Jeremy Hopwood

Jeremy Hopwood

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Looking for Wind - Another Vancouver Ride Route

So here is the route from today's ride. For the 86km I only had to unclip once and slow to a roll (track stands are not yet in my play book) a couple times. This is great if you want a solid uninterrupted bike ride, something that I want on practically every serious ride at the moment as come race day you tend to loose time if you are sitting down having coffee or seeking out the nearest washroom.

The other good thing about this ride is that unless its a still day you will definitely get exposure to riding in the wind. Today I had about 23km straight of headwinds half way through the ride plus a decent share of crosswinds and thankfully a bit of a tailwind in some sections as well. Learning to ride efficiently in the wind is something that takes time and I am gradually getting better at.

This ride is reasonably flat (About 1100 Feet of elevation) no hills at all from 21km to 63km) but there is UBC hill and a few false short pitches along SW marine drive. However the likelihood of wind will ensure you have a good workout.

Click on the Image Below to go the the GMAP Pedometer Map

0km - From the start in Kits (Near Cuppa Joe) you head out along Spanish Banks
4km - Marks the start of UBC Hill. A 1.5km climb at about 5%.
18km - After heading around marine drive take the right @ SW Marine and then cross the Arthur Laing Bridge
20km - Take care when crossing across here. There are few different ways to do this but the end result is to end up on the road to Iona (Templeton St)
28km This is the turnaround point at Iona (In the car park near the Washrooms) You are nearly guaranteed wind along this section and being an out and back there is no free ride. This rode is also good for TT work and you will tend to see a lot of cyclists enjoying this stretch of road.
35km - This is another tricky navigation part. Essentially you want to end up on River Road. I turn left onto Templeton @ Grant McConachie Way then merge right onto Sea Island Way. Left onto 3 road and right onto river road.
40km - The map lies you need to turn right onto 5 road, left onto Vulcan Way, left onto six road and right onto river road
51km - After the nice long stretch next to the Fraser river on river road. You reach the turnaround point were the road turns towards Westminster Highway. Once again this section along the Fraser will be exposed to wind.
63km - After returning the way you came take the pedistrian/cycle bridge underneath the Canada Line. Then follow the signs to the heather bike lane.
65.5km - Turn Left onto 70th Avenue and follow this to where it turns to Marine. Then return around UBC finishing were you started.
85km -This route is complete. If you are done for the day Cuppa Joe is a good place for a quick coffee and bite to eat

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fitting it In - Just a Normal Day

Busy but good day today. Have come to planning were all my workouts fit into my schedule each Monday morning and now even though I am training more than ever feel a lot more organised and relaxed.
  • Started at 5am with drive to the pool and a small breakfast on the way. 90min swim then home for quick breakfast and a coffee.
  • Quickly checked the work email before heading to the office via an extended commute to get in a couple hours on the bike.
  • Good, productive day at work achieving everything I wanted too followed by a bike commute to the track to help run a session and got in some stretching and core work while people were running.
  • Rolled home and in the door at 7:15pm. Small dinner cooking and get ready for tomorrow before catching some Z's

Have definitely found by planning in extended commutes to get the mid week bike sessions a huge help as essentially get 2 hours of training in for the price of 1. Also tend to do one run a week at lunch along with core and stretching on another day.

Looking forward to the coming weeks and getting the work done.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Comox Valley Half Marathon - March 21st

1:16:36 (PR by 1:02), Overall 9/601, Male 9/279, M30-34 5/27

Full results here -

So early this week the decision was made to lace up the Newtons and race the Comox Valley Half Marathon. This is one of the island series of races and part of the Timex series also. Island running tends to be a strong affair so it was good to get out and race against a strong feel.

It was a long day from Vancouver with a 6:30am ferry to get to the island followed by an 80 minute drive (For some reason I thought this would be about 30 minutes or so :) ). Anyway arrived at race site in plenty of time and got a good warmup in.

This week has been a little bit of a recovery week but still had a decent day out yesterday on the bike but held back a little to make sure didn't destroy myself. The shakeout run yesterday felt a little bit sluggish but this is not always a bad thing for me. I had a good session at Forerunners on wednesday night so knew the potential was there and the only way to find out if was for real was to race and test it out.

So before I knew it was 11am and time to bring on the pain. I really wanted to negative split this race and with a net uphill to halfway then back the opposite way home downhill this was a good opportunity. Weather was pretty mild and dry with a little more wind than I would have licked but nothing to severe.

