Brent Bookwalter

Local Tour de France competitor helps teammate grab yellow jacket

September 29, 2011 // 0 Comments

by MATT MARN Only a decade ago, Brent Bookwalter was a local cycling enthusiast when he began competing in local amateur events. Years later, he met Cadel Evans, a professional cyclist, and asked for his autograph. In 2011, Bookwalter helped his professional cycling team bring home the win at the most prestigious cycling race in the world. Bookwalter is one of the competitors on the BMC racing team who recently traveled to France to compete in the 98th Tour de France, a cycling race spanning 21 stages in over 23 days, measuring over 3,400 kilometers in length, also stretching part of the route into Italy. The competition ended on July 24, 2011 with Evans crossing the finish line and taking home the win for BMC. And he couldn’t have done it without the help of a long list of support teammates, including Bookwalter. Bookwalter grew up ripping around Rockford on his bike, where he often saw signs for local mountain bike competitions over at Cannonsburg and Pando ski areas. When he was 12 or 13, a friend took him to a competition, and he has never looked back. Connie Zinger, Bookwalter’s mother, remembered that since then he rose through the local mountain biking ranks by entering those same competitions he went to watch, and moving on to state and even national championships. “He started out like any kid, riding a bike and loving it,” Zinger said. “I don’t come from an especially athletic family,” Bookwalter said. “When I was younger I played a lot of sports, but began doing more and more cycling. I was always ‘ok’ at every sport, not the best… here I am out there alone, and control my own success.” Bookwalter also pointed out, however, at that time he had no idea cycling was such a team sport. “It wasn’t even in my scope at all,” he said. “It’s a sole pursuit, but it’s also very social… You have control, but it’s a team sport. It’s the best of both worlds.” He stuck through his education through college, where he got a degree in biology from Lee McCrae, where he also made more of a name for himself behind the handlebars, winning numerous championships at the collegiate level. After riding for […]