get an adventure under my belt!

This past weekend we had a visit from Janet’s sister Leah, partner, Ray and their beautiful son, Aubrey. We always look forward to the time we spend together and usually it involves signing up for an adventure or two with Ray.

Ray, Leah and Aubrey
Ray, Leah and Aubrey

And we always have a good laugh as we dream up another adventure…

 But strewth, I’ve just been doing a list of the things I’ve agreed to participate in and it starts with a trip on the mountain bike this coming weekend. It will take us along a road built by convicts in the early days of European settlement in Australia.

 It is quite a pretty place, but there are plenty of hills and it won’t be any walk in the park. 

Although, Ray reckons he’s letting me off lightly because of my foot injury. I’ll be on the bike, he’ll be running the 50 kilometres (phew – I won’t complain too much about the Achillies any more!)

And hot on the heels of that we’ll be lining up for the next Tough Mudder Event in Sydney early April.  We completed it in September last year, twenty kilometres of running, tackling obstacles, and of course tons of mud, getting zapped by electric charges, running through fire – all good fun, seemingly!

Baz and Ray "survive" Tough Mudder
Baz and Ray “survive” Tough Mudder

Next, while we were out paddling on the lake early on Sunday morning Ray casually mentioned that I’d better be fit for the Coast-to-Coast Adventure Race across New Zealand’s South Island as he is putting our entries in shortly.

Ray - Beachcomber Kayak
Ray – Beachcomber Kayak
The Boys, Terrigal, Australia
The Boys, Terrigal, Australia

I don’t remember signing up for it, but it looks like I’m going next February. Actually, I’m looking forward to training for it; after all I need to be super fit for the Nepal expedition in November so I say, bring it on…

I made him do a 1-kilometre sprint in his kayak after that pronouncement!

 Whoops, note to self – tell the boss I need more time off!  Better still, with a bit of luck he’ll read this and come and pat me on the back and say, Baz, do you want a week off in February…

Baz crossing Goat's Pass - Coast to Coast Race New Zealand
Baz crossing Goat’s Pass – Coast to Coast Race New Zealand

But not to be outdone I raised the ante with all the finesse of a Mississippi River boat gambler and tossed in that we’ll need to do the 111-kilometre Hawkesbury Classic Kayak Race in October as preparation for the Coast-to-Coast race. After all the Coast-to-Coast has a 70-kilometre paddle down the fast flowing Waimak River.

Baz leads the field out in the Bridge to Bridge - 111 kilometre Hawkesbury Classic Kayak Race
Baz leads the field out in the Bridge to Bridge – 111 kilometre Hawkesbury Classic Kayak Race

You’d think he would have folded by now, but strewth, he’s still got those cards close to his chest, so I’m wondering what is going to get thrown into the pot next…

One thing is for sure; he’ll come up with something as there is plenty of free time on that calendar still, in between rock climbing in the Blue Mountains, of course.

But hey, you’ve got to love this stuff and doing it with mates is what it is all about!

Just go easy on me Ray…!

And remember, if all else fails, just remain out of control and see what develops…

Baz and Ray, Tough Mudder, Sydney
Mates…Baz and Ray, Tough Mudder, Sydney
Ps: Oddly enough no alcohol was consumed in the planning of these adventures…