In 1987, Joe Parkin was an amateur bike racer in California when he ran into Bob Roll, a pro on the powerhouse Team 7-Eleven. "Lobotomy Bob" told Parkin that, to become a pro, he must go to Belgium.
Riding along a canal in Belgium years later, Roll encountered Parkin, who he saw as "a wraith, an avenging angel of misery, a twelve-toothed assassin". Roll barely recognized him. Belgium had forged Parkin into a pro bike racer, and changed him forever.
A Dog in a Hat is Joe's remarkable story. Leaving California with a bag of clothes, two spare wheels, some cash, and a phone number, Parkin left the comforts of home for the windy, rainswept heartland of European cycling. As one of the first American pros in Europe, Parkin was what the Belgians call "a dog with a hat on" -- something familiar, yet decidedly out of place.
Parkin lays out the hard reality of the life--the drugs, the payoffs, the betrayals by teammates, the battles with team owners for contracts and money, the endless promises that keep you going, the agony of racing day after day, and the glory of a good day in the saddle.
A Dog in a Hat is the unforgettable story of the un-ordinary education of Joe Parkin and his love affair with racing, set in the hardest place in the world to be a bike racer. It is a story untold until now, and one that you will never forget.