A Sydney Swim, Bike and Runaround


I started working my way back home from New Zealand yesterday morning.  Due to the way my airline ticket was, I ended up having a roughly 30 hour layover in Sydney.  So I was determined to take advantage of it.  By time the day was over, I’d done all three legs of a triathlon – though in a somewhat convoluted order, and in a very non-standard distance.  Here’s a look at my day.

The Runaround:

Despite having run just the night before in Wellington, I was back at it again.  And while my legs were a touch sore from scaling the mountain/hill/thing, I was ready to throw down in a fartlek run.  A fartlek run is effectively free-form intervals.  No specific set number of repeats or work/rest intervals, or specified intensities.  Just a block of time where I’d go hard and easy mixing it up.  My coach often schedules these towards the ends of longer trips where I may be getting more tired.  This allows me to go as hard as I feel like (which, is sometimes perhaps a touch too hard).

I was staying in the Bondi area, so naturally, I started this from a boardwalk overlooking the beach.


This morning, that happened to include a bunch of surfing classes taking photos.


The run would last a touch over an hour, with the first 10 minutes of the run a bit of a warm-up.  The path I was following on my route would take me south along the coastline, on what turned out to be a very non-flat route.


At the end of Bondi, I’d ascend up past and over one of the most iconic pools in the world.  Home of the Bondi Icebergs.  You can actually swim there without any issues as a visitor.  But I saved that for another time.


As usual, all the photos taken during the swim/bike/run were taken on my small point and shoot camera – which is waterproof.  The only exception to this post is the very first photo, which I went back out and took early this morning with a DSLR.  While on any runarounds, all photos are taken ‘on the run’, I generally don’t stop – hence why some are slightly fuzzy.

Speaking of waterproof, it rained a bit on and off during my run.  Prior to starting my run I was bummed it wasn’t sunny, but in retrospect, I was pretty happy for the cooler temps and lack of direct sun.

The route went up and down, and down and up, and every variation in between.


Here’s the elevation profile:


Along the way, I ran through a cemetery.  I’m not quite sure where I took the wrong turn, as it seemed the path was going that way, and then boom – I see dead people places!


Thankfully, I quickly found my way back onto the normal running path.

Perhaps the coolest thing about many of the beaches in the Sydney area are the public pools filled with ocean water that are everywhere.  I think I passed 4-5 of them on my roughly hour-long run.  Both of the ones below are in addition to the Bondi one.


On my way back (I did an out and back), I passed a lawn bowling place.  A bunch of older gentleman were just beginning their game.


Since this was effectively a DIY interval run, you’ll see my heart rate was up and down all over the map for the section that I was doing fartlek’s on.


Soon, I was working my way back across Bondi beach.  I noticed this guy pushing around sand, and thought to myself: “There’s always that one kid who was the sand castle over-achiever.  This is that kid.”


And finally, back at the start.


Post-run I walked across to a small grocery store and attempted to make sense of the chocolate milk section.  So many options, so little actual chocolate milk.


Finally, I found it. Next to (logically), the strawberry milk.  Woot!


Now to rest a couple hours before my next adventure begun.

The Bikearound

Next up was a bike ride.  The Magellan Fitness guys that are over Australia and New Zealand had reached out and asked if I’d like to go for a ride with them.  Obviously, I wasn’t about to say no to riding into Kangaroo land.

They picked me up at the hotel and we drove about an hour north.  From there they supplied me with a bike/helmet/shoes and we were soon off.  I was happy to see that I wasn’t the only one who rides with multiple GPS units.


It didn’t take long until we were out on fairly quiet roads.


Much of which was initially along the coastline, small bays and harbors.


From there we’d head up into some of the mountains.


Soon though, it was time to enter Kangaroo territory!  I saw a couple of these signs, and obviously had to get a photo.  Just aren’t signs like these in Paris.  Though ironically enough, one of the guys I was riding with was named Paris.


As a side note, the bike I was riding was outfitted with little skull stickers.  This should have served as a warning, as neither of my brakes were actually snapped tight (the little levers).  No worries, despite their best efforts to dump me into the bush while descending, I survived without incident.


The bike I was outfitted with had a new Magellan Cyclo105 unit on it.  This is sorta like the Edge 500, but with the Magellan Switch style interface.  Everything worked well for me, though, I didn’t play with it too much on this ride.


Unfortunately I didn’t see any wildlife on the ride, but the scenery more than made up for it.  Really nice out in the national park, just generally quiet roads and plenty of climbing.


