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. Great read, Frank. 

    The Prophet has a look in this photo that is akin to a mastiff being led through a preschool.

    “I could consume you all, if I’d a mind to.”

  2. That’s funny that you liken cycling in dog terms.  ‘Round these parts it’s call chasing the ball – Gary throws the ball and I chase.  I have to chase it.  I can’t help myself. For I am a dog (in a hat).

  3. Man alive, your articles are getting deeper by the week. Did you major in philosophy?

    How long til someone re-posts the infamous Marcus Burghart Gets Done Over By a Labrador clip?

  4. “…never to shit where it sleeps.” And this to “don’t be a dick”, and you have all you need to get thorugh life.

    Great article @Frank.

  5. @Bianchi Denti

    “…never to shit where it sleeps.” And this to “don’t be a dick”, and you have all you need to get thorugh life.

    Great article @Frank.

    er… “ADD this to…”

  6. Good joke about the Aussie and American teams Frank. How well we remember wheel sucker Gerrans at MSR and JVS at PR on the radio ” no riding no riding if it’s a race for third then it’s a race for third, no riding”.    Yuck.

  7. @paolo

    I don’t remember a wheel sucker. I remember a bike racer who was well placed and alert enough to spot  a decisive attack on the Poggio and punchy enough to go with it. 40 other guys didn’t. I remember a very ballsy descent then Cance pulling 95% and losing the finale (his signature move in 2012?) Nibbles pulling nought and losing and Gerrans pulling 5% and winning. In the green & gold bands too. Its called winning a bike race, mate. Show me a break with someone, anyone, swapping turns with Faboo when he’s driving the pace and I’ll show you someone about to get beaten.

  8. @CanuckChuck

    And now for something completely different: My Dog: The paradox.

    Super cute and super true. Thanks.

    Everything I learned about coaching third-grade soccer (to an undefeated season, may I add) I learned from training bird dogs:

    – create situations in which the creature wants to do what you want it to

    – games can teach

    – keep it upbeat, mostly; the more fun you keep it generally, the more hardassed you can be every once in a while

  9. @harminator

    yeah yeah I know….we faboo fans are sore losers with long memories. It was smart racing still Franks point is valid. Show me an Aussie who rides off the front and I’ll show you a half German.

  10. After I think a solid month of sun and perfect temperatures, fall has arrived with the tail end of tropical storm Cathy’s (that’s the name, right?) giving us rain for over a week now. Can’t complain though, it was good while it lasted and change is also good. Plus I don’t mind cool weather and rain.

    We have one long haired cat and that dude consistently smells incredible because he spends all day lounging in fallen leaves. Always a nice break from work when he jumps on my desk and whisks his tail in my face.

    Hanging on to the final few pages of “Half Man, Half Machine.” Ha, I love how many times the Prophet drove his DS bonkers by going on suicidal breaks when it was completely not necessary. Heck, he had to express himself and display his gift; I love that explanation for why he rode with such sheer V every single damn race.

  11. @paolo

    @harminator

    yeah yeah I know….we Faboo fans are sore losers with long memories. It was smart racing still Franks point is valid. Show me an Aussie who rides off the front and I’ll show you a half German.

    OK, I’ll bite – Adam Hansen, Stage 7 2013 Giro.

  12. @Marcus

    @paolo

    @harminator

    yeah yeah I know….we Faboo fans are sore losers with long memories. It was smart racing still Franks point is valid. Show me an Aussie who rides off the front and I’ll show you a half German.

    OK, I’ll bite – Adam Hansen, Stage 7 2013 Giro.

    And O’Grady in the ’07 Roubaix.

    Ok, so name FOUR Aussies who’ve ridden off the front. You can’t because we just named all three who have managed it.

    Americans are not much better. We seem to confuse racing with the game of Hide and Seek.

  13. @paolo

    Good joke about the Aussie and American teams Frank. How well we remember wheel sucker Gerrans at MSR and JVS at PR on the radio ” no riding no riding if it’s a race for third then it’s a race for third, no riding”. Yuck.

    Oh, you know I’m with you.

