Jeremy Hopwood

Jeremy Hopwood

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

2009 Persona Oliver Half Iron Triathlon Race Report

Persona Oliver Half Iron Triathlon

Overall Time - 4:36:40 (New PR)
24/901 Overall, 24/534 Male, 5/33 M2529)

Swim (2km) - 38:36, T1 3:02, Bike (93km)- 2:28:44, T2 1:03, Run (21.1km) - 1:25:16

The Preamble

The Persona Oliver Half Iron was a late addition to my calendar in March as I decided to throw another race into the May to July Half Iron Season. Based on a good performance at Shawinigan Lake and with Victoria upcoming I decided to turn this race into a training weekend.

This race turned into unexpected breakout in terms of performance and as a result I have indulged in a pretty lengthy race report. As always thanks to Les for putting up with bikes throughout the house and early morning alarms, those people who I train with, Jerry Ziak from Forerunners for his advice on my running and Forerunners and Newton Running for their support thus far in 2009.

The Race Week Taper and Prep

Preparation for this race was not typical or something I would want to fully repeat. Thursday I went down in a group ride and got to know the road a little better and spent most of Thursday Night and Friday Icing and making sure my wounds were clean. Then it was into the Wagon and off to the Okanagan and Oliver.

As this was a training weekend I ventured out onto the Ironman Canada course on the Saturday and put in a ride from our campsite in Oliver to Osoyoos up Richter and to Keremeos. Saturday was “windy” and this being my first ever day riding deep dish rims was a learning experience. Not wanting to test my skills in big gusts coming down yellow lake I decided to return back the way I came over the rollers and back to Oliver via Osoyoos.

So on the traditional bike check in shake out ride I rode 160km in big crosswinds which was about 50km more than planned (Not to mention my hope for a calm day). Never less registration was pretty quick and headed to a Pub opposite our campsite for dinner and had one of the largest caeser salads I have ever seen and a steak and baked potato with another side caeser salad.

After a quick stop at the supermarket in OK Falls headed back to camp, downed a little chocolate milk and a mars bar and then went to the campsite lake to ice down. Having crashed on Thursday I was a little nervous of how the concept of swimming would sit so after about 10 minutes of psyching myself up dived in did about 5 strokes with no pain and got out of there.

After sorting my bags for transition and race morning got to bed around 9pm and crashed out pretty quickly.

Race Morning

I woke up at about 5am or just before and began eating food. First on the agenda was a banana followed by two small tubs of yogurt and a Lara bar. After this cleaned a prepped my wounds paying special attention to the skin on my hand and after packing up the tent headed down to the transition about 80 minutes or so before race start.

After checking tires and loading on my nutrition (GU’s and a frame bottle of Gatorade. On my bike I set up my shoes and bike gear and headed down to transition. On the 600m walk from my bike to the swim start I had a GU and upon reaching the beach did some stretching, had half a can of red bull some more water then went for a 100m warm-up swim.

Swim (2km) – 38:36 (PR) (Avg 1:56 per 100m)

(364/901 Overall, 257/534 Male, 26/33 M25-29)

After a 10 min delay the race was underway and I tried to push the first 100m and really then started to concentrate on a long stroke and good pull. After about 500m I managed to find a small pack and held with them till the first turn at 800m. In the turn I lost the group I was swimming with and worked to find another group, I think in this section I could have pushed a bit harder and felt my stroke getting a little sloppier. Upon the turn for the exit and the final 500m I started to work of some people from a later wave and increased my kick and swam all the way to shore.

Was a new PR for the swim and 2 minutes faster than my previous PR at Shawinigan which was 100m shorter. Was stoked with this and while there is plenty of improvement to come sub 35 min at Victoria or Vancouver could be possible if I keep working on technique and time in the pool.

T1 (650m) – 3:02

(16/901 Overall, 16/534 Male, 2/33 M25-29)

This was a long transition with a 650 metre bare foot run with some stairs thrown in for good measure. For whatever reason I forgot to unzip my wetsuit straight out of the water and lost about 10 seconds looking for the strap and another 10 seconds as did not get a good strip due to this as well.

I then executed my plan of just giving through this section and even though I didn’t have my Newton’s for this the concept of barefoot running held true and I got onto my forefoot and made up 79 places overall, 54 in the Male and 7 in my age group. Hitting the bike I went pretty methodically and got out onto the road.

The run obviously aided my transition and I now have some small takeaway’s to improve which may include practicing having my shoes on the bike to save some time from this perspective and getting better and getting rid of my wetsuit.

Bike (93km) – 2:28:44 (PR) (37.5 km/h)

(24/901 Overall, 24/534 Male, 5/33 M25-29)

Hitting the bike my legs were still a little stale from the riding the day before and I decided to just push as hard as I could and try not to let any one pass me. My HR monitor didn’t kick in after the swim so I worked on feel and tried to maintain a high cadence. My first time check was at 14km and I went through this section at about 42.2km/h it was now time for two full loops and the journey through the vineyards of Oliver.

I made a point of really punching the climb up Black Sage road and attacking the descents as much as possible started to gain as many places as I could. At 54km in I had been averaging 38.7km/h and was working hard to keep Simon Ree (I think) who was running a disk in sight. Coming up Black Sage Road a second time I started to hit some riders on their first loop and worked hard to push the hill while staying seated.

On the decent down to Highway 97 I got overtaken by Simon Ree again and couldn’t keep up with him in the final parts of the decent and put my head down trying to push the pace as hard as I could along the highway. I managed to do this pretty well but lost a little momentum a couple times where I should have been pushing a bigger gear.My last 39km averaged at 36km/h including a conscious effort to spin as much as possible in the last 5km to get ready for the run.

