Jeremy Hopwood

Jeremy Hopwood

Monday, June 22, 2009

Victoria International Half Ironman - June 21st 2009

Overall Time - 4:30:26

Swim (1.9km) - 36:56, T1 1:51, Bike (87km) 2:29:02, T2 0:57, Run (20km) 1:21:42

The lead in

Victoria Half Iron was my A half for the season and all was going well with the taper until I strained my hamstring 5 days before race day during a set of strides. After treatment from the awesome Dr Carla Cupido and 4 days of self massage and icing (Lots of icing) I was about 90% fit and a 2.5km “fitness test” on Saturday gave me confidence I could run without further damage.

After driving to the island on Saturday I did a quick shakedown ride on the bike and the aforementioned “fitness test”. Race eve was spent hanging out with Paul Harrison and Jorge and enjoying a home cooked dinner of pizza, salad, pasta with bacon and tomato’s.

Focusing on an injury and if you are or are not going to race (Or in this case do the run portion) takes more energy than you anticipate and waking up on Sunday I was not as excited as I would have liked. My pre race eating went ok although was not super hungry managed to get down a fair chunk of calories and then proceeded to set up transition. Once again was a little skittish in transition although managed to set up everything fine did a couple last minute things then it was “go Time”

Swim - 36:56 (Avg 1:57 per 100m)
Overall 272/459 , Male 195/284, M25-29 15/20

I had a pretty good central position in the swim although in retrospect the reason most people were lining up to the far left was that you could wade out a lot further in the water. Got a good start in and was generally happy with the first 800m as held a line well and managed to keep feet. Had a couple good hydration moments and one elbow to the head but was pretty civil. After rounding the first buoy I started to drift a little left and lost the pack to my right a little then rounded for home.

My tendency is to drift left in open water and here is were I think I lost some time. Next time around I need to make a point of swimming right on the buoys and use other swimmers as my drift control. About halfway back I managed to get my direction back and had a good swim to the last buoy.

Rounding the last buoy was still struggling to keep a line and did my normal thing of kicking harder and swimming till my hands touch the bottom then getting up to run.

T1 - 1:51
Overall 71/459 , Male 64/284, M25-29 9/20

T1 overall was pretty sloppy. I did not really run hard enough from the swim exit to my bike and are still having problems finding my wetsuit cord. I also had not fully unstrapped my bike shoes so had to do this before putting them on and got caught in some traffic towards the exit. Although it didn't feel slow each of these things cost me some time. I also did not have the best transition rack and not sure what the system was for this as did not seem to be organized by age group which is a little annoying. However most of the lost time was down to errors on my part.

Bike - 2:29:02 (Avg 35km/h)
Overall 22/459 , Male 22/284, M25-29 3/20

So after a good mount out of T1 I was out and going paying my respects to the point were I flatted 500m out of Transition last year and started giving it. The bike is essentially an effort to keep pace with those that I can not see further down the road who have a strong swim with the hope I can maintain any gap til the run. The first section went well and I was attacking the descents and the climbs as per my plan. There were a couple wet sections to be cognizant off but nothing untoward.

So was working hard and and passing a lot of people when I saw something fly of my bike :). Not sure what it is with the west coast series but always seem to have something happen. this time it was my elbow pad fitting and all that had just sheared off.

Once I worked out what the hell had happened there was not point in turning back for it as would have just been a part for my jersey pocket so kept riding while trying to think of a solution. I still managed to stay aero but resting your forearm on a broken piece of alloy is not comfortable to say the least so I started to think like MacGyver. My theory was a could use my saddle bag as attachment around my forearm however the Velcro strap was not long enough as I tried to do this while keeping some semblance of pace.

With this solution out of the bag my only other though was to wrap this bag on the aerobar. After pulling over to stop and try this for 5 seconds no joy so back pedalling and just had to deal with the pain and awkward position. Was still making ground on people although chose to climb out of aero and take any technical sections on horns as was not totally stable in the aero position with only two real contact points. Comparing the first 25km where I had the pad to the next time around that section without the elbow pad I figure I lost about 1km/h on the bike for the remaining 60km which equates to about 4 minutes or so.

First lap averaged approximately 35.3km/h and continued to push around the course. Coming through about 55km I was passed by James Fry (Later turns out a Marshall had directed him off course) and tried to stay with him but lost him once we hit the flats at about 70km. In reflection I maybe should have tried to hold the gap as came through the second lap in about 34.8km/h and about 2 minutes down on James over the last 17km.

