Since spring has decided to give way to winter again, my ratio of reading to riding has swung in favor of books lately. A Dog in a Hat is the autobiographical memoir of Joe Parkin, recounting his years racing as a Belgian-based, American professional cyclist in the '90's. Parkin was a workaday domestique who embraced Belgium, vlaamse, and the entire Flemish cycling mindset.
The title refers to an old flemish saying: een hond met een hoed op, which means "a dog with a hat on" which refers to seeing something that shouldn't be there. The book recounts many tales from Parkin's career, some good, some bad. There are tales of drugs, payoffs to breakaway companions for victory and other gritty stories, but throughout Parkin's love of cycling and Belgium comes through.
The one down side to this book is that it was such a fast and easy read. I found myself at the end far too soon for my liking. This is a book I would highly recommend to anyone with even a passing interest in professional cycling.