Follow your dreams
At TOR do not take anything for granted.
And, I recommend, do not make plans, because everything can change ...
At any moment.
This year I am again walking through hills and breathtaking views with my brotherly friend Mien Barrel, who is a hiking guide and has taken the trouble (again, must be recidivist, ...) to be my nurse.
The idea is to watch the departure on Sunday morning, then rest during the day to afford the night.
In my heart I have the eyes of my friend Benny, excited about her first TOR. She prepared at her best, when we say goodbye before the departure, we embrace each other and I repeat to her what I always say before each race: "Strength and honor!".
I know, it's a movie phrase and perhaps even too "gladiatorial", but it contains my infinite respect for the dedication and tenacity wherewith Benny has prepared this race that makes my heart beat.
At the start there is also Federica, who last year was injured ten days before the TOR.
Today she is here, ready to follow her dream to the end.
Federica is the true poet of the race: in La Thuile she performs one of her magic: she arrives one hour in advance, pulls the flute from her backpack and enchants the bystanders.
A little later, Benny arrives in the life base, and it's a good feeling to see her so well.
The journey has begun.
Mien and I leave for Valsavarenche: we take his van and my car, and leave a vehicle to Cogne to welcome us the next day.
We have dinner together with the excellent food of the valley, I also savor the authentic atmosphere of the TOR: in the table next to ours, they talk about the race. And the same in Valsavarenche bar, an hour later.
In the week of TOR, TOR is the soul of the Aosta Valley, its genuine beating heart. Anyone has a friend or friend who runs, or knows someone who does the volonTOR.
It's great to be here.
It's nice to be part of this dream.
The headlamps light up at midnight and Mien and I leave for the Rifugio Sella.
We reach the Lauson with numb fingers and the heart that bursts with wonder.
The mountain at night is an electric shock, full of adrenaline, an unexpected dream at dawn.
Above us, the velvet sky is a trap of rough diamonds.
If you turn off the headlamp and push the nose up, the heart loses a beat.
Right on the hill, we run past the runners in front of the race: Franco Collé is an unstoppable locomotive. His pace shakes his wrists.
At the Sella we arrive at dawn.
The first voice to welcome me is the one of Lisa Borzani: "Do not tell me you walked up to the Lauson, Sarasso!"
I nod and smile like a baby.
The Queen of the TOR looks up at the sky: "Now I have seen them all ..."
After breakfast, we rest a couple of hours and then Mien and I go down to Cogne.
My feet are tired and my chest is full of joy when I finally enter the shower after an infinite number of hours around.
I think of my "infinity", in comparison to the number of hours that competitors will engage to run from here to Sunday is a joke. Neither more nor less.
But yet here I am.
Once again, the journey started and I got on board.
I am so grateful for the opportunities granted to me by my work.
Telling stories to live is a great privilege.
Having the privilege of TOR stories is an unparalleled gift.
Thank you all.
Tomorrow we leave for Donnas.
Enjoy the TOR.