The Armchair Series- #2 “Revered. Almost holy. Hidden behind that secret door”
March 23, 2020
Described by the Telegraph as the ultimate love letter to road cycling, The Road Book is proud to present The Armchair Series, showcasing in their own words what our customers most love about The Road Book and how it is a must for the discerning cycling nerd.
Melissa Scrivin (United Kingdom)
I’m a nerd, a geek. My brain loves numbers. Facts and figures. Data that I’ll suddenly drag out of the depths of my mind, without even knowing it was there, when someone mentions something about a race or a rider. And I love books. Real, physical, books. Books that you can read from cover to cover. Then when you’re reading something later, something fires in your brain and you grab the book, and find the thing you read before, and think with glee ‘Aha! I knew I knew that already!’ I love books so much I’m having a library built in my new house. OK it’s just some fitted shelves, but it’s MY library. And there’llbe a shelf with big fat red books on it. Road Books.
When I was a kid I used to go to my grandparents’ for Christmas. There was one door in their house that was always shut. But at Christmas the dining room was opened and we were allowed into the secret room. Across the shelf at the back of the room were my Gramps’ Wisden Almanacks. There was only one other book in the room; the family bible – one of those massive oversize ones you find in churches. So it definitely wasn’t a library. But the Wisdens were in there. Safely tucked away. And because they were books I was fascinated. I opened one up. I hadn’t a clue what all the pages of numbers meant. I wasn’t really into cricket. But my Gramps was. And cryptic crosswords (which were probably his excuse to my Grams for the Wisdens). And I understood how important the Wisdens were.
So when I heard about the Big Red Book you can imagine how excited I was. By the idea of a Cycling Almanack. Pages and pages of data. About cycling. In an actual physical book. That would look gorgeous side by side on the shelf. In MY library. Heaven!
I watch a lot of cycling. As many races as I can. As an insomniac I know just how many southern hemisphere races are streamed via Facebook pages. And I’m not one of those people who just watch the last 20km of a race. I love the whole thing. Even the flat stages where nothing happens. I love listening to the commentators. I love every nuance of the breakaway, the chase, the chasse patates. I love the scenery, the geography, the language. As a kid I never went to Blackpool or Skegness. My family (grandparents included) went to France every year for two weeks. I was completely immersed in France, and so for two weeks every summer I relive my childhood – the places we visited, the food, the culture. But it’s not just the Tour. Those other races allow me to explore and learn about other countries in the same way, without ever going there.
When I look at a race in the Road Book I see it again in my head. I replay the race I watched, the early attacks being neutralised, the KoMs, the sprints, the weather causing chaos, the breakaway being caught agonisingly close to the line. I don’t need to watch it again on screen, I can see it all playing out.
This year that seems a particularly special gift. It looks like the racing season has been completely decimated by Coronavirus. So I’ll just pick up my big red book and imagineer myself a racing season. Even if it does resemble 2019 in a very strange way.
Unfortunately, then, it looks like the 2020 edition is going to be a bit skinny. It’s not going to look quite right on that special shelf. But it will be up there. As will every edition, until, like my Gramps, I have a full shelf of sacred Almanacks. Side by side. Shoulder to shoulder. Each telling the story of a season of cycling. Revered. Holy.