A Dog in a Hat
When a normal situation suddenly changes, Belgians call it 'een hond met een hoed op,' a dog with a hat on. Joe Parkin, an American bike racer who left the familiar comforts of home to compete at the highest professional level in Belgium, was that dog in a hat - something familiar, yet decidedly out of place.In his searing, no-holds-barred memoir, Parkin describes the true life of the professional bike racer. His plainspoken prose puts us in the whirlwind of this hardest of athletic educations, starting with the first visit to his team doctor, where, strapped to a metal table and monitored by humming electrodes, men in white lab coats coldly divine his future as a pro. Parkin pulls no punches. "A Dog in a Hat" celebrates the glory of bike racing, but Parkin tells the hard reality of the life thrillingly - the drugs, the payoffs, the betrayals by team-mates, the battles with team owners for contracts and money, the endless promises that keep you going, and the sheer physical agony of racing day after day.Despite the pain, despite the suffering, "A Dog in a Hat" is a beautiful book. It is one racer's story of his love affair with professional cycling, set in the hardest place in the world to be a bike racer. It is a story untold until now, and one that Parkin's readers will never forget.