A dozen questions for Rathe & Boz
Jacob Rathe and Ian Boswell — Oregon’s dynamic duo of 20-year-old international cycling espoirs — are in Augusta, Georgia, this weekend competing at the USA Cycling Road National Championships. The time trial took place Thursday, the criterium is today and the road race follows on Saturday.
Rathe, of Portland, traces his racing history back to the Beaverton Bicycle Club. From there he moved to the CMG Racing program of Butch Martin, then the Jelly Belly Pro Team and currently the Chipotle Development Team of Garmin-Cervelo. Boswell, of Bend, started out with Sunnyside Sports before moving on to Hagens Berman, CMG Racing, Hot Tubes, the Bissell Pro Team and now the Trek-Livestrong U23 Team of RadioShack. Along the way, the two riders have piled up international results with the USA Cycling Development Program’s Junior and U23 national teams. VeloNews Magazine named Boswell its 2010 Breakout Rider of the Year after he finished third overall last year at the Tour of Utah behind Levi Leipheimer and Francisco Mancebo.
Both Oregon espoirs are coming off big successes so far this season as well. Rathe won a stage of the Rutas de America earlier this spring and most recently finished third in the prestigious Paris-Roubaix U23 race. Boswell started his season on the roads of Europe with the U23 national team and just last week repeated his 2010 win at the 51st Nevada City Classic, making him the only rider to win the race back-to-back since Greg Lemond accomplished the feat 30 years ago.
Oregon Cycling Action sent Boswell and Rathe a dozen questions as they prepped for the big weekend in Augusta. The Q & A is published below:
- Where are you at? Where are you headed?
Rathe: Augusta, Georgia, for the week, then home for awhile.
Boswell: I raced the Nevada City Classic this past Sunday and now I’m on a plane heading to Augusta, Georgia, for the U23 National Championships.
- How many days a year do you figure you get to spend at home?
Rathe: Eight weeks at home so far in 2011.
Boswell: Home in Bend is a special place for me, so I try and stay at home as much as possible. Since January 1 of this year I have only been in Bend for about 30 days, however. I am hoping to have some time at home during the warm summer months.
- What’s the toughest part about the international neo pro cyclist lifestyle?
Rathe: The racing is easy. Travel, jet lag and sitting in a hotel too long are the hard parts.
Boswell: The travel and living out of a suitcase has been the hardest part for me. Yes, we get the opportunity to travel the world and see some amazing places, but after a while an eight-hour car drive across Europe is just another car drive.
- Passing the down time during stage races, what’s going on?
Rathe: Eating, sleeping and reading. Anything but stare at a computer.
Boswell: Down time kills me. I live an active life and like to always be doing something adventurous even when training hard or racing. So when I am expected to sit in a small Euro hotel and watch Lady Gaga on TV for hours on end I go crazy. I try and sneak out as much as I can and walk around to refresh my head and see the world off the bike.
- Most important part of your pre-race prep?
Rathe: Winning the race in my head.
Boswell: Being relaxed for me is the best way to prep for a race. Often races in Europe have a much higher stress level around them so I do my best to relax and enjoy the moment.
- What do you like to do when you get home and get a break from the bike?
Rathe: Mountain biking, backpacking, skiing.
Boswell: I love the wilderness. Europe is such a congested place, so when I get home I love going out and getting lost in all the beauty that Oregon has to offer. I spend a good bit of time fishing and camping in the summer months, and my other season begins in the fall — bird hunting season!
- Favorite local ride when you’re home?
Rathe: Bull Run.
Boswell: McKenzie Pass is my favorite ride in Central Oregon, I have yet to ride it this year because of snow, but I hope it opens up when I get home from nationals.
- Hardest you’ve ever pushed yourself in a bike race; where, when, why?
Rathe: Paris-Roubaix most recently; there’s no easy way over the cobbles.
Boswell: I often have to push myself the hardest when I have the worst results. When you feel good things just go well. Last year on the final stage of Tour of Utah I trashed myself pretty good to stay in the best young rider’s jersey.
- Any crazy European cycling superstitions or practices you’ve observed over there?
Rathe: Way too many. No air conditioning or rolling the windows down in the car. Eating before massages. Nothing too crazy, I’m still skeptical. Just don’t question them.
Boswell: The Europeans have an entire novel of superstitions that have been passed on from generation to generation, and I buy none of them. Maybe it’s the American in me, but I prefer having basic comforts like; A/C, shaving the day of a race, eating french toast (they say eggs and toast are fine but not eggs cooked in the bread, it’s “undigestible”), walking around town and driving with the windows down. I think that superstitions only affect you if you buy into them.
- What’s the big race that you’ve always dreamed of winning?
Rathe: Roubaix, Flanders or Worlds.
Boswell: There are bigger races out there, but Nevada City is the one race I’d love to win every year.
- Do you guys think you’ll ever be on the same team again?
Rathe: I hope so!
Boswell: I hope so. The funny thing is Jake and I live so close, but we never see or race against each other. Jake is having an awesome year and is bound for great things, and I am really happy to see him getting the results that he is worthy of. Down the road it’s hard to say if we will race on the same team, but I would love to race with Jake again and help him win some big races.
- Five-time Tour de France winner Bernard “The Badger” Hinault had three rules of bike racing: “Never panic, believe in yourself and don’t be upset by the moment.” Crazy or badass?
Rathe: Well said!
Boswell: 100% badass. I just read a book about Hinault and he truly is a hard man of the sport. I had the chance to meet him last season at the Tour d L’Avenir and you can feel the fight in his handshake.
Thanks guys. Best of luck this weekend. –editor