THE WRITER'S IMPRESSIONS 2019 | SARASSO TO THE TOR 2019
DAY 6 – WEDNESDAY 10.09.19
Dancing day, gentlemen and ladies.
And not only for the music selection that my Beard DJ offers me while I travel many, many kilometers by car.
Today we dance because today is the GREAT DAY. The day where the hero of the ascent will be crowned king.
Mien and I wake up early: we have a commitment in Aosta and there is a bit of a way to go.
On the rump I have just three hours of sleep: last night I was late at Gruba, and then I pulled four-thirty to tell you the magic of Guendalina.
It was worth it, it was a huge pleasure to share it with you.
The beauty of this strange profession that I live every day as an immense privilege is all here: letting oneself be swept away by the stories, chasing them and staring at them late at night by tapping on the keys, to allow you to read them while sipping your morning coffee.
My effort, compared to that of the giants, is nothing.
Yet it makes me feel part of this magical madness that the world knows as Tor des Géants.
But back to our journey.
My blood brother and I leave for Courma after a few messages exchanged in a parking lot with Erica, one of the true souls of the organization: Popeye Bosatelli has just reached the top of the Malatrà. There is a move to be made.
Guido, parking lot and we have barely enough time for a coffee, then we rush along the cobblestone leading to the finish line.
A handful of minutes, the time of a cigarette gnawed by the wind and the king makes his entrance.
Oliviero has swollen eyes, but a smile of pure gold.
Music, girls in traditional costumes, bells, photos, laurel.
Three days and less than forty minutes ago, Popeye started from here.
And now here he is again, grabbing a well-deserved victory that brings everyone together.
Bosatelli is the trail's Loris Capirossi: infinite heart and steel legs.
A character as precious as the Crown Jewels.
"When did you realize you made it?" Gadin asks him.
"On the finish line" the king replies.
And there really is nothing else to add.
Thousands of people are proud of the company they have completed.
I certainly am among those.
Mien and I spend a little more time in the surroundings, have a drink with a couple of friends and their beautiful children, and then leave again.
There is a long way to go.
I don't love the highway. Especially here, in the Valley, because it cuts out the best.
So, I let my Renegade roll kilometer after kilometer along the state road to Champoluc, crossing hills and hills, up and down the fiery asphalt. I admire the castles and savor coffee and pastries during the stops. I never exceed, even if a very slow tractor is placed in front of us for a long time.
I enjoy the journey.
That's how I love living it.
Once at the destination, we take possession of the apartment at aperitif time, but I don't feel like St. Bitter: a massive sleep mistreates me from all day. So I go to bed an hour while my partner goes to greet a friend who lives in these parts.
When I wake up, I'd like to tell you that I'm like new, but it would be a poetic license, let's say so.
A shower brings me back to the world, but it's the pizza I eat shortly after my authentic finisher's prize.
Helene, the owner of the residence where we are staying, offers to give us a ride on the Grand Tournalin at ten o'clock at night.
I think about it a bit, but then I remember that tomorrow we attack the Pinter early, and we decline the offer.
A quick turn in Base, before going back to writing.
The reception point is taken from a nursery school.
The athletes clutter the benches against the light wood kitchenette.
In the bathrooms, the towel hooks are at child height.
I miss my Alberto: I call him and let me tell you about the first day of school.
And also the second and third, as long as they are there.
My son tells me that math is boring, and that the teachers have not yet asked him to tell about his holidays. I guess the storyteller's genes don't skip a generation, and my little one has a mad desire to tell the stages of his travels.
We say goodbye with the goodnight basin, then Mien and I go back to "home".
As soon as I am alone in enjoying the silence and the clicking of the keys, the telephone rings.
I don't need to look at the display to guess who is "on the other end of the line", as we used to say. There is only one person who calls me during these magical and endless nights.
And he does nothing but walk with a breastplate on him.
A long conversation follows.
It's 11.41pm, and I just hung up.
Benny arrived, she made it.
No, not to Courma. It's early: it's only Wednesday.
Today, only the Giants with a capital "G" arrive on the finish line.
Benny has just arrived in Gressoney. We've been on the phone for miles: she was angry because the road never ended. And she was understandably tense, because a year ago she walked the same road with the knowledge that it would be her last kilometers of TOR.
Then he arrived late on the gate of a couple of hours.
And a commissioner severed his yellow bracelet saying "I'm sorry".
Today, however, Benny snorts, and gets angry because the Sport Haus no longer appears, and then he rants, and asks me how much he misses. I triangle with Google Maps, a reference point, and spit out a specific number: "500 meters. There are 500 meters left and you did it. "
Benny enters Base Vita and there is his brother waiting for her. And Andrea, along with his camera.
Twelve months ago, Mien and I were out there too. We are now two valleys away.
Mien is already asleep.
I write, while outside the window Champoluc is silent.
And Benny, with tired feet, a broken back and a finally light heart, is really happy, because he has just defeated his worst demon.
The TOR is also this: fall, try again, push for a year imagining the ransom. And then, on a clear moonlit night, cross the same threshold that saw you defeated.
Crossing it with tears in your eyes: from winning to finally.
The journey is still long for Benny.
And out there it is full of unexpected events, of course.
But the demon was defeated.
Honor to you, redhead.
Now rest a couple of hours and then go back out there.
To show that nothing can stop the furious force of a dream.E là fuori è pieno di imprevisti, si capisce.
Ma il demone è stato sconfitto.
Onore a te, rossa.
Ora riposa un paio d’ore e poi torna là fuori.
A dimostrare che niente può fermare la forza furibonda d’un sogno.