2015 News

Hundreds turn out for Bookwalter Binge

BLACK MOUNTAIN Riders finally got to ride in the second Bookwalter Binge Charity Gran Fondo on Saturday, Oct. 31. The bike ride drew some 200 cyclists, including several professional riders, on the bike tour which included distances of 30, 60 and 80 miles starting and ending at Pisgah Brewing in Black Mountain.

Susan and Jeff Wienke, and their 12-year-old son, Brooks, came up from Greenville, S.C., for the ride. They had registered last year for the inaugural ride, but it was canceled because of a massive storm that weekend.

This past Saturday, they all go to ride in the Meddio, or 62-mile ride.

Retired pro cyclist George Hincapie of Greenville, S.C., rides in the Bookwalter Binge Gran Fondo on Oct. 31 in Black Mountain. (Photo: Citizen-Times photo)

“The ride was very organized and one of the safest we have participated in. The roads were well marked and volunteers were present to signal turns and slowing down,” Susan Wienke said.

“It was a challenging course, but lots of fun. We especially enjoyed the fall foliage at its peak. I felt a real sense of accomplishment afterward. What really stood out to me is how Jamie and Brent (Bookwalter) greeted everyone they came across during the ride, whether they were volunteers or fellow riders. It was special to see them take a moment and connect with each person.”

The Wienke Family of Greenville, S.C., from left, Jeff, Susan and Brooks, pose with Brent Bookwalter, of Asheville, at the 2nd annual Bookwalter Binge Gran Fondo on Oct. 31. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

Susan Wienke said the family has taken part in many other “Gran Fondos,” or mass start bike rides, and what set the Bookwalter Binge Gran Fondo apart was the non-competitive nature of the ride and the opportunity to interact with the pros during and after the ride.

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Some of the pros who took part were 17-time Tour de France competitor George Hincapie of Greenville, S.C., Christian Vande Velde, Ty Magner, Matthew Busche, John Murphy and Jonny Clarke (both on Team UHC Pro Cycling), Lauren Hall and Lauren Komanski (both on Team Twenyty16), and of course, Brent Bookwalter (Team BMC Racing) and Jamie Bookwalter, who is retired from pro cycling.


“For a young rider who dreams of racing professionally one day, it was a unique opportunity for Brooks to ride and chat with some of the best pros in the U.S.,” Susan said. “We can't wait to come back and do it all over again next year. What Brent and Jamie have created is magical and we are honored to be a part of it. The best part of all about participating in the Binge is that Brent and Jamie are using the proceeds every year to give back to their community and I love supporting that!”

The ride this year was a benefit for the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, an Asheville-based land trust that works to preserve land for conservation across Western North Carolina.

For more details on the ride, visit www.bookwalterbinge.com. For photos from the ride, visit www.CITIZEN-TIMES.com/outdoors.

You can read the original story here: http://www.citizen-times.com/story/sports/outdoors/girls-gone-outdoors/2015/11/04/hundreds-turn-out-bookwalter-binge/75158998/

Brent Bookwalter Selected for the 2015 Road World Championship Team

ASHEVILLE — Cyclist Brent Bookwalter has been named to the United States’ six-man team for the World Road Championships to be held in Richmond beginning Sept. 20.

Bookwalter recently finished second in the US Pro Challenge last month in Colorado. He won Stage 2 of that event and wore the yellow jersey for two days.

One more men’s rider will be named. The others chosen were Taylor Phinney, Tyler Farrar, Alex Howes and Ben King.

The women’s team features Olympians Shelley Olds and Evie Stevens, along with Allie Dragoo, Megan Guarnier, Lauren Stephens, Tayler Wiles and Coryn Rivera.

Small and Stevens also will compete in the time trial along with Kristin Armstrong, the two-time and defending Olympic gold medalist.

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Trail and Tarmac Q&A with Brent Bookwalter

Brent sat down with Trail and Tarmac during the Tour of Dubai to discuss racing, training, the Bookwalter Binge, and burritos.

Brent Bookwalter is a professional cyclist for BMC Racing Team. He’s raced the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia and was helping BMC take home the Team Classification win at the Dubai Tour when he answered our questions. Keep reading to see what Brent has to say about racing, training, the Bookwalter Binge, and burritos in this week’s T&T Q&A:  

[T&T] What is something you wish you knew when you first started cycling?