Took it easy out of the start and still managed to go throug 1km in 3:35, found myself running a little bit between two groups at this time so gradually floated back the 10 metres to the group behind and set in a rythm. Up until about 5km (18:20) felt pretty relaxed like I was on a long run. At this point the course started to hill up a little and by 7km was in a group of 2. Tried to keep relax but hold my pace a little and attack the downhills while recovering on the flats.

At 10km (37:16) was still running in this group of 2 and it stayed this way until the 11km mark. There was a slight downhill here so upped the pace and the workrate a little and started to create a gap. Really focussed on fast turnover and form and started to work the uphills a little more. At 15km (54:57) I had created a decent gap and had the next group of 3 in my sites. My km times were now consistently at or under 3:30 and was feeling as good as you can after 1 hour of hard running.

Around 17km picked of someone who had dropped of the pack of 3 and started to work at bridging the next 40m to 8th and 9th place. At this point the suffering began and felt like was having a hard time maintaining the gap let alone bridging it. Came on to a nice bit of flat piece of road and found some more rythm and eventually came upon the two guys at 19km or so. At this point decided to just try and accelerate through them as fast as I could as the effort to catch had taken a lot out of me and sitting and kicking was not something I thought I could do. Created abit of a gap, not sure how much, however one guy responded and when he came back past around the 20km (1:12:50) mark I tried to go but just couldn't make it happen. The gap on the guy in 10th place was still there so just worked to try and hold the gap to the guy in front in the hope I could run him down in the last 500m.

Tried to kick early but no real speed left in the tank, so ended just trying to hold my pace and kicking the last 150m. In the end came in at 1:16:36 which was a new PR by 1:02. This got me 9th overall and 5th in the M30-34 Age Group.

Pretty happy wiht the race, not sure would have done much differently and acheived my negative split. Definetely danced the line between blowing up and racing hard in the last 3km but managed to walk the tightrope.

Thanks again to my supporters in 2010 - Forerunners, Newton Running and Speed Theory. Thanks also to Les for putting up with the rumaging around the house at 4:45am as I got ready to go catch the ferry.

Overall another great island race, cheap entry ($30), good food after, heaps of draw prizes (I never win these so is an irrevelant point), lots of volunteers and lots of quality runners.

Additional stats just because I am a little bit of a data junkie;

  • Negative split of 5.4% - 39:21 / 37:15
  • Fastest 5km Split: 12km to 17km – 17:15 (15 seconds of open 5km PR)
  • Fastest 10km Split: 10km to 20km – 35:35 (44 seconds of open 10km PR)
  • Average pace – 3:38 min per/km (5:50 per mile)
  • Splits: 3:35, 3:41, 3:41, 3:40, 3:44, 3:47, 3:43, 3:55, 3:47, 3:45, 3:44, 3:39, 3:28, 3:24, 3:26, 3:24, 3:33, 3:40, 3:44, 3:33, 3:46 (1.1km – 3:25 min/km pace)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Staple Ride Route in Vancouver - The UBC Loop

Hey, so one thing that I think about so I do not have to think about it is where can I get out and ride without needing to do that much planning. Living in Vancouver there are quite a few routes to ride but many have there drawbacks in certain regards in terms of traffic, weather etc.

On thing I find very valuable is having a couple routes for when I have a ride on the schedule (especially mid week) that I can just get out the door and head to without any planning. I also have an idea of what pace it takes me at different effort levels so get some instant feedback on how I am riding from that perspective.

The other thing is during the week when I have already worked or need to go to work it removes an potential excuse to miss a session of where do I go ride? As if I ever have to think this I already have an answer.

One of these which is my favorite for this purpose is the UBC loop.

It fulfills my criteria in the following regards;
  • Close to Home - I am on the "loop" after 5 minutes of riding which also means in the unlikely event of a mechanical I can not repair home very quickly.
  • Very minimal lights/stop lights
  • Bike friendly in terms of traffic and shoulder
  • Some exposure to wind
  • Has good sections for interval work
  • Mix of terrain (A couple climbs, good road surface, crappy road surface etc)
Essentially a loop is 32km which makes it good for me to do rides that are based around hour increments (i.e 2 loops = 2 hour ride)

0 - 3km - There are taps here and in the summer concessions are open if you need to refill bottles or buy Gatorade, coke etc.
3km Mark - Spanish Banks Hill - A 1.5km 5% gradient hill. Also a good place for hill repeats
7km Mark - This 4km stretch of road down Marine Drive has a wide shoulder and is an excellent place for interval work. One direction is slightly downhill and one slightly up
12km Mark - Camuson Hill - This is 1km climb that is most probably between 5-6%. The main value it has though is the road surface is horrible so mixes it up especially if you might face this type of surface on race day. For those preparing for Ironman Canada i find it very similar to parts of the climb up Maclean Creek Road
22km Mark - This part of chancellor is a good spot for short reps (1-2 min) of interval work.

