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J74 - Tuesday, December 29: Estacion de Molinillo – 4km after Torrijos

74.29km  9H44’
Altitude 564m
At 6:00 AM the alarm goes off.  René and tiptoe around preparing breakfast because Serge is still sleeping.  A half hour later, everybody is moving around and at 7:20 Serge takes to the road while it is still dark.  During the day he fights against the wind, especially these past days, but this morning he has to be careful because there is heavy traffic on the road and he is not easy to see.  It’s dangerous until daylight
2 Km after departure we leave the province of Castile-La Mancha to enter the province of Toledo.  Serge, alias “Boss Runner,” starts as usual, with small steps because his sore body and muscles have to warm up slowly in order to find some elasticity and at the same time their efficiency, which is put to a hard test after 73 days of race.
A quarter of an hour after departure, Laure joins us to say that Philippe’s car has broken down.  It’s really not the day because we have to make a reconnaissance for Madrid.
We begin by attacking the problems one at a time.  René, who is a mechanic, goes to see if he can help our cameraman.  I accompany Serge alone.
In one hour, MacGyver « René » temporarily fixes the problem, so everyone can continue with normal activities.
At 9:00 is starts raining again and it doesn’t stop all day.  Serge makes himself a mini skirt with a garbage bag, for protection and above all to prevent chaffing.  It’s not high fashion, it’s not very elegant but it seems to be effective.
The scenery is very different from what we have seen up to now.  It’s a region for grazing and the fields are closed with low, granite walls.  Here there is rock everywhere and we cross Roman roads and dolmens.
This morning we have to wait until Km 15 for Serge to find his rhythm.  He will have to progressively go from 6.5 km/hr to 8 then 9 and 10, in order to attain an average speed of about 8 km/hr at the end of the day.
In spite of the difficult climatic conditions (rain and wind) and the terrain, Serge moves ahead like a metronome.  He uses his head and his mental strength more than his physique to make progress.  At refueling, he jokes and by doing so gives us, the support team, some of this strength.  It’s when conditions are difficult that the team has to be solid and everyone has to keep a strong morale.  We have to be positive…”Tomorrow is another day and it will be a better day”.
At the end of the day, at about Km 60, Serge is joined by Juan, who accompanies him to Torrijos.  When Serge has someone running with him it’s as if he has wings.  His pace lengthens, even at the end of the stage, where he will peak at 11Km/hr.  After 5000 Km of race I leave it to you to appreciate this sort of performance.
Signed by Joël
Tomorrow: Chozaz  - Cedillo – Carranque – Grignon – Humanes de Madrid – Fuenlabrada – Leganes – Carabanchel  aux portes de Madrid

Town : 4km après Torrijos

GPS : N40.00090° W004.27016°