Twenty Questions™ with Ian Boswell
What was the first poster you hung on your wall as a kid?
My first cycling poster was either a poster of the Cascade Cycling Classic or a poster of Tyler Hamilton that I pulled out of a magazine.
The 1992 Volvo 740 station wagon has an 8.8 rating (out of 10) from past and present owners on the Kelly Blue Book website. If you had to rate this vehicle on the same scale, what score would you give it?
9/10 for pure dependability and style. I loved it. Miss driving it.
Why do European pro cyclists like fist-bumping techno music so much? How many hours of it do you think you’ve had to listen to since signing with Team Sky?
I have not a clue why they like it. In my first year with the team I tried to get into it, but after listening to that noise all morning I just felt tired by the time the race actually started. In all it has to be days on end of listening.
Give us step-by-step instructions for how to sprout alfalfa using cycling kit.
Take an old (cleaned out jam jar), add two teaspoons of alfalfa seeds and water. Cut an old mesh undershirt (one that has been crashed in works well) to fit over the open mouth of the jar. Use a rubber band to hold the undershirt in place. Let the seeds sit in water for 8 hours then drains and leave upside down. Every 12 hours fill the jar to wet the seeds, then return to an upside down resting place to drain. Repeat till the seeds sprout then eat!
Click for more.
Name the top-three Mexican dishes you miss most living in France.
Fajitas, fish tacos, mole.
The place you call home is usually the place where your heaviest belonging is. Would that make France home, since that’s where your big coffee machine is?
That’s true, my first and probably still most-expensive single purchase (I drive cheap cars) I have made was a Rocket Espresso machine I bought as a neo-pro. Nice is my home, and I do think that’s in large part due to having my coffee machine there.
Did you ever find a pair of sushi socks? Can we see a picture of them?
I got a few sets of sushi socks last year in Japan from some very kind fans!
Tell us about your guilty pleasures. Food? Music? TV Show?
I love music and cooking. I don’t watch much TV, in fact I don’t have cable in Nice. Nutrition has become such a key part of performance and with my passion for cooking, I’d say I spend a good 2-3 hours a day in the kitchen. I am always trying new recipes and dishes with my girlfriend. We even theme the music playing to the cuisine we’re cooking!
My daily tunes are much more Americana/Folk/Country/Classic rock. Townes Van Zandt, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, Robert Earl Keen. I am no longer allowed to play my music on the bus.
What American thing (idea, concept, music artist, show etc.) have you worked the hardest to explain to a non-American teammate?
There are a few that are hard for the Euros to understand: owning a gun, American football, legalised marijuana in Oregon.
Give us a full rundown of your guitar rig. Guitar, pedals (if any) amp, picks, strings. Everything?
I haven’t progressed much on my guitar. I have a travel electric guitar with a small keg amp; I thought I would travel with it to races but I never have room in my suitcase. I do pick it up at home now and again though. Been working on a few Bob Dylan songs, though I wouldn’t say I am very good.
What was the first song you learned to play on a guitar?
“Free Falling” by Tom Petty.
On a scale from 1-10, how important is it to pack your kit in Ziploc bags for a grand tour?
On stage 1 it’s a 2/10, but by stage 10 it’s 10/10. It helps me stay organised and keeps my suitcase in order. The last thing I want to do after a hard stage is unpack my whole suitcase to find a pair of socks.
By the time you left the USA Cycling house in Belgium, did they have something bigger than a 15” TV in the living room?
Nope. I spent a lot of time on the couch watching that TV and falling asleep to bike races being televised in Flemish.
How did you manage to avoid chickenpox as a kid?
I had chickenpox as a kid. My brother Austin and I had it at the same time. I got shingles this spring, which is the same virus, it can come back later in life. I hope I don’t have it again.
Did you really explain how Strava works to Eddy Merckx? Was he all like, “What is the king of mountain?”
I did. In 2012 I was at his house before the U23 LBL. He was helping me plot my tactics, so I opened up Strava to get a better picture of what climbs we raced and the length of the climbs. I’m sure he thought it was a bit to technical, however the sport and the process by which we recon races has evolved.
What does a conversation between you and Tao Geoghegan Hart about freckles sound like?
We talk about sunburn, sensitive skin, and missing patches of freckles from crashes.
When you sign in at a race, do you sign your real signature? Or do you just draw a smiley face or a straight line? Or do you only pretend to sign, without even putting pen to paper?
I sign with my real signature and follow it up with a smiley face. Why..? Not sure, guess I’m just happy to be racing and living my childhood dream.
Fleetwood Mac’s original version of “Landslide” versus the Dixie Chicks version; explain your answer.
That’s hard. Depends on the mood I’m in. If I need a little twang I’ll listen to the Dixie Chicks, if I am feeling more original I’ll listen to Fleetwood Mac.
Your nickname is The Boz (not to be confused with the singer Morrissey, who is “Moz”). Do you have any other nicknames? Did you ever give yourself one as a kid, hoping it would stick, but it didn’t?
The Boz was just a name given to me and its stuck. I think it’s simple and easy, though some of the Euro carers write it “ BOSS”, which I wouldn’t want to be my nickname. I am not the Boss.
Rank that _oss(z)! Please arrange these _oss(z)s in order of best to worst.
1. The Boz (Brian Bosworth, Seattle Seahawks linebacker)
2. T-Boz (Tionne Watkins, from the R&B group TLC)
3. The Boss (rollercoaster at Six Flags St Louis)
4. The Boss (2016 comedy staring Melissa McCarthy)
5. Ross The Boss (Ross Friedman, founding member of the heavy metal band Manowar)