By Sal Ruibal | Photo by Veeral Patel
You can’t fast-forward the Giro d’Italia. You can’t buy an advance copy before your friends. You have to wait. In the rain and in the cold, you don’t bitch about the weather. It, too, is part of the Giro. You, me and the Stelvio. We wait for the riders, but we also wait for our moment in the Giro. We see the banners overhead with the saints of the Giro. Saints who are now looking down at us as we wait.
Italy’s grand tour is an organic thing, a living organism that forms itself every spring, like a tulip bulb buried in the garden. It waits. It accepts the rain. The sun is not necessary for either the tulip or the Giro. Both will arrive regardless of our prayers and shuffling damp shoes.
St. Francis de Sales is the patron saint of waiting. He was the personification of patience as a virtue. He waited more than thirty years to become a priest, standing in line because he was waiting for God’s will to be clear.
Our spot is not saintly, but it is our spot and the view is clear.
Every spring we come to this spot because every spring we have come to this spot. That is enough.
One building houses a laundry and the steam from the vats of scalding water warms the exterior walls. If we feel a shiver, we lean our backs against it, our own wrinkles unfolding, if only for a few minutes until we return to our spot.
It is our national nature to seem agitated at times, but for the things that really matter—love, food, espresso, God, family and the Giro—we wait, knowing that the anticipation makes the act that much more delicious. It is in that holding back that we connect with all those who waited before and who we will join in the eternal wait. Is there a Giro in Heaven? We believe so. But if there is no Giro in Heaven, Heaven can wait.
Meanwhile, we stand and we wait. Perfetto.