Are happy with the bike and how I dealt with a non textbook mechanical although the core is definitely feeling the impact today after trying to hold my position for 60km. This wasn't something I could have prevented so was happy with my ride and managed to maintain my output at 80% of max HR for the bike.

T2 - 0:57
Overall 12/459 , Male 12/284, M25-29 1/20

Even with my less than stellar bike position that cost me about 5 to 10 seconds had a pretty stellar T2. Had a pretty good dismount (Still room for improvement) and was very methodical out of transition. A few small things to tinker with but this is pretty competitive.

Run - 1:21:42 (Avg 4:06 min/km)
Overall 11/459 , Male 11/284, M25-29 2/20

Carrying a fresh injury into the race as mentioned my run strategy was to run within myself, take care on the downhills and listen to my body. If my hamstring was to tighten I was going to make the decision to pull out and save my body for another day.

0 to 5km (20:57 - 4:11 min/km)

I started out with this though and tried to shorten my stride and keep my cadence up. The run course is actually quite twisty and turny and a couple times I mis stepped I could feel my hamstring although it was not tighting up. This gave me cause to make sure I ran with a safety first mindset and be careful especially on downhills. The first 5km felt pretty good and I went through this point in

5 to 10km (20:38 - 4:08 min/km)

Same tactic here as before just trying to work cadence without injuring myself. All I can say here is that those who I talked to during the week reminding to remember that the race season is still young helped me out from doing anything stupid and trying to push hard here.

10 to 15km (21:06 - 4:13 min/km)

Don't remember much here but had to deal with a little traffic on the course on the second loop. This is normally were I really start to increase my work rate but just focused on short fast strides.

15km to 20km (19:43 - 3:57 min/km)

Kept running"controlled" until about 3km to go then upped the pace for the last 2km. Felt really fresh at this point and had a good finish chasing down a few people in the last km with a 3:42 min/km and passed Adam Kelly at the entrance to chute.

All in all was very happy with my run. I know I left a few minutes on the run course but it was a prudent thing to do and running with a short stride was good practice for Ironman Canada when utilizing different running strategies can make a huge difference. From a heart rate perspective I averaged 84% of max HR where I know I can push myself to around 90% in a normal scenario as I did in the last 5km.

Post Race Thoughts

Happy with my overall effort and was a well executed race but are positive I will go faster in Vancouver given an injury free lead up. As always room for improvement on the swim and will be focusing on this and the bike in the coming weeks with the hope to gain some time in these disciplines. The run was perfectly executed to my pre race plan and I have to be happy with that. I will need to save a super fast run split till Vancouver.

Nutrition Report

Swim - Plenty of Fresh H20 :)
Bike - 5 GU Roctane, 1 700ml Gatorade, 1 600ml Water
Run - 1 GU, 1 Gatorade, Plenty of Water and two cokes (All in the "mini" cups)

Compared to the Pro's

My new race report feature since Oliver is to compare myself to the winner in this case the ultra fast Jasper Blake.

3:54:59 (Jasper) vs 4:30:26 (Jeremy)
15% slower

Swim 23:48 (Jasper) vs 36:56 (Jeremy) 55% slower

0:44 (Jasper) vs 1:51 (Jeremy) 152% slower

Bike 2:18:34 (Jasper) vs 2:29:02 (Jeremy) 8% slower

0:39 (Jasper) vs 0:57 (Jeremy) 46% slower

Run 1:10:57 (Jasper) vs 1:21:42 (Jeremy) 15% slower

Looking Forward

Next on the agenda is the 4km Canada Day swim at Sasamatt barring a full hamstring recovery before the Scotiabank Half Marathon. From a triathlon perspective the Vancouver Half Ironman is next on my agenda and I plan to go super hard at this one. Although not doing a taper prior I will have an easy week leading in With the course being my playground as a kits resident I plan on attacking this and running down as many people as I can.

From a training perspective technique will be swim focus (as always) with Intensity on the bike and continuing my normal run pattern after an easy run week. Really want to teach myself how to "hurt" on the bike so I can pick up a few more minutes in this discipline.

Quick Thanks
(Not just shameless plugs but close)

To Leslie - Your likely to busy to read this with Baby Beluga's and all but thanks for putting up with early alarms, bikes in and around the house etc etc!!!

