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J303 - Sunday, August 15: Putten - Heemstede

77.61km – 11H26’
Altitude : -5 m
Yesterday, Sébastien and Jean-Yves made the reconnaissance for today’s stage and they now take control of operations.  I leave for the place we will stop this evening and delve into maps and itineraries before leaving for Amsterdam to reconnoiter for Tuesday morning.  Brigitte and Daniel, the van team, take care of refueling because yesterday Brigitte cooked ground meat and pork to enhance the meals and soups.  There has been a succession of Cordon Bleu cooks (this is a wink at our dear Georges, who continues to amuse us!).  And even if Serge never comments as to whether the food is good or bad, he is eating and satisfaction for the support crew comes from seeing an empty plate or bowl.
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It’s true that we often wait for a remark or observation from Serge to know if the food is good, if he likes it; if it would be better like this or like that but he doesn’t say anything.  It’s difficult for new crews to be able to judge how to improve or modify the refueling.  After a few weeks of experience one gets used it and does one’s best, trying to provide variety whenever possible.
I have noticed that we are at the stage where in the morning we get up and avoid asking questions like: Did you sleep well?  Are you in pain?  How do you feel?  Just as at the finish: Did you have a good day?
It would be nicer to say: tomorrow let’s not set the alarm.  And during a good breakfast, where we would take the time to stretch “and what if we went for a swim this afternoon and at the end of the day we might decide if we want to have pizza before watching a DVD or we could go to a good movie”.  Well, no, Serge gets up in silence; breakfasts have no flavor and neither he nor I have any appetite (the same for René before his departure).  In the evening when he stops his stage, Serge needs to find peace and quiet.  He is exhausted and doesn’t say a word.
The road is still with us.  Tomorrow Serge will run in a loop and during that time the crew will change vehicles because we will abandon the “Tank” until we return to France.  We will continue the race with the famous 4x4.
Tomorrow we will start again, see you soon!
PS: We had an unexpected and delightful visit from Odile and Alain, who made the trip from Arras, where they have been for several days, just to say hello.  Incredible!  As a reminder, Odile and Alain live in Fieu en Gironde and organized our passage through the Gironde department and welcomed us at the end of the stage in their town.   Since the beginning of the race we have seen them several times, in Caen and Toulouse.

Town : Heemstede

GPS : N 52.18’91.2° E 004.42’41.6°