[Brent Bookwalter] That there’s no secret to it — there’s no magic bullet. There’s no one piece of equipment that’s going to do it, no one training workout, no one supplement, no one team, or one race that will make it all change for you. Being a good cyclist is an accumulation of really thin layers, laying them down over time, and seeing the results. It takes consistently working on training, technique, racing, and diet to see it all add up.

[T&T] Do you have a piece of cycling gear you can’t live without?

[Brent Bookwalter] My mountain bike is honestly something I can’t live without. For me, riding my road bike is essentially my job. The mountain bike is something I can ride to relate to cycling, keep myself in shape, but get back to that pure passion and fun of being on two wheels and being free.

[T&T] Can you share one tip for amateur riders looking to elevate their game?

[Brent Bookwalter] My number one piece of advice is to listen to others. Seek out the advice and opinions of those around you who have more experience or who have accomplished more than you. Look at where they’ve been and where they’re going. Based on their experience and your personal goals, decide what information to filter out and use. Whether you’re a Junior in Kansas or a Cat 1 in California, there’s a wealth of people around who want to help. That’s one of the great things about cycling. Seek these people out in your community and use them to your advantage.

It takes an army to keep me going every day — my personal coach, our PR officer, my teammates, my family. Build your own personal team with the people around you.

[T&T] What’s your favorite race of the year?

[Brent Bookwalter] That’s a tough question for me. I like races, enjoy them, and appreciate them for different reasons. The ones with the best memories in my mind are ones I’ve either won or ones that my family has been at to support me. This sport has taken me around the world to so many far away places, some of them more uncomfortable than others, but having friends and family close for a race makes all the difference to me. That usually means races in the US.

T&T Note: The UCI Road World Championships will be in Richmond, NC this year. Here’s the official site of Richmond 2015.

[T&T] Tell us about your own race, the Bookwalter Binge. Will you have it again in 2015?

[Brent Bookwalter] We are having it again in 2015. It’s going to be the second edition, and we’re hoping for more cooperation from mother nature this year. As we saw last year, it’s not just about the riding, it’s about the spirit of cycling, and the spirit of helping each other and helping others who can’t help themselves. Last year we partnered with Trips for Kids. This year we’re going to partner with a different organization, one with a similar charitable vision. Look for exciting news and more information on dates and venues and charitable partners soon.

[T&T] What cycling-related website do you visit most frequently?

[Brent Bookwalter] To be honest, I try to stay out of the cycling news world a bit. So much of my life is already consumed and focused on being on the road and around the sport. If I’m looking at a cycling website, it’s just to see results.

[T&T] What sorts of tips or tricks do you have to stay healthy and prevent injury?  Do you use any specific mobility tools or cross training techniques?

[Brent Bookwalter] One thing I’ve really gained a greater appreciation for over my career, especially the past five or six years, is the need for balancing the whole system of the body. We’re two dimensional on the bike, just pedaling up and down all day, so I think it’s really important to do cross-training activities that push your system to grow, force your bones to build some density, and force your muscles to work in a different way. That really counts for a lot.

For me in particular, I’ve had the chance to work with some really great core training specialists throughout the years including Herriott Sports Performance out of Seattle and Rev Training out of BelgiumDavid Bombeke and his colleagues work with our team. They use a lot of dynamic movements and specific core strengthening routines. We do a lot of Redcord Training and things like that.

[T&T] How do you prepare to ride in the cold weather?  Is there any cold weather gear you can’t live without?  

[Brent Bookwalter] I grew up in Michigan, where I would ride in cold weather like it was nothing. We would go out in 0°F and rip down snow-covered back roads. I feel like I’m getting a little soft in my old age. Now, the best way for me to prepare is to not look at the forecast or the temperature too much and let the weather psych me out.

But in seriousness, staying fueled-up and fed is big, and so is staying warm and layered-up. Stay dry and dress in layers so that you can take stuff off and never build up much sweat. I like to go out the door wearing as much clothing as I can without overheating. A lot of cyclists I see riding go out the door dressed with the absolutely minimum amount of clothes possible to not freeze, but I dress with as much as I can without being hot. It’s good to be warm, our bodies work well when they’re warm as long as they’re not profusely sweating. Remove layers as you warm up.