    @harminator

    @paolo

    I don’t remember a wheel sucker. I remember a bike racer who was well placed and alert enough to spot a decisive attack on the Poggio and punchy enough to go with it. 40 other guys didn’t. I remember a very ballsy descent then Cance pulling 95% and losing the finale (his signature move in 2012?) Nibbles pulling nought and losing and Gerrans pulling 5% and winning. In the green & gold bands too. Its called winning a bike race, mate. Show me a break with someone, anyone, swapping turns with Faboo when he’s driving the pace and I’ll show you someone about to get beaten.

    If anyone but Fabs was pulling, they would have been caught, no question. When Simon went to the front, the gap dropped measurably. Due to that fact, it has been scientifically proven that you are dramatically overstating the amount Simon worked. It was closer to 1%. Any more and they’d have been reeled in.

    Wankers.

    But to get back the point, what is it, exactly, that you think his DS (Allan Pieper?) was hollering in his ear? “DON’T PULL! DON’T PULL!” Its the same story when I walk my puppy.

  14. @frank

    Oh wait, soon you are going to talk about panache again.

    I wasnt disagreeing with your little joke – I was merely replying to Paolo’s comment: 

    But to add a few more big Aussie victories “off the front”:

    Neil Stephens 1997 Tour de France (albeit a somewhat tarnished victory).

    Dave McKenzie Stage 7 2000 Giro – a true suicide break.

    I think a certain World Champ (who loves dogs) won that race by riding off the front with about 10k to go. And who was in that front group? Cancellara! Admittedly his presence served to dissuade the other chasers.

    Brad McGee 2002 Tour stage win – into Avranches?

    You want more?

  15. @Marcus

    @frank

    Oh wait, soon you are going to talk about panache again.

    I wasnt disagreeing with your little joke – I was merely replying to Paolo’s comment:

    But to add a few more big Aussie victories “off the front”:

    Neil Stephens 1997 Tour de France (albeit a somewhat tarnished victory).

    Dave McKenzie Stage 7 2000 Giro – a true suicide break.

    I think a certain World Champ (who loves dogs) won that race by riding off the front with about 10k to go. And who was in that front group? Cancellara! Admittedly his presence served to dissuade the other chasers.

    Brad McGee 2002 Tour stage win – into Avranches?

    You want more?

    Yes! Keep it coming, you twat. You listing one name every few years is serving very nicely to prove the point I wasn’t trying to make.

  16. @atomicmanatee

    Great read, Frank.

    The Prophet has a look in this photo that is akin to a mastiff being led through a preschool.

    “I could consume you all, if I’d a mind to.”

    Here’s our pack on the day we brought home the pup in the story; two old dogs and a youngster. 47 IQ points between the lot of them, but nevertheless the young one learned “Stay out of the kitchen, you little fucker!” on the first try.

    The Dane considers small dogs “Treats on Feet”.

  17. @frank I just get a kick out of remembering our winners. I love sneaky winners possibly even more than the meritorious – when brains beat braun.

    I envy your ability to enjoy losers. The only time I enjoy losing is when I am fighting temptation (I stole this from somewhere).

  18. @paolo

    Good joke about the Aussie and American teams Frank. How well we remember wheel sucker Gerrans at MSR and JVS at PR on the radio ” no riding no riding if it’s a race for third then it’s a race for third, no riding”. Yuck.

    Is that what JVS’s DS was saying in the 2011 PR?

  19. @Beers

    yes that’s what I meant JV.   JVS was the rider.    And just for you aussie types my favorite Aussie solo moment was Heinrich Haussler stage 13 TDF 2009, crying in the rain, beautiful, made up for missing out on MSR that year by a hairs breadth.

    sorry about jacking the thread Frank, these chaps are easy to bite

  20. @harminator

    @paolo

    I don’t remember a wheel sucker. I remember a bike racer who was well placed and alert enough to spot a decisive attack on the Poggio and punchy enough to go with it. 40 other guys didn’t. I remember a very ballsy descent then Cance pulling 95% and losing the finale (his signature move in 2012?) Nibbles pulling nought and losing and Gerrans pulling 5% and winning. In the green & gold bands too. Its called winning a bike race, mate. Show me a break with someone, anyone, swapping turns with Faboo when he’s driving the pace and I’ll show you someone about to get beaten.

