THE WRITER'S IMPRESSIONS 2019 | SARASSO TO THE TOR 2019
DAY 8 – FRIDAY 13.09.19
Guendalina wrote it to me: "Ciao, Simone! Don't be too late if you have the race tomorrow! We feel when you finish running. GO GO GO! "
It's three minutes to two and I'm still writing..
Out there an incredible moon is ready to greet the last heroes on the Malatrà.
The alarm goes off in less than four hours, and tomorrow I’ll runs.
"What are you still doing?" Asks the little angel's voice on his right shoulder.
"I live" the little devil replies.
Yes, because at TOR you can do all the programs you want, but you never know how it will end.
And if a day like today explodes in your face, there's nothing you can do to avoid shrapnel. You can only bless them, one by one.
Friday of endless surprises, gentlemen and ladies.
But let's go with order.
Wake up not too early (it was eight or so) around Saint Vincent, breakfast in that bar that I like so much and full of diesel, that there are still a lot of miles to do.
Flight off to the supermarket to buy plastic bags, tissues and other amenities that you can't do without in the race (the experience, though moderate, eventually teaches something) and we disembark at Saint-Rhemy.
There are some places in the TOR (and, consequently, in the Valley) that remain in your heart more than others.
And Saint-Rhémy is certainly among them. Of course, people deserve it.
Friends, above all. Here live Avirex and David, who are like brothers to Mien.
And so the first stage is necessarily in Base Vita, where they have been placed in pole position since lunch time.
Sun, endless beer (for them, coke for me) and interesting encounters.
Greeted by a crowd of applauses, a TOR Senator enters the village: this Basque gentleman, who works as a truck driver, is one of the ultra-rich to have taken part in all the editions of the race.
Coming all the way in regulation time, of course.
He is a frank and generous guy, and it takes a while to sit down with us to do ballotta with a couple of raw beers in hand.
He tells me about his "alternative TOR", and we all remain listening in respectful silence.
He speaks Spanish, of course, but it doesn't matter.
It's a bit like when my friends talk to each other in patois: at the beginning you don't understand, but then yes.
And this is also the magic of TOR: there are no linguistic or cultural barriers. There are no modesty or embarrassment. If anyone needs, everyone competes to help him.
Being together is essential: it is the fundamental part of this magical story.
And we always understand each other.
But let's not digress.
The alternative TOR of the Senator, we said: it was the year in which, because of the snow, the race was stopped prematurely.
He, along with a handful of brave men, came to the Merdeux at breakfast time, and was greeted by the amazing Fulvio (authentic legend of the TOR). Someone timidly asked for coffee, but Fulvio put on a table a very respectable selection of fontine, accompanied by a bottle of white.
Having won the embarrassment of the first finger of wine, the Senator - along with the rest of the gang - came under, and the party began. After a few hours (decidedly happy), and the count of the "dead", at four in the afternoon, he spoke clearly: five bottles of white and nine of liqueurs (to digest, of course).
The breakfast of champions.
Around four in the afternoon, the Senator and the rest of the brave were taken back with a Willis to the bus that was waiting for them at the bottom of the valley to take them back to Courmayeur (at times they were missing each other).
For the honor of news it must be said that the descent was not painless for everyone. A French competitor with a delicate stomach forced the driver of the bold, almost suspension-free vehicle to make repeated stops for ... well, I'm sure you understood.
Our man, on the other hand, arrived at his destination quite amused, and dismounted from Willis to get on the shuttle just in time, with a great smile on his face.
When the rest of the "recovered" on the bus asked him how he had spent the stalemate hours, the Senator merely shrugged: "We did an alternative TOR."
The Basque hero starts from Saint-Rhémy to go to close his tenth company in a row, and we pelandroni still enjoy the sun a bit, until Mien and I don't go to take possession of our house. It is lost in the woods, and the call of the pebbles is too strong not to listen to it: I slip on my shoes and throw myself outside. Five kilometers and 150 meters in altitude, just to warm up the legs.
Before dinner we go to Avirex's house to kiss her mother and steal a Lindor.
Then we rush into the Live Base because the GPS signals Lillo coming in, but when we arrive, the Novara giant Che Corre has already gone off. After stripping a plate of polenta with sauce, ça va sans dire.
Benny is traveling, still far away: we think, of course, but a certain languor reminds us that the eight have long since passed.
All that remains is to go to dinner.
Among a plate of cold cuts and a game stew, we meet Erica.
She was born in Rome from an Italian father and a Japanese mother.
It makes a magical and curious trade. It is in the troupe that the Aosta Valley has been touring for five days to collect and film local stories. These stories will be edited and commented to form a series of 45-minute documentaries that will be broadcast on Japanese TV, recorded on DVD and viewed by thousands of spectators of the Rising Sun. Erica tells us that this morning at four o'clock she got up, together with the rest of the crew, to climb the mountain and watch the milking of the cows and the sheep grazing.
Erica knows nothing about the TOR: she and her band simply stumbled over it, passing Bosses.
Of course, it is intrigued and fascinated.
I tell her without a hair on his tongue: "The TOR is magical. You'll love it. "
Judging by how he looks at me, I believe she will soon be back in these parts to capture the bravery of heroes in front and sticks.
Let's go back to Life Base just in time to receive a wonderful gift.
Silvana Favre, "my" Silvana, whom I followed throughout the 2017 edition and whom I saw become the youngest finisher in the history of the competition, is about to start again.
He scolds me, because in all these days we never met.
He is right: the TOR and his stories have overwhelmed me, and taken elsewhere.
My fault. Mea maxima culpa.
I give you a sincere kiss and wish you a safe journey.
In his eyes there is the light of all time, even brighter than usual.
They look like the burning silver moon above us.
In a few hours he will retire to make room for a sun that I have a damn desire to feel on the skin.
In a few hours it's up to me, the rest of us from Trentino, to face the hill symbol of the whole TOR.
I don't know if and how I will reach the finish line, but one thing is certain: I will enjoy every moment.
Until the last step.
Good night and good morning.
See you tomorrow in Courmayeur to party properly.
Whatever happens, it will have been a great trip.