Saturday, August 20, 2011

Book Review: Le Métier

Another fine day in the working saddle!

Toronto born, Michael Barry a domestique for Team Sky, has authored a very interesting book aptly called, Le Métier.

What is métier? Simply it's a trade, field or activity at which one excels; one's forte. He writes with a compassion as a domestique, the relatively unknown, unsung working class heroes of the peloton. They attack when they can believing victory possible or chase down breaks. Their role; working for their team and importantly for their leader. They seldom win but sometimes they can. Barry mentions the French riders are most motivated to attack or breakaway on their home soil. That pursuit of glory could turn them into overnight idols.

Domestiques hard work endear them to the fans. On agonizing mountain stages, fans cheer on the domestiques struggling in the back appreciating that certain sacrifice. But it's all about hard labor, in fact, Barry has been a pro riding in his 12th season. That's lots of days in the working saddle.

Ex-pro, Sean Yates was part of the domestique fraternity, too. He knew he was one and not a leader. "It's to do with your work ethic. I knew from the beginning that I wasn't going to be a big hitter, not every day." Barry's definition sums it up, "Le Métier was a phrase I heard every day as I worked toward being a pro. To me, it is the essence of cycling; devotion, work ethic, savoir-faire (a knowledge of how to do something), an identity developed through experience."

The book is fashioned practically into the four seasons. Appropriately beginning with training in Winter and finishing in the heat of the racing season of Summer.

Camille J McMillan adds the visual feast for support. And this remarkable book, the best so far from Michael Barry, offers his rare insight in the working world of the professional cyclist… ritualistic and often times unglamorous.

Le Metier is simply Barry’s love affair for the bike… highly recommended.


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