DE VELO: Brent Bookwalter: The Career That Nearly Didn't Happen

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This sport is so good at testing us every day. There are so many variables to go through. Staying healthy, staying on a team, staying motivated. It’s very testing. The biggest challenge I’ve had to go through really set the tone for my career. It happened even before I got started.

I was racing with the USA National Team in Europe in 2007. I had just graduated from Lees-McRae College. I raced while at LMC and earned a few national collegiate titles. I grew up racing mountain bikes, and I was good, but I didn’t believe that I was good enough to go pro so first I was a student-athlete, focused on developing on the road and earned my college degree (biology).

After graduating, I found a team that would pay me a modest contract, so I was able to ride fulltime. The plan was to spend most of the year in Europe and give this cycling thing a full go.