Through the Eyes of a Canine

The Directeur takes his dog for a walk.
The Directeur takes his dog for a walk.

I envy my dog. There is nothing in her life that can not be immediately obtained that she bothers herself with; she is a perfect example of the happiness to be found through living in the moment, unclouded by dreams or goals. This is the embodiment of one aspect of what I seek from Cycling: freedom from external pressures via total inward focus on the now.

While I envy her, I pity her for this same reason; she will never know the beauty of cultivating a dream, nor the satisfaction to be found in achieving a goal, which is something else I seek from Cycling.

Her combination of focus and absent-mindedness inspires me. She has no limit to her desire to show me her favorite orange ball, or her insistence on helping me notice that she’s laid it in my lap. I can get up and move to another chair, and she will helpfully carry the ball over for me, noting that I neglected to bring it myself. Should something more important demand on her attention – say, the mailman arriving at the door (who requires a session of being barked at), or the appearance of food in her dish – the ball will be forgotten in totality. Later in the day, she will serendipitously reencounter the ball and delight afresh in its limitless bounties.

The changing of the seasons gives me this same gift; with each season I rediscover the beauty of our sport in new ways; riding through a fiery tunnel of changing leaves, the damp earthy smell of a winter’s training ride, the freedom of riding without arm, knee, and shoe covers on a warm spring day, or the glory of riding in the baking summer sun. Each arrives with the welcome of a long-lost friend.

I imagine that everything I need to know in order to become a Directeur Sportif, should the need arise, I have learned from raising dogs. For instance, loyalty is earned, not deserved. Further, loyalty and intelligence are more important than size, strength or talent. Managing a rider in a breakaway, assuming it is a US or Aussie team, the same principles apply as walking a dog on a lead; you prevent them pulling by any means necessary.

As for tolerating doping or other shenanigans within the team, even a dog instinctively knows never to shit where it sleeps.

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59 Replies to “Through the Eyes of a Canine”

  1. @Cyclops

    @Frank

    I think you need to be hiring a trademark infringement lawyer or something…

    …just sayin’.

    Looks like they are doing a pretty good job of wiping themselves out anyway!

  2. @atomicmanatee

    @minion 19th worst!? Come on!… We Americans had that one guy… wait, he doped… and was an unbelievable tool bag…

    …there was that guy after him… oh, also doped… also an unbelievable tool bag…

    … if you add the Phinneys together you get a very solid racer…

    …Horner won the Vuelta?… Missed the surprise drug test afterwards you say?…

    Wait, what about Canada? We’ve got that guy who climbed Haleakala waaaaaaaaaaaay faster than Frahnk and then won the Giro. And then the next year we had the guy who got the Lantern Rouge on the Tour.

    Where does that place Canada on the VSP spreadsheet of death?

  3. @Marcus

    @minion

    Ahhhh. I’m looking forward to a long, productive northern hemisphere winter watching Faharank and Marcus, representatives of two out of the three fattest nations on earth, argue about which is the 19th worst cycling nation, Aus or the US.

    My money’s on Fhronk.

    Fhrowhnk is at an unfair advantage because when it suits him, he switches his allegiance to the Netherlands (this ability to switch allegiances marks him as a true Dutchman).

    Yet another similarity to my dog; roll over when appropriate, growl and bark when not.

    @ChrisO

    So Frank et al, how would you distinguish between Gerrans’ M-SR ride and Costa’s world championship ride ?

    Because I haven’t seen anyone saying he wheelsucked his way to the rainbow jersey but they look like pretty similar efforts to me.

    Didn’t watch the race and as a rider he doesn’t interest me, so not sure on this, but from what I hear I would feel the same. The major problem here is that there were no riders I liked in the top 3, so my dander likely would not have gotten up to the same extent.

    A principle crime of Gerrans’ was beating a favorite rider. Surely you understand the significance of this!

  4. @meursault

    Ah the dogs life. One of the best things about getting into Buddhism, is mindfulness. It’s a bit like anti multi-tasking. Whatever you are doing, do just that, nothing else. The more you practise this, the better it gets. It’s brilliant. Living in the moment and focusing, actually shines more realism into reality.

    I’ve started leaving my phone behind and not carrying it around the house like I used to; the phone just draws you into tiny demands that are not worth focusing on. There are so many distractions, and I’m always doing so many things at once that everything suffers. When I can focus on something, it is such a pleasure. Must refocus on this. Thanks!

  5. @frank

    @Marcus

    @minion

    Ahhhh. I’m looking forward to a long, productive northern hemisphere winter watching Faharank and Marcus, representatives of two out of the three fattest nations on earth, argue about which is the 19th worst cycling nation, Aus or the US.

    My money’s on Fhronk.

    Fhrowhnk is at an unfair advantage because when it suits him, he switches his allegiance to the Netherlands (this ability to switch allegiances marks him as a true Dutchman).

    Yet another similarity to my dog; roll over when appropriate, growl and bark when not.

    @ChrisO

    So Frank et al, how would you distinguish between Gerrans’ M-SR ride and Costa’s world championship ride ?

    Because I haven’t seen anyone saying he wheelsucked his way to the rainbow jersey but they look like pretty similar efforts to me.

    Didn’t watch the race and as a rider he doesn’t interest me, so not sure on this, but from what I hear I would feel the same. The major problem here is that there were no riders I liked in the top 3, so my dander likely would not have gotten up to the same extent.

    A principle crime of Gerrans’ was beating a favorite rider. Surely you understand the significance of this!

    Costa’s win didn’t sit right with me either. Wheelsucking was a major factor in his finish. But I would have been upset had Nibali won with his numerous sticky water bottles, drafting off motorbikes, and the “brake adjustments” he received catching back up to the peloton.

  6. @meursault

    Ah the dogs life. One of the best things about getting into Buddhism, is mindfulness. It’s a bit like anti multi-tasking. Whatever you are doing, do just that, nothing else. The more you practise this, the better it gets. It’s brilliant. Living in the moment and focusing, actually shines more realism into reality.

    Big +1.

    I’d just add that there’s no substitute for daily meditation fer yer mindfulness thing. Stupidly, I “fell off the cushion” several months ago after a couple of years of dedicated practice, and I can feel the difference every day. Meditation, done with intention and discipline over time, is a really cool business. Gotta get back to it.

  7. @PeakInTwoYears

    @meursault

    Ah the dogs life. One of the best things about getting into Buddhism, is mindfulness. It’s a bit like anti multi-tasking. Whatever you are doing, do just that, nothing else. The more you practise this, the better it gets. It’s brilliant. Living in the moment and focusing, actually shines more realism into reality.

    Big +1. I’d just add that there’s no substitute for daily meditation fer yer mindfulness thing. Stupidly, I “fell off the cushion” several months ago after a couple of years of dedicated practice, and I can feel the difference every day. Meditation, done with intention and discipline over time, is a really cool business. Gotta get back to it.

    these thoughts truly reflect the truth. many years of seeking mindfulness through the writings of HHDL reinforce the meditative benefit of la vie velominatus. It really is a dog’s life, or perhaps it ought to be.

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