    Correct

  21. @Beers

    nothing to do with JVS of course . He was the happy recipient of  Garmins somewhat cynical game of “follow Fabian”

  22. @paolo

    @Beers

    nothing to do with JVS of course . He was the happy recipient of Garmins somewhat cynical game of “follow Fabian”

    It is one of my fav races, even then I agree. Even if Faboo has missed the defining break, no one helps him, too dangerous, or at least you could get a lift back up to the break by sucking his wheel.

  23. @paolo

    @Barracuda

    funny how its only Australians agreeing with Australians.

    Pray tell about what we Australians are agreeing on? All I did was respond to your request to be pointed to an Australian winning off the front.

    As for chaps being easy to bite, I am not sure you are on the right website for that.

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

    So is the doping the shitting… or the busting of the team members & not turning a blind eye….. ;-)

  25. @Marcus

    @paolo

    @Barracuda

    funny how its only Australians agreeing with Australians.

    Pray tell about what we Australians are agreeing on? All I did was respond to your request to be pointed to an Australian winning off the front.

    As for chaps being easy to bite, I am not sure you are on the right website for that.

    Barracuda agreed with Harminator that Gerrans, rather than being a wheel sucker is in fact a smart racer. Do try to keep up old chap.   Now my final word….final I say   Because this thread is supposed to be about dogs and bikes and not crafty little Aussies and sucky Americans ( though it’s obvious from all the bites which nation has an inferiority complex )   Gerrans makes the most of his abilities, I think we can all agree on that. But he’s the fucking Remora fish of the peloton. End of.

  26. 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.

  27. This website is like any good cycling route — there is always someone riding it.

  28. @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?…

  29. @minion

    representatives of two out of the three fattest nations on earth

    Now that you joined the conversation now we have all three.

  30. @G’rilla

    @minion

    representatives of two out of the three fattest nations on earth

    Now that you joined the conversation now we have all three.

    Oh, that’s not fair. Minion isn’t a country.

  31. @Beers

    @paolo

    @Beers

    nothing to do with JVS of course . He was the happy recipient of Garmins somewhat cynical game of “follow Fabian”

    It is one of my fav races, even then I agree. Even if Faboo has missed the defining break, no one helps him, too dangerous, or at least you could get a lift back up to the break by sucking his wheel.

    Not to rehash an old chat, but my issue is – in general – with the whole attitude of never working, and being willing to throw the race in the process. Very Anti-V.

    More specifically to that race in particular, was JV’s double-blind on saying Hushovd can’t pull because he has a rider up front, and that JVS can’t pull because he has a rider coming up. Either the guy behind is blocking, or the guy up front is waiting. Not both. If its both, you’re just being a coward.

  32. @frank Yeah mate I’m with you there. Re-reading what I wrote, it is my fav because the domestique rouleur got an unexpected victory, not what happened to Faboo

  33. @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).

  34. @frank

    @Marcus

    You clearly don’t race bikes

    And you obviously do, and likely don’t win often.

    And he’s unlikely to win while he keeps going for a swim beforehand.

  35. @Chris

    @frank

    @Marcus

    You clearly don’t race bikes

    And you obviously do, and likely don’t win often.

    And he’s unlikely to win while he keeps going for a swim beforehand.

    And a run in a banana hammok after.

  36. 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.

  37. @ChrisO I hate it when I agree with you – this bullshit about wheelsucking is exactly that.

    You want a sport where the strongest invariably wins, go watch athletics.

    In cycling it is not always the strongest who wins, but the one who uses HIS resources the smartest.

    And that’s the beauty of the sport.

  38. @Marcus

    You want a sport where the strongest invariably wins, go watch athletics.

    Though drafting mostly takes place on the track too in middle and long distance running.

  39. 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.

  40. @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).

    That’s not much help to Fhronk, Belkin’s registered in the Netherlands. Not fat but couldn’t win a bike race with an EPO – filled chicken (oh sorry that was Rabobank), a former track  sprint world champion, or a Bond villain. Interestingly the team appears to be filled with a combination of Dutch and ‘Strayan riders, so you could do the six degrees of separation between Marcus and Fahrownk with that team. or, six degrees of Fhra – arcus.

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