interview by Zack Hall | photo by Graham Watson
Sport: Cycling, Team Sky
2015 Results: 3rd, Stage 11, Vuelta a España; 7th overall, Tour of California; 10th overall, Tour de Langkawi.
When did you know you wanted to be a professional cyclist?
Probably when I was about 12, when I did a kids’ race in the Cascade Cycling Classic. I won that. Just watching the professionals race after that kind of inspired me to start racing.
How did you develop into a climber? Did growing up in Bend help?
My body type lends itself to being a climber: being taller and thin. And living in Bend inspired me to be a climber—riding up to Mount Bachelor or going up McKenzie Pass. Living in the mountains just got me motivated to climb the hills, and I enjoyed it. Plus, you get to go downhill afterwards.
You are mainly based in Nice, France, now. What is the biggest difference between riding in Europe and in the U.S.?
In the west, everything is steady, all the roads have been graded, and they’re all relatively new roads. Bigger roads. Wider roads. In Europe, you have small pass roads that were hiking trails at one point. They’re narrow and steep and have undulating terrain.
You broke out in 2015. How were you able to make the leap forward?
It was my third year on Team Sky … The first year living in Europe, with the amount of energy and focus I spent just trying to get my life set up over there, really deterred from my racing and training. e second year, I was figuring out the races. And last year, I was putting all the work toward performance, rather than just getting my life set up.
You have had the chance recently to train with Team Sky teammate and two-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome, among others. How has that helped your development?
I’ve really been spending a lot more time with the hierarchy of the team and getting more ingrained in their training and their work ethic. It’s been eye-opening. I made a big step up last year. But to see someone like Chris train, there’s still a lot of room for improvement and a lot of dedication and sacrifice that can still be made.
You have made strides in your diet. But tell me about the “Boswell Challenge”?[Laughs] The Boswell Challenge—trying to eat a 3.5-pound burrito in under five minutes (at a Bend restaurant)—is not really on the diet plan anymore. But one thing I miss from Bend is the food there, especially the Mexican food. That’s the hardest thing to find over here. I miss my burritos.
*A winner has been selected for this category* Congratulations to Ashley J. in Bend!