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J243 - Wednesday, June 16: 7km before Näsaker – 2km after the intersection 87/331

74km  –10H52’
Altitude : 219m
Serge is tired but I could say and write that every day and become boring.  This morning his knee hurts and he thinks that it’s because yesterday he did not walk enough on the long stage.  He knows that alternating running  and walking is good for him.  This morning he is a sorry sight at the start.  When the machine starts, like a small tree trunk, all stiff, it looks like he is hitting the asphalt at each step. We can almost hear his jaws tense every time his foot touches the ground.  His body is knotted and he is obviously uncomfortable.  His head is down, sunk in his shoulders, which gives the impression that he has no neck, or maybe it’s his shoulders that rise to help his body “surface,” to free itself in height.  Sometimes Serge is light on his feet, which push off naturally from the ground; however, as the kilometers go by this disappears.
At km 60, Serge says “I am beat”.  I venture into a mine field by saying “you should allow yourself one day a week with a 60 km maximum and the rest of the week hold to your 74 km.  It would give you a rest and your daily average would not suffer too much!”  The reply is clear, straight and precise: “no”.  But I don’t give up hope and I know that Serge will keep this advice in a corner of his brain.
Life continues on the Around the European Union Race, with a new battery in the van, which started  with jumper cables but  the motor must be kept running.  For 2 ½ hours, the time it takes  me to go get a new battery, Eliane and René are soothed by the purr of the van’s motor.
There is a bit of warmth this afternoon (18°C) and another day without rain.  The flat terrain of yesterday and this morning, compared to the last few days, is once again hilly, with ups and downs as we approach Solleftea.  Then for 10 km, all the way to Langsële, there is a 4 lane highway with a median guard rail, which stresses our runner.  Toward the end of the stage there is more traffic and he has to share his road with the trucks and fast cars.  Some drivers are heavy on the accelerator and we are no longer used to it.
The word at the end is from Serge: “the day was long and 5 minutes after the start I knew it would be.  I ache all over”.
Will Serge be in shape to root for France tomorrow?

Town : 2km après intersection 87/331

GPS : N 63.04’56.6° E 016.56’93 .5°