To Forerunners and all their team and Newton for their ongoing support. The Newton Gravity was super stable around the trails and Forerunners was the perfect place to pick up some last minute GU's.

Thanks as always to Jerry from Forerunners with his help on my run program.

Dr Carla Cupido - You Rock that's all I can say. Would not have been able to run without your treatment and advice. Got injuries needing treatment or want to avoid injuries this is the person to visit!!

Jeremy at Speed Theory for getting me a replacement elbow pad today. Glad nobody can explain why the coupling would just shear. Will ensure I make more prayers to the Tri Gods going forward :)

Calvin for the coffee on Friday. Was good to get confirmation of my run plan in the light of carrying an injury. good to see your leg is on the mend in the lead up to IMC

To all those who read this report and follow me on Twitter. the fact that you read this far means you should get back to work :)

Was this a PR and interesting Facts?

Victoria was my quickest ever Half Iron but compared to Oliver the distances are shorter. Based on average speeds and the like I would have to Say Oliver remains my best race in my triathlon career with Victoria coming second. SO I am not calling this a PR just my fastest Half Iron.

This was my 7th half ironman race and the to this point (touch wood/trees/forests) I have never been overtaken on the run. I plan on keeping this stat even as I exit the bike closer to the front of the field.

Last year my Victoria Half Ironman time was 5:45:18 so have to be happy with the year on year improvement. (Approx 1hr 15 minutes)

Shout Outs

Well this has been an indulgently long post so some shout outs before I post;

Rachel Kiers - 5th WPRO at Ironman CDA - Sweet - way to rock it!!!!
Doug and D0n - Sweet races at IM CDA also. From all reports swim got pretty rough on the second loop so way to tough it out.
Paul and Tony - The Kiwis went 1-2 in the M30-34 Category in Victoria. Paul - one day I will catch you on the run then it will be a death match I sense!!!!
Vincent - 2nd in M20-24 category
Nick - Won the M25-29 at Victoria. Awesome run split. Will try and remember this when I have to push harder in Vancouver :). Was good to briefly chat post race
Gerry - Awesome Race and PR at Vancouver especially for being sick
Jared - Hope the knee recovers but to jog/walk to a pr is pretty impressive
Erin - Congrats on your first Half Iron
Facundo - Congrats on your win at Iron Mountain
Jorge - Impressive debut in the Victoria Sprint.


  1. Man, one of these Subaru races you'll have a clean race and just fly. I'm impressed with your bike time considering the pad.

    I like the comparison to Jasper. I think I may steal that for mine.

  2. Thank you SO much! What a great race Victoria is. Highly recommend to anyone looking to do a 1/2 IM.

    So that was YOUR aero elbow pad!!!! I saw it on the road and thought 'that must really suck' :-( Glad to see you made the best of it.

    I didn't realise we had the same bike (only mine is blue). I will keep an eye out for you at the Vancouver 1/2 IM, that is my next race.

  3. Way to go. That missing pad must have been pretty annoying - the metal looks pretty jagged. You're lucky you didn't eat it when it broke off...

    Hopefully you're getting all of the injury/mechanical etc. BS out of the way before IMC.

  4. MJ got me thinking, was damn lucky was accelearating out of the airport turn and didn't have my wait on the pads but was working the cow horns. Couldn't imagine if that broke on a decsent.

    Racing prep is all about controlling what you can control so now I have added a pre race check for hairline fractures on my base bars thanks to Calvin from Finish Line Coachings suggestion. In terms of IMC are getting good practice at MacGyver the wierd and wonderful.

    Funny that people saw the elbow pad, took me two minutes to work out what the hell had happened so was no way I was turning back.

    Showdown in kits will be next on the agenda and will be praying to the Tri gods for mech free bike and injury free run.

  5. Good job on your race despite the aeropad issues! That is a super tough bike course from what I remember having done it way back in 2004 (my first ever 1/2 iron - I have also done 7 1/2's so far!).

    Are you by chance a left-side-only breather when swimming?? That could contribute to your tendency to drift left in open water. Or the drifting left could be caused by entering wide with the L arm or crossing over with your R arm (or both together).

  6. Back to work, no way, I much prefer reading race reports. Nice work in Victoria. I cheered for y'all on the hill just after McTavish Road - the crazy gal in the blue/orange cycle kit with the bell. Keep up the good work.