More perfect scenery on a road where only a single car passed us for at least 30 minutes:


Here’s us, taking a brief cookie break. Or rather, a ‘turn on your brakes break’.


As we climbed one chunk of the route, there were actually markers till the summit.  Apparently this is a popular Strava segment, and the markers correspond exactly to the segment start/end point.



After this, we worked our way back down into the town and towards the beach.  I have enjoyed seeing the crosswalk signs here, with the two legs/feet.


Soon we arrived at the beach – marking the end of our 90 minute ride.  And the start of the next activity.


The Swimaround

Here we parked our bikes right next to the ocean-fed pool.  Can’t really get a better parking spot than this.


The pool is fed and emptied continuously with fresh sea water.  You can see the water coming in at the very far corner from a pipe (in addition to any waves).


Because I didn’t bring my goggles with me in my jersey pocket, my swim was limited to about two laps.  But still, it counts!  Plus, with swimming my least enjoyable triathlon sport, I was happy with this ratio.


Even better is that they have freshwater showers for a quick rinse afterwards.  Perfect!

Here we are, post-swim, and post-ride.  Ready to ride to dinner.


Thanks to the Magellan guys for the ride – I loved getting out there!

And with that, my flight is boarding off to Hong Kong, working my way home – so I’ve gotta run!  I had a great time down in Australia and NZ, and look forward to returning.

Thanks for reading!


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  1. Great photos and update, as usual! 🙂


  2. Nice! Drop me a line if you’re in HK and need a guide 😉 I’ll do my best to help if I’m free.
    bleung_cf1ocn on twitter!

  3. Another amazing travel post, nice streak now 🙂 Almost can’t believe you take these photos whilst running and biking, you must have gotten a certain skill for it after all these years 🙂

  4. OhioTriathlete

    I don’t travel nearly as ofter as you; but in saying so, I would love to see how you pack in order to do (run, bike and swim) while traveling. I am going to Texas and want to run and swim and you should see the pile of clothes I’m brining.
    Great to see your posts!

  5. kab

    great posts this week!!

  6. Wanna tri

    Hey, you make the most out of every stop, can you do one in Italy or France, so I can eye up my next holiday. Cheers 🙂

  7. Rob

    Hey Ray, great pictures and apparently a couple of great workouts as well! I actually did the same runaround when I was in Sydney a few month ago and just loved it. If I remember correctly, I counted about 400 stairs (up or down) one way. Great for fartleks…! – Rob

  8. You’re making me miss my old city!

    On your run there is a path / boardwalk which effectively hangs out over the ocean and you take that instead of going through the cemetary. You must have missed the turn. I’m guess you wouldn’t really look to head over the cliff onto the boardwalk so I can see why you’d miss it! 🙂

    One of the best things about Sydney – apart from the city being stunningly beautiful – is all the national parks within easy reach. It’s great that you managed to see both side of the place during your 30hrs.

  9. Glad you enjoyed your time in Sydney!

    The reason we have so many of the rock pools in the ocean was that they were built during the Great Depression. In order to give men jobs and do something to help brighten the community spirits, pools were built at many of the beaches and even inside the harbour. The safer option of the pool encourages kids to learn and those afraid of shark attacks to swim.

  10. Great Photos,
    Looks like a good time.

  11. Chris

    I was at Bondi Beach in 1995. I still dream of swimming in that pool. Thanks for the memories.

  12. Jo

    Thanks for visiting us here in Oz! seems you brought the rain with you

  13. Iain

    Do you ever sleep? Actually I imagine this was the perfect way to ensure some good shut eye on the plane! Thanks for the tours!

  14. Juro

    The “bike leg” was pretty much around where I ride… too bad I did not know earlier, could have joined you (and get dropped after a few km’s!)

  15. garrop

    Strong guy the one with the cyclo-cross bike… including wide tires….

  16. Ah Sydney, I’m in love!

  17. i learned to swim in the pool that you were in after the ride. makes me miss home.

  18. Dave

    Great to see a travel blog in Oz! Glad you enjoyed your brief stay.

  19. Ashley Huber

    OMG… I have so been to one of the pools you snapped a pic of. It was amazing, I was just a kid at the time but wow! I’m now extremely jealous.

    What a great day to enjoy. 🙂

  20. Tony

    Next time you are in Australia come down south of the Airport to the Sutherland Shire and see why it has produced 3 Hawaii Ironman champs.

  21. Tony

    Actually that should read four…. sorry.