Ian Boswell's Unbound 200 bike: Business in the front, wide-range party in the back
Complete with retro paint job, 3D-printed saddle, aero chainring and an MTB derailleur
Ian Boswell came into Unbound Gravel as the defending champion from 2021. His win came after he and fellow Specialized athlete Laurens ten Dam rode Pete Stetina, Ted King, and Colin Strickland off their wheel. Boswell and Ten Dam traded pulled right up until the finish where Boswell pushed over the final climb and stayed on the front as they started their sprint down Commercial Street. Boswell isn't known for his sprinting capabilities, but being able to sprint at the end of 200 miles is a slightly different game. He averaged 928 watts for 12 seconds to outsprint the Dutchman, who finished on Boswell’s wheel.
It was during last year's victory that Boswell - alongside Ten Dam, Alison Tetrick and others - unveiled a retro-modern edition of the Specialized Diverge. It was a design that threw back to the Rock Combo - a drop bar mountain bike concept created by Specialized in the '80s that would have fitted in nicely with today's gravel bike crowd.
This year, Boswell was at it again, this time with a hot pink Stumpjumper-inspired retro design. In 1984, when mountain bike racing was in its infancy, Specialized launched Team Stumpjumper. Of course, mountain bike racing was so new, many of the riders came from cyclo-cross and quickly put drop bars on these new ‘mountain’ bikes.
Looking at the specs, there's nothing retro about the bike's component choice. But the most notable additions include a powerful 'Ride Like Mo' sticker on the top of the steerer tube, as well as the pink ribbon fitted during the Sunrise Tribute Spin for Mo, which took place on Friday before the race, in tribute to Moriah Wilson who was killed in a shooting in Austin, Texas, three weeks ago.
On the eve of this year's race, Boswell said he was feeling "like a cooped up horse ready to break free and run." As the race unfolded, however, it was not he but Ten Dam who broke free at the 80 mile mark, a solo lead which lasted 15 miles with Boswell chasing in a group behind. By the three quarter mark, Boswell was in the lead group alongside Alexey Vermeulen, Pete Stetina, Keegan Swenson and eventual winner Ivar Slik. Ten Dam chased alone behind.
Come the finish, Boswell wouldn't enjoy the same sprinting success as before. The four-man sprint was won by Ivar Slik, aboard a Wilier Rave SLR.
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Marshall Opel started out as a young road bike racer in Montana, and found success as a junior racer for both the junior and U23 US National team. He has swapped racing for writing, and has covered gravel rides across the US extensively in the past three years.
- Josh CroxtonTech Editor
By Barry Ryan