88.2km â€“ 11H14â€™
2000km: 27days 21 hours and 6 minutes
In the windâ€¦a race against time!
At 6:35 Serge leaves from Boulevard Marechal Lyautey, our address last night. There is strong wind and light rain as we cross La Rochelle, the prefecture of Charante Maritime. We are at the Atlantic seaside, east coast, industrial zone, working class district. 2000 km are clocked before we get to the old harbor with its famous towers, which we reach at km 4.5. Itâ€™s time for the first feeding. By passing the station in order to reach the Tasdon Bridge we have to add 1km. The road book is wrong by 2km because the route was plotted in May when we didnâ€™t know our arrival and departure points. These road books are not exact. We should have left at 6:00.
My fault, the cardio isnâ€™t working properly at the start: the stopwatch went off, so did the heartbeat rate monitor but not the GPS, which I turned off by mistake last night when I cancelled the previous input. So Serge sets it off after 1.2 km of the race (odometer of the van). This explains the difference for those of you who will see the info on My Connect by Garmin, i.e., the 1st km = 21 minutes. The total kilometers this evening is 88.2km.
Blockade in the center of town, which is closed to traffic from 10 to 16 November because of the Â« autumn rally Â», the team has to improvise a plan B. RenĂ© leaves with Serge, map in hand, whereas Eliane goes around the town to reach the train station and the Tasdon Bridge. Itâ€™s dark. The sky clears thanks to the strong wind and a crescent moon gives a pale light.
At the exit of la Jame, navigational error: the team misses the fork toward Salles which leads to the D111 and approaches Angoulins. Serge does an extra 2km and even if he doesnâ€™t grumble, he isnâ€™t very happy because the stage is long and the meeting at Saintes is scheduled for 5:00. On the European Union Footrace, and especially on this French portion, there is a lot of pressure because of schedules. Up to now Serge has adapted, trying to be ahead of time rather than late, but today we got off to a bad start!
And yet, in spite of the wind, the blue sky warms our hearts on this first day of the weekend. But the minutes and hours tick off, relentlessly, and Serge feels weak. He has no juice as we say in the jargon. Truth be told, for the last 3 days he has nibbled in the evening instead of eating because fatigue cuts his appetite.
2:10 Serge takes a fork on the D118 at the church of Bordes, there are 30km left. Most probably we will be late, itâ€™s inevitable and mathematical!
Serge also sees the kilometers ticking off and continues to concentrate on his goal. His face is drawn. At Port dâ€™Envaux, a group of triathletes and runners joins Serge, who is boosted by their company. A tiathlete looks at his watch: 10.8km/hour on descents as well as ascents because Serge runs at the same speed regardless of the terrain.
Serge forces himself to eat more than reasonable in order to hold up against the fiendish wind, which drains his energy as much as his morale.
The arrival at the stadium of Saintes is grandiose in spite of the fact that we slightly upset the end of the circuit, which should have gone through the streets of Saintes, by heading directly for the finish point. Thanks go to the organizers of this wonderful stage for being so understanding; Iâ€™m speaking of Franck and all the JD section of Saintes, fully mobilized for the event.
There are many associations present this evening: the triathlon club with 100 members, of which 30 children, the young rugby players and the athletic club of Saintes. Emotions run high after such a day.
I also want to salute the presence of Catherine of UFF, with the sales reps of the area, and the active role of Christophe, Poitou Charente Regional President of the CJD, who put on his running shoes and covered the last kilometers with Serge.
In Saintonge, the hospitality and welcome are outstanding. Saintes bears the label â€śCity of art and history since 1990â€ť and this evening it takes on the meaning of â€śwell-beingâ€ť for us.
Town : Saintes
GPS : N 45.75381Â° - W 000.64926Â°