Will try and post some of the other routes I use over the coming weeks.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Geelong 70.3 2010 Race Report

Overall Time - 4:39:13

Swim (1.9km) - 32:30, T1 2:18, Bike (90km) 2:31:57, T2 1:10, Run (21.1km) 1:31:15

Overall - 178/1153, Male - 166/923, M30-34 - 41/165

The Background

I write this about a month after the race having arrived back in Canada just in time for the Winter Olympics. Will save the details for that for another post but that is my excuse for latency in this post.

Geelong 70.3 wasn't a goal race of the year, it was an early season hit out that gave me the opportunity to race in Australia and in front of my parents for the first time. The lead up had some solid training although nothing super intense and a fair bit of travel as I flew around South Eastern Australia and saw friends, cricket, the Tour Down Under (Including Lance and Cadel) and a fair bit of time in airports.

The Friday before the race picked up my parents form the airport and drove down to Geelong. Got in all my pre race workouts, hung out a bit and was ready for my first triathlon of 2010.

Swim - 32:30 (Avg 1:43 per 100m)

Overall - 421/1153, Male - 355/923, M30-34 - 78/165

The swim has been the weak part of my arsenal since I took up triathlon and swimming at the same time just over 2.5 years ago. There is still a lot of work to do but this swim was a good reflection of what putting the work in can do with the correct focus. Since October I have been swimming more each week than I would have in total some months. Essentially I am in the pool 5 to 6 hours a week with a lot of focused work. With more work and focus on technique hoping this will improve further.

The swim was a one loop swim and positioned myself about 10 deep in the middle. Getting the crap kicked out of me does not worry me if I get an advantage. The front few lines started wading out further and for sure I thought they would get pushed back so I hung near the start line. Alas they did not and it seems the jet ski was just for show and grabbed a 50m head start, maybe I should have just followed the crowd here.

Australian's other than myself tend to be strong swimmers so there was a good pack to swim with. The increased buoyancy of salt water and a wetsuit helped my body position which I had been working on a fair bit in the pool. Coming to the first mark felt good but had no idea if I was swimming well or not. At this point got stung by a jelly fish and basically went through the following thought process;

  • mmm I wonder if this is going to swell up
  • mmm, my hand is not grabbing seaweed or neoprene, that is more jellyfish
  • ok, I am going to swim with my eyes closed and till I work out what to do
  • well looks like there are a lot of jellies out here and I am sure other people got stung so the quicker I swim the quicker I get out of this gong show.

After this little "crisis" turned for home. Lost a bit more time as was swimming towards the exit but had to swim through a "buoy gate" with the pack I was with so that made for 30 seconds of lateral swimming.

All in all though it was a HIM pb by 4 minutes which is a good sign for the year ahead and proves the swim focus in the pool has been working. More work to come but can't complain.

T1 - 2:18

Overall - 88/1153, Male - 74/923, M30-34 - 13/165

T1 was so- so, didn't feel 100% coming out of the water so only really jogged through transition. At the bike rack everything was methodical but not fast. Bit of traffic getting out of the exit so just carried my bike and got past those working out what they were doing.

Bike - 2:31:57 (Avg 35.53km/h)

Overall - 256/1153, Male - 239/923, M30-34 - 58/165

So onto the bike it was, the course was essentially a short climb out of transition, through a rough section of road then onto a highway for a out and back with a climb at the turnaround, then back to transition. This all happened three times.

Lap 1 - 48:23 (avg 37.23km/h)

Did not feel great coming out of T1 but just worked to get in a rhythm. Went for water over Gatorade initially as just wanted to get settled. Came across some packs (20-40) and made the mistake of trying to blast by when most probably should have just sat back a legal distance off when they recover took me after my second attempt to get from the "insert expletive here" individuals. Any way burned a few matches here but such is life, proud that I resisted the urge to throw an empty bottle into a pack a passed as I went past an aid station but still would not have felt to guilty if I had.

Pretty much just tried to stay aero as much as I could and started to take in nutrition towards the end of the lap

Lap 2 - 50:23 (avg 35.73 km/h)

Lap 1 had me on pace for a 2:25 Bike split which is definitely within what I can achieve. However I think being early season and not having ridden at that output much I started to suffer a little bit on the second lap. This may not have been helped by me wasting my energy on the drafters on the first lap. Was not a horrible lap but quads were getting a little bit tired. On the good side though was able to start going through my nutrition to plan.