Really happy with my bike performance and a new PR for average speed by a long way especially for it being on tired legs. I learnt a lot about how to push hard on the bike. In the end I made up 241 places overall, 162 in Male and 12 in M25-29 on the bike and was only passed by two people.

Still think I left some speed on the course and that will be a key focus in upcoming races.

Nutrition plan worked out well on the bike going through 2 bottles of Gatorade, 1 water and 6 GU’s

T2 - 1:03

(24/901 Overall, 18/534 Male, 2/33 M25-29)

To be honest wasn’t that happy with my T2. Found my rack real easy but had problems dumping my spare kit and I dismounted with my bike shoes on as have not really practiced this since last year and ended up dropping my GU and decided to go back and grab it.

Also had the weird sensation of being far enough up in the field that had an official watching my whole transition with “steely” eyes which was a first. After getting my Newton Distance S Racers on I ran the 100m or so to the transition exit and began the run in 40th place overall having made up one spot in T2.

Run (21.1km) – 1:25:16 (PR) (4:02 min/km)

(10/901 Overall, 10/534 Male, 2/33 M25-29)

So off to my favorite part the run. Having ridden faster than I ever have before in my life and coming off a big day of training in the previous 24 hours I did not know what to expect coming out of T2. I focused on high cadence and pushed the pace with the hope that I could govern my effort effectively.

I clocked through the first 5 km’s in 20:22 losing a little bit of pace when I hit gravel trails. From about 2km onwards I started to see the leaders coming through on the end of their first loop and my plan was to try and go with them if they caught me on their second loop. As I continued on I started to see a few more of the pro’s and top age groupers and picked some targets to work on over the next section.

At 10km I had held my pace and went through this section in 40:54 (20:32 for the second 5km) and focused on making sure I got some Gatorade down and kept cool with water over my head. I was steadily picking off people at this point and feeling good.

The next 5km gave me a good ego boost seeing the leaders returning on their second loop and I had only lost around 400m to them in 10km. I took 20:39 for the next 5km and was feeling good with the thought to try and give it with 5km to go. The course was getting more crowded now so the only way to pick targets was on the out and back based on who was running fast. Had some extra support on the run course from an Aussie who I run with at the Wednesday Forerunners clinics who was cheering on some friends as well as seeing a few people I knew out on their first loop.

So 6.1 km to and I was feeling good. The next 5km went by quick and with about 3km I started to overtake some more people on their second loop. At this point I was flying a feeling good and went 19:51 for the 5km. So with 1.1km’s to go it was all about work rate and with a loop course it was hard to tell if there was anyone catchable ahead. In the end I finished the last 1.1km in 3:52 (3:32 min km pace) having made up 17 places overall, 17 in Male and 2 places in M25-29 on the run.

Negative Split the run and finished strong, ended up being a solo time trail for long sections so I was happy I kept the pace up and feel that with a rested approach can go even faster in my upcoming races. Newton’s were perfect for the surface and really felt the benefit when running on tarmac of the shoes and my stride mechanics which I have been working on in 2009.

Post Race Thoughts

I came into this race with no expectations and after the lead up week of crashes and hard training I would have been happy with sub 5 hours. My race plan was to just work hard on the swim and bike and see what happened on the run.

My swim was an awesome improvement on last year and even two weeks ago. I learnt a lot about how to push hard on the bike and are confident I can give it on the bike very hard and still have a strong run and make up positions on the field. From a run perspective I thought I executed this very well and the only take away I might have is try and not have any km’s above 4 minutes in my upcoming races in order to get more competitive in this aspect.

In terms of goals although I had not set any for this race explicitly around time this is an A+ result and now resets the baseline for Victoria Half Iron in two weeks and Vancouver Half Iron in July. The other aspect of this that is a huge positive is in relation to Ironman Canada in the fact that this race was done on tired legs it did not translate to a poor run. Lots of training from now until then, however this would indicate the process is working.

Key focus for the next couple of weeks will be swim and resting up for the Vancouver Half Iron which I am focusing on like an Ironman Canada rehearsal.

Compared to the Pro’s

So after every race I am now going to compare my splits to the winner. Here it is for the Persona Oliver Half Iron in which Tome Evans took out the overall win;


4:06:42 (Tom Evans) vs 4:36:40 (Jeremy)

12% Slower


24:32 (Tom Evans) vs 38:36 (Jeremy)

57% Slower


2:15:47 (Tom Evans) vs 2:28:44 (Jeremy)

9.5% Slower


1:22:31 (Tom Evans) vs 1:25:16 (Jeremy)

3% Slower


  1. Congratulations Jeremy. Awesome job.

  2. amazing race. Other than really weak beginners I've never heard of someone getting PR's in all three events.

    Very impressive.

    Can't wait to see Victoria. I'm going to have to look out!

    Did you race with the disk?

  3. Raced with Reynolds strike on front and back. Looking at getting a disc cover for the back from wheelbuilder so I have the disk option as found it hard to keep up with a couple of guys on the flats who were running a disc setup

  4. Great job, Jeremy.... enjoyed the race report. Hopefully, you've inspired me to get mine up soon. It's pretty cool that after a big training weekend on the IMC course that you're still up running with the pro's (3% is awesome). Hope to see you out training on the Vancouver/Richmond roads sometime soon. Joanne.

  5. Jeremy, killer race man, looking fwd to seeing what you can do at New Balance given your latest result, hopefully will get a chance to see you there, i'm sure i'll see you ride by me at some point. Best of luck this coming weekend.