To be honest, Brent never envisioned being a professional cyclist--it was his obsession with getting better at something, mixed with his love of riding a bike that lead him down the path to become a pro athlete.
At Lees-McRae in Banner Elk, North Carolina Brent found a community that supported him and it was only natural to keep moving forward.
While at Lees-Mcrae, Brent won nine collegiate national titles in three disciplines - road, MTB and cyclocross.
In 2005 and while he was still juggling the demands of college, Brent signed his first road contract with the Advantage Benefits Endeavour Cycling Team.
In 2006, Bookwalter graduated with honors with a Bachelors Degree in Science (Biology) and won the U.S. National Under 23 time trial championship.
Switching from mountain bike to road
For Brent, the mountain bike community was family. Switching to road wasn't as seamless as people may imagine--he missed being around of the mtb crew and racing through the forest and trees.
But he realized there was something bigger if he pushed himself past mountain bike. Driven by his desire to test himself and to see the world, Brent threw himself completely into racing on the road.
"I wanted to be a professional because it would allow me the chance to have the joy of riding a bike an integral part of my life, my job," he explains. "The path and process that it required intrigued and motivated me. It also allowed me to learn more about myself and accomplish things as part of a team in a way that I never realized I was capable of doing."
A decade with BMC
In 2008, Brent signed his first professional contract with the now defunct American squad, BMC Racing Team. At the time, the team was a pro-continental squad and Brent spent that first year racing primarily in the US but raced his first ProTour event - the Tour of Romandie - and his first pro world championship road race.
In 2009, Brent continued developing both domestically and internationally. He raced both Romandie and the Criterium du Dauphine but the standout of the year was winning the opening prologue at the Tour of Utah and finishing 10th overall at America's Toughest Stage race.
2010 served as a turning year for both Brent and the BMC Racing Team. During the off-season, the team acquired several big name talents including Cadel Evans, Alessandro Ballan and George Hincapie. The investments meant the team increased its chances at getting bigger race invitations. The plan paid off and the team received wildcard invitations to the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and numerous high-profile one-day races.
Racing for Mitchelton-scott
The 2018 season marked the end of the BMC Racing Team, and in August, Brent announced he would race at Mitchelton-SCOTT for the 2019 season.
Brent’s excited for this change and to support Mitchelton-SCOTT’s Grand Tour ambitions and their young general classification contenders, Esteban Chaves and the Yates Brothers.
Part of what drew Brent to Mitchelton-SCOTT was on a performance level, but he also appreciated the culture and camaraderie between the guys on the road and how they all ride with each other and for each other.
Brent is the first American to join the squad, and after being part of Cadel Evans’s 2011 Tour de France win, he feels a strong connection to Australia and is looking forward to integrating into this organization.
REPRESENTING the USA AT THE OLYMPICS
In 2016, Brent represented the United States of America at the Summer Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil. He competed in both the time trial and the road race.
Words barely describe the sense of pride Brent felt in representing the United States at the greatest sporting event in the world. What made the experience so memorable was being a part of Team USA. It wasn't about being an individual athlete from a specific sport; it was about being surrounded by the nation's best athletes.
Everyone had the same drive and desire to perform their best. This created a bond and connection between professional athletes that can't be created in any environment outside of the Olympic Games.