Relieved at the top of Seymour Mountain.
I must admit, before my ride with the FRFuggitivi group this morning, I was hesitant of riding up Seymour Mountain. This is our yearly ride in honor of tomorrow's Bastille Day in the Tour. Seymour Mountain is tough to tackle, not because it's 12.5kms in length including a grade of 8%. The really truth are the bloody horse flies! Exactly last year, we rode up it and afterwards I was 'rewarded' with massive horse fly wounds. I counted about a dozen; big, red, itchy bites. It took me weeks to heal. A painful experience I planned not to relive again.
It was extremely hot today, hovering around 30C, perfect conditions for a challenging ride up Seymour Mountain, sweat a lot and attract ... horse flies. I came prepared.
A few days ago, I purchased a DEET free, plant based insect repellent with an active ingredient Citriodiol derived from lemon eucalyptus trees. I did some research online and found that the little devils do not like the essential oils. Thats good enough for me to try it. At the foot of the mountain, Guy did me a huge favor giving me a power gel for the climb. Armed with fuel, new insect repellent and a dose of optimism I proceeded up Seymour. Our peloton soon splintered and I clamored to find my spot near the back seeking a comfortable rhythm to ride. I knew it was going to be hot and long. So, I rode in the company with Mario and sporadically with Guy. Thankfully Mario rode at a pace that I could keep up to. It's always a challenge, for me to ride up Seymour - but this time with a difference. I enjoyed the climb despite heat. The horse flies were there, few but not the massive army that feasted upon me last year. Mario and I crested the top shook hands to acknowledge our great ride and to my relief... no horse fly bites.
Chapeau! to the Frfuggitivi group and to my new insect repellent...
Today's stage 9 to Mulhouse gave rise to Tony Martin as he 'panzerwagen' to a solo victory...
For Tony Martin... was it a road race or time trial win?