All posts by John

Doing it tough in Kyushu – again

In case you’re starting to suffer as the cold finally arrives in CBR – life in Kyushu is not all roses – yes the cherry blossom is finished – but the azaleas and rhododendrons are going crazy and the wisteria is in full bloom!

Haute Route Triple Crown – Piglet!

After 21 days of climbing – Dolomites, French Alps and Pyrenees – Paul Hamblett has secured the inaugural Haute Route Triple Crown. Along the way he’s spent plenty of time on the podium – his 1st place on Stage 1 of the Pyrenees was particularly impressive.  With 14 days already in his legs – he overwhelmed all the fresh starters who were only doing the Pyrenees event and he’s maintained form for the whole week.  He finished off with another win on Stage 6 and secured 2nd on GC for the Pyrenees.

The 12 months of solid training has clearly paid off.   But it’s also resulted in some upper body shrinkage – so the 2013 3fidi HauteRoute jersey is a little baggie and wasn’t worn in anger.   Not surprisingly, Paul seems to be more committed to the sponsor’s jersey – Azur Cycle Tours.

Anyone interested in trying to wrestle the triple crown off him in 2015??

Piglett’s on FIRE

In 2013, Stacie and I were in a “team” – 3fidiProCycling – in the HauteRoute Alps in company with Paul Hamblett (aka Piglett).  Despite only having had a little over 6 months of training on the bike, Paul easily outperformed his teammates – who limped into the end of each stage to find Paul – relaxed and composed – showered, massaged and ready for lunch!

Paul’s big engine results from a long history of high level competition as a rower.  Coincidentally, he shares old mates with Alwyn – from their rowing days on the Thames.

This year, Paul is back for more – he’s spent much of the last 12 months training – in the UK and around Nice.  In 2014, he’s riding all three HauteRoute events – 21 days of climbing over three weeks – 7 days Dolomites – ONE rest day – 7 days French Alps – ONE rest day – then 7 days Pyrenees.  The total distance isn’t long – a little under 3000km BUT includes over 60,000metres of climbing!

After 3 stages in the Dolomites, he’s podiumed twice and is currently 4th on GC.  The photo below shows Paul in company with the chase group early in the climb of the Passo di Gavia on Stage 3.

Sitting at 6th wheel, he’s displaying typical Piglett behaviour – reaching to the pocket for FOOD.  I’ve never known anyone with a bigger appetite.  Clearly the food worked – he rode away from all these guys over the 17.5km climb to finish third on the stage!

Piglett HR Dolomite 2014 - stage3


Tonight is the ITT – Stage 4 – up the Stelvio – 1550metres elevation gain over 21 km.  Paul is particularly targeting the ITTs – pure uphill efforts.  With less than two years of cycling in his legs, he’s still not at ease with the descents and typically loses time on them – so tonight’s the night – 100% uphill!  You can follow progress here – he’s Bib Number 2.