Santa Rosa Press Democrat: Barber: Brent Bookwalter, BMC Racing have grown up together

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Barber: Brent Bookwalter, BMC Racing have grown up together

He was still in shock from the compound fracture to his left tibia, but Brent Bookwalter can remember the emergency surgery he received in Belgium that day.

Well, he thinks it was Belgium; some aspects of the events remain hazy. Physicians gave him a nerve block for his lower half, allowing him to remain awake for the operation.

“I could hear, like, the power tools going,” Bookwalter said by phone Thursday.

“I could hear these doctors in French, a language I didn’t even speak, trying to piece me back together.”

It was April of 2007. Bookwalter was 23 years old and training with the Under-23 U.S. National Cycling Team. He was an up-and-coming cyclist — just out of college, making enough money to support himself for the first time and eager to latch on to a professional team. Then came the race in Belgium, the slick cobblestones, the chaos of flying bikes. Bookwalter hit a light pole, and everything changed in an instant.

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