Through the Eyes of a Canine
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.