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26.01.2020

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IVO ANDRICH

The end


Ivo Andrich
Ivo Andrich - Agordo (BL) 30.03.1949

Then there is only the finish line.

My final goal. I only have a few more kilometres to go. I am agitated because I know when I get to the Cascata climb I can finally prove what I can do. This race I do alone. People pass me by on the left and right, on and off the parallel tracks, until even those competitors that started after me are pulling ahead. They see me, they know me, they cheer me on. They pass me by, leaving me with my distinctive style, the old combined style. You need to wax your skis and not only use your arms. Pushing harder. Pushing until they are carrying their whole body weight.

Then there is the moment I have been waiting for. We are nearing the finish line. The climb leaves you breathless. A magnificent steep rise. I can see a line of skiers who are trying to reach the top with only the force that is in their arms, using up their limited energy. 

I take my time. I take off my skis. I wax my skis quickly, first one and then the other. I hold them with a skill which comes from years of experience. I hold them with the care which I reserve for precious things. Then I put them on and go.

I overtake one, then two, then three and still more. I count them in my head while my arms and legs do what they are best at, perfectly synchronised. It is when I pass the 30th I put a smug smile on my frozen face. This year I have also succeeded in my venture, proving how it should be done. Go uphill only using your arms if you want- I will show you how it used to be done!

Go forwards, forwards. I separate from the other skiers, and now there is just the finish line.

Then, there is only the finish line. It is waiting for you dressed for the occasion. That of a big party. Full of warmth made up of voices, nods and colours. Every year I get to the narrow part of the track just before Piazza Res, I can see the wooden bridge, I let myself slide down the final slopes letting go of all of the different feelings. It is always different like a hand drawn sketch in pencil. It's jammed with crowds of people waiting for you to arrive. They have seen the yellow race bib and the cheering goes up a decibel. You exhaustedly slide down the last 20m. You hear your name over the speakers. You have done it, a 70km battle. From there on just cheers as you reach the finish line. You've done it today as well!

It's the moment I love the most. It liberates me, all the hours of training and thoughts that have brought me here. I let myself fall to the ground. I feel the snow penetrate my ski suit. I can feel the cold, it is comforting. I am totally free for an instant. I take delight in this moment, it will end all too soon. I get in my car and heading home start thinking about the next Marcialonga. The cycle begins again. It's like a Merry go round with ancient wooden horses at an old fairground.

Concept, interview and text: Susanna Sieff
Photo: Alice Russolo
Video: Graziano Bosin - Dolomiti TV

THE INTERVIEW

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