Come & Gone by Joe Parkin
Joe Parkin’s first book A Dog in a Hat was his account of racing as one of the first American cyclists in Belgium. This is like the Rambo II of that book. What happened when it was all over? What did he do when he came back? What was racing in America like after learning the ways of the Euro cyclist? What was the transition like from a euro pro roadie to an American mountain bike racer?
Come & Gone documents the lifestyle of a racer subsisting on $6,000 a year and trying to race professionally. It was a hard fought $6,000 too. He talks about the struggle to find money and sponsors every year. This is not the book of a champion, but rather of the guy who had a few good rides over thousands of races. This is something that most bike racers can relate to. He talks about cycling in America’s competitive cycling heyday, the 90′s. Most of the races that he competed in are long gone. At the time it seemed like the sport was drying up, but in retrospect it was some of the best financial times for cycling in America.
Joe documents the American racing scene, and those who were on top of it in the 90′s. A few of the names are still around, still racing, and still winning. A few of them are in the industry, and at least one has passed. The book does an excellent job of illustrating the personalities of his teammates and rivals.
Joe does a good job conveying the mindset of a cyclist. What he thought going into races versus what actually happened. Whether you are an first time bike racer or a seasoned pro, as he was, the thoughts and feelings are all similar. Joe puts these feelings into words.
This is a great squeal to A Dog in a Hat, as it brings closure to Joe’s racing career. Though I do hope that after 1000′s of races, Joe is able to come up with a few more stories for us.
Written by our favorite racer-boy neighbor and contributor, Steevo Cummings.