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J280 - Friday, July 23: Mechenried - Weingartsgreuth

75.27km  – 11H37’
Altitude : 356 m

The event of the day was René’s departure.

René has already been introduced to you in past logs; however, there is nothing like a reminder.  Before the race started, our “quartermaster” prepared the vehicles and spent about ten days with us at home before the beginning of the race and then stayed with us until we reached Toulouse on January 16.  After more than three months with us, he had a few days of rest and recuperation at Ceyzériat, where he lives with his wife, Michelle.  February 7, he was back, just before we arrived in Rome and he has not left us until today.  It makes a total of 280 days, less 21 days, i.e., 259 days spent on the Around the European Union Footrace (not counting preparation time)

In many respects, René is a key feature of this challenge (even if all the crew members represent a link in the chain) His total commitment, his precision, the care he takes with the vehicles, as well as with all the equipment, the attention he has given to Serge over such a long period of time, entitle him to special mention.  For a long time we have looked for someone Serge and I could count and depend on and with whom we could totally share the race.  Just by chance this role fell to René, who knows everything about his job and even more, which has enabled me to be completely serene up to now.  Our roles are complementary and having him by my side has relieved me of a multitude of detail.  René is conscientious, a perfectionist and hyper-active.  Sometimes I jokingly tell him that he has the defects of his qualities, because he wants to do everything and has a problem delegating to his fellow “crew members,” since he wants everything to be perfect for Serge, from the food at refuelling to the cleanliness of the cooking utensils.  He has known all the crew members that have been with us, just like Serge and me, and he now understands how exhausting the succession of days can be and also what it means to change habits and adapt to each change of team.  René is lucky to be able to adapt to everything.  I can’t wait for him to return, around mid-August but I am glad that he is going to recharge his batteries with his family and friends.  He needs it and says “I’m not in top form; I know it and I don’t like it.”  How well I understand him because here you have to be in top form 7 days out of 7 and not everyone is up to it.

Serge is fine, in spite of a small bruise which has appeared under the left metatarsus and which reminds him of the atrocious pain he experienced in Greece on his right foot.  Yesterday, he was beside himself because he was so worried about this problem which made putting his foot down excruciatingly painful for several days.  So Serge started out with fear and trembling and did not dare to run normally.  The problem has stabilized and even decreased so he is reassured and everything goes more easily, except that the day has been long, very long.

After a dull morning with temperatures ranging from 22°C to 28°C, it started to rain at km 45 and did not stop all day.  The last 4 hours of the race were wet for Serge, who refused to wear his jacket and orange vest.

Town : Weingartsgreuth (Bavière)

GPS : N 49.43’82.8° E 010.43’59.9°