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J183 - Saturday, April 17: Chotysany - Prague

70km + 3.1km – 10H07’ + 23’
Altitude : 195m

It is a beautiful and dazzling day.

-5°C this morning so René had to scrape the frost off the windshield of the van. At 7:00 everybody is ready to: 1- go to the starting point (Thomas, Ludo and Serge) 2-leave for Prague on a reconnaissance of the route and to find a place to stay this evening (Laure and René).

Crossing Besenov is not easy, there are two other changes of direction at Tynek and Kamenice, but the kids are watching out.  René and I explored the whole route, with the efficiency which comes from past experience; Serge will even be able to take a bicycle path far from traffic, for 4.5 km.

Jaroslav, a student at the film and TV school in Prague, joins us at 2:00 PM to film the crossing of the capital.  It’s thanks to the French embassy, which contacted the famous film and TV school of Prague, the FAMU that we found a Czech cameraman.  Jaroslav knows his city inside out, and at a moment’s notice he became a part of the adventure of the orange and black runner who is strolling along the roads of Europe.  Once we have crossed the center of town, he takes Thomas, who is in charge of photography, with him to take shots of the city.
The racer’s day started with a walk: 50 minutes for the first 5 km.  Like yesterday, and like every morning recently, Serge wonders how he will be able to finish the stage in less than 14 hours, and he’s demoralized.

Then, his body slowly warms up but because of fatigue, Serge falls, all by himself like a big boy, on the bicycle path at km 55.  He shows up with a skinned hand, elbow and shoulder.  What a relief, I didn’t touch my knee, he says.  But as always when he falls, he is affected.

Having made the reconnaissance of the route, René runs the last 12 km with Serge because it’s impossible to park the vehicles in the historic center of the city.  The support team splits up: René, armed with the camel bag, is with Serge, Thomas with Jaroslav, Ludo and I go to the hotel with the vehicles, where a secure parking place is waiting for our two “trucks”.

Serge and René arrive, all smiles, and Serge sits down and  heaves a sigh of relief: “it feels so good to stop” he says, then he takes his bath.  I take the watch to load the data on Garmin Connect.  I go back up to the room and Serge asks for his watch.  He is bathed and dressed “clean” and says he is leaving again.  I can’t believe my ears.  He continues by saying “if I don’t do my 72.2 km I won’t sleep well tonight”.  That’s when I tell him he is crazy!!! I can still visualize the movie “Les Visiteurs,” where the postman yells “they are sick, sick,” when Clavier and Reno attack his car with a sledgehammer.  And it’s then that I begin to wonder if the fall hasn’t unhinged our runner.  I’m speechless and can’t utter a sound.

We are at mid point of the race and Serge has added to this stage 3.1 km and 23 minutes. Prague is a magnificent capital and we enjoyed it to the fullest as we crossed the city: a real jewel.  Thanks to Thomas for all these beautiful photos.  It was difficult to make a selection.

Town : Prague

GPS : N 50.05’40.0° E 014.27’18.8 °