Angelo Raffino is a young travel-journalist from Piedmont. Last year he reported from the side lines of the Tor for Radio Capital. This year he has decided to return, again for the same national broadcaster, but this time to report from within the Tor. This is to say, in the race. It is a decision that has altered his day-to-day living a lot for ten long months now, so he says.
“They say that the Tor is a journey, both spiritual and physical. A set of emotions that marks you inside, somewhere, a little in the heart and a little in the mind. Perhaps with the addition of a few bruises. And, most certainly, a few blisters.
They say, and I have heard many things about the Tor.
Most of them I’ve lived through in a roundabout way, following the Tor as a journalist. Other stories I hear from friends and acquaintances who have taken part in it: mismatched subjects in everyday life, but who are united by the same light that comes into their eyes. A “click” that snaps at the word “Tor” and is followed by a flood of anecdotes and advice.
Journalists collect information, sift through sources, deepen the news, report facts. And in some cases, where possible, they expose themselves and immerse themselves in the first person.
Courmayeur is approaching.
It’s the starting point. But the trips always have a long vigil. In my case it lasted ten months, even before I committed myself to this great adventure, preparing for other eventualities.
I usurped hours of the week and the weekend to affection, friends, family, leisure activities and banal laziness. I have devoted hours and hours to self-respect, a commitment to be honoured, a goal to be reached. The respect of those who will be there in a few days, like me, backpacks on their backs and a yellow bag, wandering from place to place in the Valle D’Aosta.
What fascinates and excites me today is, in fact, the idea of a travelling community, gathered at the idea of, perhaps, destination at which to arrive. Of a rout to be taken. Dedication has been paid for in advance by sweat and toil. That fielded by those who went to run at dawn, before a day of work. By those who have found the strength to run in the evening. From everyone who has stuck to commitments, stacking them on top of each other to form a leaning tower. To those who have eaten while on their feet. Who, at least once, have met with a physiotherapist or suffered from tendinitis, a callus, a retort. To those who have braved the rain for a workout. To those who have worn down the soles of their shoes, ground dirt, wrung water bottles, made love to the hours, learning to mould and expand time in his own mind, at the service of his legs and mental steel.
In the run up to the tour, I have this immense feeling of respect for myself, for what I have done and for what you have done. All of you, however much or little it is, it will never be useless. If only because the only way to manage the unpredictable - because this is the Tor - is to be found lightened by remorse. I learned that in recent months, surpassing the fence that separates the story for identification from the online newspaper.
The wait has already borne its fruit.”