Life During Lockdown: Ian Boswell
Ian (@ianboswell) has been one of the top American pro cyclists since he went to race in Europe with Team Sky in 2013. Raised in Bend, Oregon, he’s raced all over the world and finished the 2018 Tour de France with the Katusha Alpecin team. After a serious head injury during the 2019 Tirreno-Adriatico race in Italy, and long ensuing recovery, Ian decided to move back to the US and commit himself to the domestic gravel racing scene. The Cycling Podcast did an excellent interview with him about the injury and his decision to move home. I’ve always found Ian to be thoughtful and intelligent in his approach to cycling and life. That’s why our conversations are interesting and his point of view is valuable. He now lives with his wife Gretchen in the small town of Peacham, Vermont, where they have a fondo. You can find Ian on Strava, Twitter and Instagram if you want to follow his journey.
1. Give me some highlights and lowlights from your first month and a half in lockdown mode
The highlight of the past two months was hands down building a log cabin lean-to with my brother. Once I made the choice not to attend Mid South, I knew racing would be postponed for a while and I knew I had to keep myself busy. My brother was not able to do his job either, as a substitute teacher. He spent three weeks living with us, and between working on the log lean-to, we had the smoker going, made a gallon of redneck maple syrup over an open fire, and even had a mini cyclocross race up in our woods. It’s cool to have witnessed the progress of a structure that will (hopefully) endure as a memorial to this time.
I’m grateful to be able to enjoy this time at home. The biggest low would have to be not getting to ride with my friends and not being able to attend the events that I had planned for my spring. As a newcomer to the gravel community, I was really looking forward to meeting new riders and getting my first taste of what the gravel community is all about at the larger national events. Though, another solid low would have to be getting bitten by a dog while on a ride recently. It’s amazing I went so many years on a bike before such a thing happened…
2. How have you grown personally and professionally during this disruption?
My role and responsibilities with Wahoo have grown tremendously during this time. I went from doing monthly podcast episodes to weekly as host of “Breakfast with Boz served by Wahoo” — check it out! I have also taken on managing a large number of athletes as a liaison for both professionals and teams. I’m fortunate to have this time to grow and learn in my new role without having to worry about the training, racing and travel that I had planned as soon as spring hit. Personally, my transition away from full time racing is evolving, and I am feeling confident in my choice to focus on putting roots down in new ways. This extended pause in racing has helped in the transition from personally identifying mainly as a racer, and expanding my professional career while still engaging what I most love about cycling.
3. Has your relationship with bicycles and your community changed as a result of being limited due to the pandemic?
My bicycle has become ever more important to me in the last month. Now spending more time at my “desk”, I look forward to getting out and riding more than ever. It is a treat every time I now get to escape for a mid-week lunch ride. Of course, those rides have been solo and I miss the social aspect of riding with friends. That said, the cycling community as a whole has done a great job of keeping folks connected. From Zoom happy hours to social rides on various virtual platforms, I feel like I have still been able to connect and reconnect with many riders from around the world.
4. Can athletes create positive change in the world during a crisis like this?
Of course. We all always have the power to create positive change in the world. This looks different for everyone, naturally, but for me positive change comes in the smallest gestures on or off the bike. Personally, the amount of families I have seen out riding together brings a smile to my face. Something as simple as waving to a neighbor and saying “It’s a beautiful day for a bike ride!” makes a change. I have seen so many young children out riding bikes when they would normally be at school. Encouraging those kids to keep pedaling (and to wear their helmet while doing so) makes a positive impact on them, on myself and the world around us. The power and freedom of a bicycle is alive and well, we all now have the unique opportunity to remind ourselves of the simple pleasure and joy of going out for a bike ride.