[T&T] What’s your ride nutrition of choice (before, during and after)?

[Brent Bookwalter] I like to focus on real food. Like I said before, there’s no magic bullet, food, or supplement. I focus on eating good quality macro-nutrients, proteins, carbs, and fats. I eat in moderation, in amounts I like and feel comfortable with, not stuffing myself and not starving myself.

Before a race, I like a good old American breakfast with pancakes, eggs, and bacon. During a race, I like things like little sandwiches and muffins. Of course, you have to throw in the Powerbar Gels and Powerbars. I really like their Harvest Energy Bars, because they taste a little more “real-foodish.” After a race, if I could take my pick, I would have a burrito. They’re impossible to get at some of the races we do, but I love a good burrito.

As a member of the 2011 Tour de France winning team, Brent Bookwalter helped Cadel Evans top the podium in Paris. Brent is a top time trialist, finishing just two seconds off the winning time set by Olympic gold medalist Bradley Wiggins in the 2010 Giro d’Italia. His list of accomplishments is long — he is an extraordinary cyclist, teammate, and a true force to be reckoned with on the bike. We’re delighted he took a break from the Dubai Tour to answer our questions. If you want to keep up with Brent, follow @brentbookwalter on Twitter.

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Brent Bookwalter Q&A: Pro Cyclists ‘need a voice’

Brent sits down with Velo News to discuss the need for all cyclists to have a voice regarding safe racing weather conditions.

Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing) was there when mud-caked glasses and silt-filled eyes dropped visibility to zero on Kebler Pass at the USA Pro Challenge last August. He was at the Giro d’Italia, too, where the rain seemed endless until it turned to snow, and controversy, atop the Stelvio.

It’s easy, sitting as we do behind computer screens and television sets, to forget just how unsympathetic and how utterly heartless cycling can be to the men and women who put on the show. It’s a sport that revels in stoicism, puts the hardman on a pedestal, and has always fought through wind, rain, sleet, and snow. We applaud a grimace, cheer for pain, and beg for suffering. It’s what makes the sport unique — and beautiful.

But the old-world, walk-it-off mentality does not always fit with modern, professional sport. Failure to protect riders properly puts the sanctity of the show in jeopardy, as it was on the Stelvio and Kebler pass last year.

That’s where the international rider’s union, the CPA, and its newest arm, the Association of North American Professional Road Cyclists (ANAPRC), fits in. Bookwalter is on the board of the brand new organization, the first to represent North American riders’ interests to the CPA and, thus, to the rest of the sport’s stakeholders.

VeloNews sat down with him during the Dubai Tour to discuss problem areas in pro cycling and how the ANAPRC plans to address them.

VeloNews: What motivated the ANAPRC?

Brent Bookwalter: A lot of us have been talking about it over the past few years, at least during my career. How we need a voice, we need to be having conversations with the stakeholders in the sport, voicing our concerns and trying to make this sport better, but we never did anything about it. This initial group of riders and also some businessmen were proactive enough to get the ball rolling. The goal for the end of last year was getting an official seat on the CPA because somehow, for all these years the North Americans and the Americans haven’t had a voice of representation.

VN: I had never realized that North American riders weren’t represented.

BB: Yeah, and that’s a big purpose too, to educate and inform. Even right now, there’s a website that’s live and it’s a good information resource for things like CPA bylaws, the collective bargaining agreement between the IGCP and the UCI and the teams, and things like the end-of-career allowance, stuff like that, that really all pros should be aware of and know about. But it’s hard. I’m guilty of that too. The past few years I haven’t wanted to spend a full week’s work digging out every piece of information that’s buried under archives and stacks.

Ideally, it would be nice to help or be a voice for some of these unrepresented countries as well. There’s big countries in this sport, I don’t think Germany has a seat in the CPA, Australia doesn’t, Great Britain doesn’t. A large percentage of the [WorldTour], the professional peloton really has no official voice to get themselves heard.

VN: So it’s really an old-world scenario? It’s Italy, Spain, and France?

