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J349 - Thursday, September 30: Quincié en Beaujolais - Roanne

79.67km  – 10H10’   
Altitude : 272m
After 1 hour and 15 minutes, René and Bertrand are worried.  They are waiting for Serge who left on a bicycle path to run 5 km.  Finally the tips of his shoes come into view, what a relief!  He has clocked 9.5 km because he headed toward Belleville.  The time run is normal; Serge just forgot to warn the crew!
So the team leaves Quindé with 10 km on the odometer because the meeting scheduled at Briennon is only 54 km from there and that is not enough for our runner.  After Beaujeu, vines take the place of pines in the landscape and the hills of the Beaujolais region become wild.  There is a good ascent over the Echarmeaux Pass, then a descent to Belmont, then another climb.  It starts to rain.
Chistophe leaves us and without « Totosh » it is quieter.  We will miss him with his “two cent jokes”.  Our thanks for his precious help for these past ten days because even if there was a lot of kidding around, the serious assistance to the Serges was appropriate.
At Charlieu, a few runners from the sector come to run with Serge to Briennon, where there are more runners; Cédric and Florent of the CJD, and the members of the Roannais Athletic Club.  It has stopped raining.
Then there is a 14 km tow path along the Digoin Canal before meeting the children who are waiting for Serge at the harbor of Roanne.  I learned that in the 19th century there was an important harbor in Roanne, (the 16th most important in the country).
After a loop around the harbor, it’s the finish.  There is a mixed bag of people waiting: the children who are welcomed after school by the municipality for sport and cultural activities; the “old folks” who have followed our adventure come from the “Chacunière” Residence; the runners from the Roannais Athletic Club; the students from the Jean Monnet University in Roanne (a technical institute attached to the University of Saint-Etienne) and the organizers of the CJD.  The lady mayor presents Serge with a handsome towel at the finish.  It will come in handy with the weather we are having.
Our thanks go to the Roanne chapter of the CJD that organized this welcome, which was rich in encounters.

Surprise of the day:  the visit from Benjamin and Jean-Marc which brought us many memories.  Four and a half years ago we were all on the road between Tehran and Kashgar, China.  Both of them (father and son) were crew members on that very adventurous part of the Paris-Tokyo race.  Benjaman was a student then and now works, while Jean-Marc has changed jobs.  So this evening we talked about our experiences in these Central Asian countries.  Serge was happy and talked about a future project…

Town : Roanne (Loire)

GPS : N 46.03’94.7° E 004.08’42.9°