Lap 3 - 53:11 (avg 33.85 km/h)

So the wheels fell of a little here. The plan in my head had been to go out steady on lap 1, maintain build on lap two and then hold pace on lap 3. The inverse seemed to happen. Legs just didn't feel the mojo so just worked to keep a high cadence and get er into T2.

In the end was a good early season bike split and not super stressed that didn't go perfect as know my riding strengthens up come my main race season based on passed years. The base work is there just need to get the body used to working at the higher tempo's. Also learned a valuable lesson in needing to have a plan when you come across packs in the bigger races that does not revolve around anger and violence.

T2 - 1:10

Overall - 32/1153, Male - 31/923, M30-34 - 6/165

Pretty straight forward T2, lost a little bit of time as there was no clear dismount line so did not have the best dismount and ran the turn wide to exit transition. Other than that pretty straight forward with no mistakes

Run - 1:31:15 (Avg 4:19 per km)

Overall - 132/1153, Male - 123/923, M30-34 - 31/165

My run was a bit blah. Think this is more reflective of not being used to riding that hard on the bike at this point of the season than anything else but it was a bit dissapointing. Tried to pick up the pace a few times and although aerobically it felt fine the legs just didn't want to turnover. In fact felt like I had bike legs the whole run which made it feel more like running of the bike in an IM.

Had been hoping to hold around 4 min/km pace so became more about survival. Run course was reasonably hilly and in hot,, humid conditions so had some good race experience toughing it out. Managed to pick up a few spots in my age group and think only got passed by one individual but would have been much happier laying down a run split about 10 minutes quicker which I am definitely capable off.

Post Race Thoughts

Happy with an early season hit out which I did not know what to really expect form. Tough race day but you learn more form a day that has some challenges than a perfect day. Big positive is definitely the swim and looking forward to the next few months of work ahead of the A Race in IM CDA.

Was great to race in front of my parents and Les and had an awesome time in Oz over the 5.5 weeks I was there. Flying back to Vancouver the day after i raised knocked my immune system around a bit but it was worth it for the experience on both sides (Oz and Olympics).


  • To Les for coming out and supporting a teaching my parents triathlon spectating 101
  • For my parents for coming up and watching the race and through living at the top of a 3km 5% hill added a nice challenge to every ride and run I did in the first 15 days of 2010
  • To Phil & Toni Lee, Rhys & Kirsten, Susan & Misha for having us stay during our trip around Oz and letting us spend time with you and your families
  • To Clint for all the help with the program since October, early day but think the process is working well. Especially once I learn how to swim :)
  • To Forerunners, Newton and Speed Theory for their support in 2010

Compared to the Pro's

A race report feature I have included since last year is to compare myself against the race winner. This time it was against some guy called Criag Alexander :)

From Geelong 70.3 2010

3:53:15 (Crowie) vs 4:39:13(Jeremy)
20% slower

Swim 23:01 (Crowie) vs 32:30 (Jeremy) 41% slower

1:40 (Crowie) vs 2:18(Jeremy) 38% slower

Bike 2:15:39 (Crowie) vs 2:31:57 (Jeremy) 12% slower

0:55 (Crowie) vs 1:10(Jeremy) 27% slower

Run 1:11:57 (Crowie) vs 1:31:15 (Jeremy) 27% slower

Links and Photos

Full Race Results

Photos by Les and Dad


Got a Clearwater spot at roll down so looks like a trip to Florida may happen in November. Next up though is a few running races, Shawnigan Half Iron then Ironman CDA on my 30th Birthday.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Mobile update

Have decided to go a bit mobile in 2010 on the blog front and do some
mobile updates.

Awesome last month with olympics and have many photos and video to
download as well.

Also raced geelong 70.3 on Feb 7th and finsished in 4:38 which was a
good early season hit out. A 32:30 swim (pb by 4 min) was the
highlight. Also grabbed a clearwater spot at roll down so have a
florida trip for November.

Training is going well especially now I have got over a cough that
lingered over the olympics. Recovery was most probaly not helped by
enjoying the olympic experience but could not have given up that

Fitness wise feeling great and feel are aerobically as fit as I I have
ever been which bodes well for 2010. Upcoming are a few running races
then potentially Shawnigan Lake Half Iron before setting up for the A
race of the first half of the year which is Ironman Coure d Alene on
June 27th (also my 30th Birthday).

That's its for now, hope all is going well and people are working
towards acheiving their goals and dreams in 2010.