BB: Exactly, yes. And as I understand it, a lot of the national associations that hold their seats in the CPA, these associations predate the CPA itself. The CPA has only existed for the past — not long before my career started — maybe 10 or 15 years. A lot of these Spanish, the Italian, the French, they’re national associations that have existed for 80-100 years and they’ve just sort of slipped in when the CPA formed. [The CPA includes Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Netherlands, and Switzerland – ed.]

VN: So what’s goal No. 1? What would you want to bring to the CPA?

BB: A few of the objectives that we’re targeting right from the beginning are: one, try to create a more effective CPA. Try to encourage them to be a little more transparent, to set an agenda which is realistic but can also be evaluated, communicate better between the riders. Then also open their doors more easily and willingly to the other nations. We would like to be just a better voice for the riders in general. So when these weather issues come up, or controversy comes up, I don’t think it’s fair to have to make the riders have to stand up and take the blame and take the heat. It would be really nice if there were a collective voice that, behind the scenes, the riders can be unified with. And then the spokesperson or the speaker, they can take the heat. That’s in everyone’s best interest, the teams, the riders, and the races too.

VN: Like in Colorado last year. [Stage 2 of the USA Pro Challenge was temporarily neutralized due to weather — ed.]

BB: So that right there leads me to one of the next key objectives we’ve set out for ourselves and that’s to establish an extreme weather protocol. We’ve made some really good headway. We have a handful of doctors on the panel, we have current racers, ex-racers, we have race directors, ex-race directors, so a good resource of people that are trying to establish tangible and concise parameters for what would trigger extreme weather and also how that decision is then communicated and what it means. I think at the end of the day it’s not fair to the race, or the riders, or the sport in itself to have a decision like that to come down on an official and what kind of day they’re having. Like ‘I feel good today, they should go out and race, or I’m tired maybe they won’t race today.’ So I think having some clear and concise rules would really help.

And then, further past that, we would like to do things like increase benefits and compensation for the riders. We would like to see some tweaks to that end-of-career allowance. I think in a perfect world it would really up the professionalism of professional cycling if we could establish a greater benefits package and a retirement fund. Not only a retirement fund, but some insurance, things like that. In a lot of other sports that comes with it and it’s mandatory and in cycling there really isn’t a whole lot of it.

VN: Because there’s a minimum salary, but no minimum benefits, there’s no guarantee of insurance or anything like that?

BB: Yeah, the UCI does have some limits on what teams have to provide riders though.

VN: But some countries are going to have it different. If you live in a place with a universal healthcare system …

BB: Right, exactly. And even the minimal salaries are pretty low. Then also kind of with that, the whole points debate that’s happening right now. We feel like the riders should be involved in that conversation because it affects us. The current [UCI WorldTour] points system as it is now, is so top-heavy that it really, at times, it almost becomes a burden to the big riders, the point-getters because they have to be in races. They have to go to Beijing, they have to be getting points. A guy like myself, it definitely inhibits me, and limits my opportunity because if I’m not going to be in the top five point-getters on my team then it’s not in the team’s best interest to let me get any.

VN: What could fix that?

BB: Personally, I would just like to see a deeper spread of points. As it stands right now, it’s so GC-heavy and the Pro Tour points, [those] are extremely hard to get. I’m not saying they should be easy to get, but getting top five at a grand tour stage, or top 10 at a GC pro tour stage race, maybe one guy on each team does that each race, so that doesn’t leave a whole lot of opportunities for a rider other than a team leader to really create much value for themselves outside of a breakout day or a breakout part of the year.

VN: Do you know why Christian [Vande Velde] was particularly interested in joining up [with ANAPRC, where he is acting president]?

BB: He had a pretty long career and it spanned some definitely changing times in the sport. I think being an American in this increasingly international sport, but when he started it was largely European, there were so many moments of frustration for him of, ‘Why is this happening, why is there no logic being worked here?’ It’s just old school. We do it because it’s always been this way. So I think in a large part that propels him to do it, and wanting to leave a legacy past his race career.

And that’s part of it for me too. In 20 or 30 years, if I have kids and I’m showing them pictures of my time as a professional cyclist, which is a huge part of my life, I want to be proud of the sport that exists then, I don’t want it to be some side-show, freak-show that’s hanging on by a string, struggling to get by and they’re racing through snow or racing through fire pits or who knows what’s going on. I want to look back and be proud of what the sport is then and I think the only way we can do that is by starting now and try to make it better for the future.


