Five Minutes with Ian Boswell
From Issue 93 • Words by Brad Roe; Image by Vermont Social
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We recently had a chance to chat with Ian Boswell to find out about his new adventures with Wahoo and the gravel scene….
Ian, tell us what led you to this new transition and adventure with Wahoo?
Going way back, even to 2018, I had a really successful year. It was my first year with Katusha-Alpecin. I had come to that team from Team Sky at the time to ride the Tour de France, and I rode the Tour in 2018. In a lot of ways it was my best season to date in terms of the progress I made and the steps I made towards being a Tour rider and participating in that event. And I learned a lot. I was hoping in 2019 to go back with the experience I had gained.
It started off pretty similar to every other year. I spent a lot of time in Vermont in the winter and was just gradually building up through the spring. And I was in Tirreno–Adriatico, my first European stage race of the year—I had done the Mallorca Challenge and Tour of Oman prior. And on stage 4 I had a bit of a…it was more of a fluke incident, just a crash on a downhill…still not really sure what happened. And I went over the bars at pretty high speed and landed on the back of my head, which took the brunt of the force from the crash. I had very little road rash, nothing was broken, but I was left unconscious on the pavement where I crashed.
The immediate thought in my mind when I crashed was: “Oh boy, I need to get back on my bike and ride to the finish line, because if I drop out on stage 4 then I can’t finish the race and you’re not getting those race miles in your legs.” By the time I was conscious again, the team car had gotten to me—my team director at the time was Dmitri Konyshev—I was like, “Where’s my bike? I want to get back on because it’s only 3 kilometers to go and all downhill.” And he’s like, “No, we’ve got 60 kilometers to go. You’re a long way from the finish.”
Ultimately, that crash changed the course of my life and my career. From that crash in the middle of March I didn’t race again for the rest of the 2019 season. And there was a lot of up and downs from that crash until I decided what to do next. And there was a big choice to make. In late August, I was offered a contract to race on the road for the 2020 season. Eventually, I came to terms with things and evaluated my health and my life and what I’ve accomplished. I very much consciously made the choice to walk away from road racing and pursue something different.
What’s happening for 2020?
Over the course of the summer, I was going back and forth with what I’m going to do next. I’m gonna be 29 years old in 2020. I need a job—I can’t just retire and start hobby farming here in Vermont. I’m also still too motivated and too driven to just hang it up. So I made the choice to not race, and I didn’t take that contract offer, very much on my own terms. Soon after, I had been talking with Wahoo as the title sponsor of our Peacham Fall Fondo and they offered me a job to fill a position that they didn’t really have in place, as an ambassador for one but also as a liaison between the brand of Wahoo Fitness and the WorldTour teams that they sponsor and some of the other endurance athletes, because I know what athletes are able to do, want to do and enjoy doing. So, in some ways, I have a unique perspective that uses my background to help them.
Wahoo has also been incredibly generous in understanding that this is very much a transition for me. And it’s difficult for an athlete—especially at my age—to go from a professional athletic career into an office job 40 hours a week. Obviously, the gravel movement in the U.S. is growing strong and it’s a new frontier for a lot of riders. And Wahoo very much wants to enter that market and be a part of it. Together, we came up with this idea where I continue to ride my bike at a competitive level, and under the Wahoo banner take part in the gravel races of 2020.
You can follow Ian’s adventures at https://www.wahoofitness.com/frontiers and hear his story on our Aérogramme Podcast at pelotonmagazine.com