Jeremy Hopwood

Jeremy Hopwood

Sunday, April 15, 2012

March / April Update

I write this update from St Helens on the East Coast of Tasmania. At the moment have gone for a morning run and are relaxing after lunch.

So the last few weeks have been a relaxing but productive one. The main purpose of this trip is to spend some time with my parents as they spend their first chunk of time with Adelaide who is nearing on 14 months old. In addition to this have been trying to get some miles in as well.

The trip started with a drive to Adelaide and my first ever condo type ride through the Adelaide Hills. It was a good little event which I rode with one of my mates from High School and it is amazing to see and hear of how many people ride in Adelaide, it has really reached a tipping point of which the Tour Down Under has had a huge influence. It demonstrates how high level sport can inspire people to get out there and get active and the plus side is there is a greater awareness of cyclists on the rode as the degrees of separation had greatly reduced.

After a few days in Adelaide it was back to Melbourne. Originally the plan had been Ironman Melbourne, however the IM race is one to be respected and based on my lack of time training in Jan and Feb due to a few things it was a Sim Bike Brick day for me. I had a bit of a cold race week due to the travel and had the race been on Wed or Thu I doubt I would have even toed the line. However was about 95% come the day so went out for a good hit out.

Swim was a cluster to put it likely. The combination of only 16k of swimming over the previous 7 weeks, dark googles in a pre dawn start and a lack of sunlight made for a interesting experience. I also learnt that one should not give many piggybacks in the week before a race as my neck had problems looking fwd to sight through my tinted googles in the dark. Pretty sure I swam a good extra 400m or so as at times was not sure if was even swimming in the correct direction.

Post Swim it was time to hit the bike. Once again one of the reasons not to race was that my long ride coming in was the 110km I had done the week before. The course was not as flat as one may have thought with enough gradual inclines to keep you working. Flying into a tunnel is also a lot of fun and it reminds me of top gear when you are in a aero tuck trying to hit 80+ km/h.

Lap 1 went well and went through 90km in 2:26. The fact still thought was struggling fitness wise to push the gears I should be able to is a good sign here once I get the work done. Second lap was a bit of a dog, coming back just couldn't push as hard as I needed to, got some coke in me but still was losing time. In the end biked 5:06 and even with a big push in the last 40km couldn't stay sub 5 - however pretty confident that is in me based on the first lap.

Run was a shakeout more than anything and after about 4km stepped of and gave Adelaide a high 5 before turning in the chip. My first ever DNF (Calling it a Did Not Intend to Finish (DNITF) but was a good early season test to give some motivation for the coming year

After Melbourne it was off to the Grampians. A good week of riding and some runs followed with a fair bit of climbing. Road some of the wimmera highways and did the Mt Wellington climb, being rather cautious on the descent as the roos were coming out.

Upon return was back in Melbourne for a day, road with Luke Gillmer and co along beach road and hung on for 90km as the boys rocketed along. Good hit out and the types of intense rides I likely need more of for shore.

 The night before did a Tan Time Trial and went about 14:03. Would have been nice to go sub 14 but cracked a little with the fatigue in the legs.

After monster day trip on the ferry arrived in Launceston. Got some great riding, running and at last swimming in here with some great rides including a ride up and down the Tamar, one with about 15km of dirts roads (by accident) and a few fun runs around cataract gorge including the mini grind that is called the zig zag track.

After a week in Launceston it was time for the big ride of the trip. 223km from Launceston to Margate. Had intended to stop at hobart but trudged on to parents place.  Had to stops on the journey and both involved bacon and eggs (Sandwhich then breakfast). To be honest the highway from Launceston to Hobart is crap and riding the minimal shoulder felt like riding the out and back at IMC for 200km. The worst thing about riding any sommoth portions of rode was that it reminded you how riding normally feels.

223km and just under 8h of ride time I finished the 3km 5% climb to my parents house, sprinted up the last 120m 25% driveway (sprinting is the only way not to stop) and went for a 10 minute run in the hail. Fitness wise I am sure there are better sessions but mentally that was a good one.

The following week in Margate (South of Hobart) was ok, however logistics made things a little tough. The ring around Margate is basically up or down and in the week I rode 150km and climbed over 10000 feet so there was a lot of grinding up the hills.

Big ride was up to Mt Wellington which was essentially at 22km climbing slog. the actual climb up Mt Wellington averages over 7% and has many steep sections.

The next day was a $3 cross country race on the beach. The sand was relatively firm and there was one short trail, uphill section over a headland. 6km at effort was bought and managed to run 22:57 with a 15 second wait for the stairs to clear on the return back to the finish.

This was a awesome local race with about 200 racing over the 3.2km or 6km distances.

Next up is a week in St helens and a fair bit of beach running looks like an option. Gradually getting back to some semblance of fitness and rebuilding some base which is good. Once get a chance will download a few photos that I have managed to snap.

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