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Bookwalter backs the creation of North American riders’ association

“BMC rider Brent Bookwalter says the newly created ANAPRC (Association of North American Professional Road Cyclists) wants to be pro-active rather than confrontational in the way it interacts with the UCI, teams and race organisers, as it tries defend the interests of the riders in the peloton. One of ANAPRC’s first goals is to help with the introduction of an Extreme Weather Protocol, where clear rules decide if and how races should be held in extreme heat or cold.”

On Tuesday the ANAPRC announced that former Garmin rider Christian Vande Velde has been chosen as a temporary president, with other current riders, including Bookwalter, Ted King (Cannondale-Garmin), Tejay van Garderen (BMC), Matthew Busche (Trek Factory Racing) and Peter Stetina (BMC) as Directors. They volunteered for the roles, with full elections to be held in early 2015. ANAPRC said it is actively seeking candidates to serve as the long-term Executive Director of the organization.

ANAPRC has become the eighth national riders' association under the umbrella of the CPA (Cyclistes Professionels Associés), the global riders' association headed by Gianni Bugno.

“As anyone who follows the sport knows, there's a lot of debate and controversy about how different interests are handled. A group of us Americans thought it was time to step up and be more pro-active in our role and how we interact with the teams and the races. Hopefully in the end its better for everyone involved,” Bookwalter told Cyclingnews at the Dubai Tour.

“We're not trying to combative or confrontational in any way, we just want to be collaborative. The key here word is pro-active. Whether that's creating a safer race and safer peloton, establishing better compensation and benefits for riders, or communicating better with the teams in the races. All those things are important.”

Establish an Extreme Weather Protocol to avoid a repeat of the Passo dello Stelvio confusion

Bookwalter rode the 2014 Giro d'Italia and so experienced first hand the chaos and health risks of racing in extreme cold condition at high altitude on the Passo dello Stelvio. An impromptu decision by the race director Mauro Vegni to informally neutralize the race near the summit to protect the riders only caused further confusion, with eventual race winner Nairo Quintana going away on the descent and gaining time on all his rivals.

The ANAPRC hopes that an Extreme Weather Protocol would help avoid similar embarrassing scenes and protect the riders.

Cyclingnews understands that other rider representatives are also working on a similar protocol and that certain race organisers are ready to put an informal protocol in place this season without waiting for a formal rule change by the UCI.

“For me a big driving force for wanting to be involved is to avoid another Stelvio stage. I don't want the sport or the riders to go through something like that ever again,” Bookwalter told Cyclingnews.

“We have a few priorities that we'd like to achieve eventually and one of these is establishing an Extreme Weather Protocol and getting that accepted by the UCI, the races and the teams. It's so that when a situation like the bad weather on the Stelvio happens, a protocol is followed that makes thing safe and clear for everybody. Right now the decision on if we race is purely discretionary. It's decided on the road, in the race, by someone making a call. We're all at fault sometimes and nobody is perfect. It's a very difficult decision to make. We think there needs to be a set protocol of how the decision is made and how it's communicated to the teams a riders and sponsors.”

Collaborative, not confrontational

Bookwalter admitted the riders did not know how the UCI, race organisers and their teams and employers will react to the creation of the association.

Riders in the peloton have rarely shown signs of unity, with protests and strikes about road conditions and safety almost always failing at the first whiff of pressure from the race organisers and teams. This is due to the riders being rivals on the road, due to different nationalities and due to pressure and threats from teams and sponsors. As a consequence the riders have very little collective bargaining power or voice on key issues that often affect them directly.

“What was revealed on Tuesday was the first public announcement,” Bookwalter explained.

“We're not sure how the teams, the races and the UCI will receive us but the people we've talked to individually, are supportive and that's good to hear. Our aim is to collaborative, not be confrontational or take over anything. I think we've done a good job getting the ball rolling. It's difficult, we're spread out all over the world but a lot of guys have invested time and effort to be on the same page and establish something to build upon.”

“We're not a union, the CPA exists in that role, we just want to have a voice. But we decided that that the best way to influence things is to have a seat on the CPA and influence their thinking so they can influence the other stakeholders such as the race organisers and the UCI.”

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