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J297 - Monday, August 9: Appels - Averbode

79.02km  – 11H06’
Altitude : 27 m
The weather report for the Around the European Union Footrace: a beautiful day without rain (after a rainy night); 26°C this afternoon.
This morning at the start Serge is not in top form.  He has slept badly for the past few days for several reasons: his Achilles tendon must hurt him during the night, a mosquito has bothered him and lastly, it seems that I snore and grind my teeth.  I don’t know how to solve all these problems so he will have a good, peaceful night (sleep in separate rooms, impossible!).  And then, there is the matter of fatigue.  He is trying to draw a bit of energy from the depths of his body but his reserves are running out.  Extreme fatigue can cause a state of immune deficiency and at that time the body can no longer defend itself against aggression.  We must not forget this risk and it has to be taken seriously.
For example, painful inguinal (groin) and axilla (armpit) lymph nodes can signal latent infection.  Serge has had the problem for the past two days.  When this happens, he feels weak and vulnerable.  He no longer has any energy or pep, in which case it’s advisable to patiently tick off each kilometer while you wait for good sensations to return.
The dream team functions well with 9 people and 4 vehicles.  It requires organization and each member has to know what his job is so that things don’t take off in every direction; but it’s an organization that works.  Serge was lucky to have his Brigitte A refueling (not to be confused with Brigitte M), “the best toasted cheese in the world.” Would Serge be apple polishing?  No, I don’t think so because this evening we have eaten like kings “chez Adrienne.”  There were young, home raised quail, potatoes and salad from her garden, a perfectly ripe camembert and delicious baked custard.  Serge was even given some fat bacon and he ate like a wolf.  I’m delighted because his appetite and dinner portions were beginning to worry me.
Today, 3 vehicles were used to guide Serge along a 100% urban route, with many direction changes.  Now I understand better Belgium’s population density.  We went through Mechelen, half way between Antwerp and Brussels, where the traffic is infernal; however, the different rivers leading to the North Sea don’t leave us any alternative.
The door of the van has again closed on a finger, Brigitte M’s.  After Daniel, Marc and Eliane, it’s our 4th injured finger!  That heavy door, which is often mistreated, has a curious way of taking revenge.  Let’s hope it will not continue.
At the end of the stage, I tell Serge the number of kilometers to reach our camp site, a few more than planned.  He says “it’s not a problem but I will take it slowly.”  Today, 79 km were clocked by someone who is very tired!

Town : Averbode

GPS : N 51.01’57.7° E 004.59’38.2°