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Ian Boswell's Unbound 200 bike: Business in the front, wide-range party in the back

Close up of the retro modern Specialized Diverge used by Ian Boswell at Unbound Gravel 200 2022
(Image credit: Elias Marsh)

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.

Close up of the retro modern Specialized Diverge used by Ian Boswell at Unbound Gravel 200 2022

Despite the women's winner, Sofia Gomez Villafane riding the Crux, Boswell will ride a Specialized Diverge like last year (Image credit: Elias Marsh)

Close up of the retro modern Specialized Diverge used by Ian Boswell at Unbound Gravel 200 2022

Unlike those drop-bar Stumpjumpers, Boswell’s Diverge has 20mm of suspension, opened and closed by this dial, which has been adorned with a 'Ride Like Mo' tribute (Image credit: Elias Marsh)

Close up of the retro modern Specialized Diverge used by Ian Boswell at Unbound Gravel 200 2022

The originals also didn't have access to wireless gears... (Image credit: Elias Marsh)

Close up of the retro modern Specialized Diverge used by Ian Boswell at Unbound Gravel 200 2022

...or a power meter, or an aero chainring... (Image credit: Elias Marsh)

Close up of the retro modern Specialized Diverge used by Ian Boswell at Unbound Gravel 200 2022

...or disc brakes. A lot has changed since 1984 (Image credit: Elias Marsh)

Close up of the retro modern Specialized Diverge used by Ian Boswell at Unbound Gravel 200 2022

Coincidentally, it was 1984 that Look came to market with clipless pedals. They weren't the first to do so, but they were the first to gain widespread adoption (Image credit: Elias Marsh)

Close up of the retro modern Specialized Diverge used by Ian Boswell at Unbound Gravel 200 2022

The MoosePacks top tube bag nearly matches the frame (Image credit: Elias Marsh)

Close up of the retro modern Specialized Diverge used by Ian Boswell at Unbound Gravel 200 2022

Beneath the bottle cage on the down tube is a door to some hidden on-bike storage, while a dynaplug racer is neatly fitted to the downtube bottle cage (Image credit: Elias Marsh)

Close up of the retro modern Specialized Diverge used by Ian Boswell at Unbound Gravel 200 2022

Boswell said he might put some tubes in his SWAT box (Image credit: Elias Marsh)

Close up of the retro modern Specialized Diverge used by Ian Boswell at Unbound Gravel 200 2022

Last year, reckons he carried five tubes and a hand pump. This year he’s going bare bones. He has a spare tube, some C02, and a very basic tool kit from Specialized (Image credit: Elias Marsh)

Close up of the retro modern Specialized Diverge used by Ian Boswell at Unbound Gravel 200 2022

They're fitted to this saddle, which is a new edition for 2022. The 3D-printed S-Works Romin Mirror saddle  (Image credit: Elias Marsh)

Close up of the retro modern Specialized Diverge used by Ian Boswell at Unbound Gravel 200 2022

This isn't just a badly-fitting bar end plug. Fitted to the other side is a tubeless tyre repair tool (Image credit: Elias Marsh)

Close up of the retro modern Specialized Diverge used by Ian Boswell at Unbound Gravel 200 2022

The debate surrounding aero bars in gravel racing is related to the use of time trial extensions, but this pair of Roval Rapide handlebars are a different definition of the term 'aero bar'.   Last year, Boswell had a bar that made additional positions possible but this year he’s keeping it classic (Image credit: Elias Marsh)

Close up of the retro modern Specialized Diverge used by Ian Boswell at Unbound Gravel 200 2022

Boswell’s mechanic added extra padding for his wrists on the tops of the bars just behind the hoods (Image credit: Elias Marsh)

Close up of the retro modern Specialized Diverge used by Ian Boswell at Unbound Gravel 200 2022

Boswell's jersey and helmet are both hand-dyed. Though given the conditions on Saturday, they're probably now mud-dyed (Image credit: Elias Marsh)

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

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.

With contributions from