THE WRITER'S IMPRESSIONS 2019 | SARASSO TO THE TOR 2019
DAY 7 – THURSDAY 11.09.19
The awakening with the high sun is a big privilege.
Especially in this TOR that seemed to be one of the coldest ever. And instead, nothing is written.
I open my eyes to Champoluc, with a sidereal thirst.
Last night my city habits got the better and instead of polenta I ate my usual pizza with spicy salami. Result: I woke up with the Sahara in the throat. Ergo, liters of sparkling water and off to breakfast.
But first, just a second after the sound of the alarm, the phone changes tone, and Benny's voice gives me a good morning: "Sarasso, where are you?"
"In the bed," I reply with a voice from too many cigarettes.
And inevitably, I feel guilty. Because Benny is walking all night.
Once she killed the monster of Gressoney, she gave himself an infinite shower, a proper meal and then she started again. An hour and something ahead of his gate of his nightmares.
The rest of the darkness has passed for me in a moment.
Her was the night of the many heroes and of the many heroines still in the race.
A few months ago I was talking about TOR with a very strong friend. And I congratulated her on the performance.
Closing it in the first four days is not for everyone, you know.
She had smiled at me, then shook her head: "Going strong costs effort and effort, don't argue. But whoever closes it using all the hours available or almost, is almost twice as long. Do you have in mind what it means to have four, five or even six nights outdoors? Perhaps always flush with the gates, with the anxiety of being inside the fur, and the impossibility of sleeping in the Life Base for more than an hour? "
I don't really have it.
All I know is that I fall apart if I stay up late for three or four nights in a row. The Professor is no longer twenty. I always tell my students.
"Those are the real heroes," my friend continued. "They are the giants".
When he told me these words, I understood them and didn't understand them.
Now that I hear Benny's voice on the phone, crushed by fatigue and yet still standing, I suddenly know that my friend was right.
"Where are you?" I ask, pulling up the ass from the bed in four and eight (inexorably moved by guilt)
She tells me. "You're almost there. We come to say hello to the Live Base ”.
Mien is awake and ready in an instant (I don't know how he does it: in his previous life he must have been a Siberian raider. Or a Minute Man), I use a life as usual. But in the end I am ready and the suitcases fill the trunk.
Breakfast in the pastry shop, and disembark at the checkpoint. Benny sleeps, but asked for a wake-up call at 10.15 am and Paola, one of the many angels in yellow jersey who watch over the heroes of dust and stones, pinned the time on the notebook.
Mien and I hang around until instant X, and in the meantime we cross arrivals and departures.
The Alpini are always compact, and very cool to see in battalion, despite their fatigue.
Behind my back I hear someone asking the volunteers if, by chance, we have a cigarette.
They, very kind, say they don't have it. "But who is still the vice now?" Says one of them, smiling "They've all stopped for years, they don't use anymore".
To which I raise my head and notice that the guy who asked the unworthy: he is wearing a breastplate streaked with yellow.
"Do you want to smoke?" I ask him instinctively.
"Yes, please" he replies.
So, without thinking twice, I offer him one and turn it on.
He thanks me and walks happily and quickly.
In my team, with the comrades, we always joke about this business that I run and smoke.
I know from myself that it's a bad habit, I have enough springs on my shoulders.
And that makes it very bad, and you die, and it would be better never to have started.
And yet, as far as I'm concerned, it's a pleasure ... it's part of my journey.
I looked into that giant's eyes when he took the first shot. And I saw the look of an extraordinary man, extraordinarily happy.
That cracked cigarette is part of his journey.
That he, like everyone else, is free to live as he wishes, in compliance with the rules of the race, nature and neighbor.
Just as they are there mulling over beautiful matters as great as freedom, dreams, health, etc., etc., here is that Benny emerges from the dormitory. It is distorted, but ready to start again.
We wait for it to get ready, then we wish it all the best and we watch it take the Grand Tournalin route again and we are proud of the way it treads asphalt, meter by meter.
Mien and I follow the yellow flags for a while, but then we climb to Lake Lechien.
There comes out an honest and undemanding ride, which relaxes our muscles (without demolishing them. This old man out of practice still has a race, Saturday!) And takes us back to the car, six hours later.
When we park around Saint Vincent thirty minutes later, Benny is already over Col di Nana.
We dine with vegetables and spring water, leafing through old photos.
As usual, I’m going to bed late writing and looking at the moon.
Just as I'm finishing the piece, the phone vibrates: it's a message from Alberto, Benny's brother (who follows her everywhere, assisting her): “Ciao. Blessed game from Valtournenche at 20 ”.
The journey continues, and the line of the departure and the finish line, once very distant, now seem to overlap.
Step by step.
Another night of resilience and gigantic dreams, like the silver star that smiles at me from the window.
Good night, Benny.
Never give up, please.
We read tomorrow from Bosses.