Kyle Wise – on winning the Scottish SSBX Championship
Kyle Wise is a British snowboarder from Norfolk who competes in the Winter Olympic discipline of snowboard cross, or boardercross as many call it. Kyle is the current English and British Indoor Champion and recently added Scottish Champion to his titles. Kyle has represented Great Britain at the 2013 World Snowboard Championships, two World University Games, and on the World Cup circuit. In the second instalment of Kyle’s blogs for Ski Club of Great Britain, Kyle tells us about his latest success at the Scottish SSBX Championship and his pre-race rituals.
My European competition schedule has been jam packed over the last few years so I’ve always missed the Scottish Ski and Snowboard Championships up in Glenshee. So when a gap in competitions and training appeared this year I was excited to finally get the chance to go.
It was a good course for racing, with plenty of opportunities to overtake throughout the course and technical enough for people to make mistakes on. At times it was a bit traverse heavy, which was tough for the younger riders, which could have been improved with more roller/kicker type features, but a good job had been done given the conditions. A good video of the event can be found here.
For me it was a nice change from the European FIS competitions I attend. I loved driving through the beautiful Scottish highlands to get there and Glenshee’s facilities are up there with the best.
The event was a lot of fun and the organisers put on a great show. With decent prizes to be won and real snow in the UK, this is where the event really sets itself apart. This is what a competition should be like, having fun, good racing and having the chance to win some great prizes.
The list of the champions and results are found here on the SSBX website. They’ve already put a date in for next year; 5th/6th of March 2016, so put it down in your diaries. I’ll be doing my best to be back their next year to defend my title.
Now that I have an intense period of competitions ahead of me, I train lots on snow with the British Snowboard Cross Team and in the gym. I’m riding as much terrain as possible and working on techniques for racing with my coach, such as carving and working on absorbing features well. The less time in the air and flapping around the better! Much of the summer months are spent in the gym where I’ll be working on a strength and conditioning program which helps make me more dynamic and strong for boardercross. So lots of jumping, squats and single leg work.
When it comes to the competition itself, the most important thing to do before racing is visualising the racecourse. You inspect the course once, riding through the course slowly, sizing up the obstacles and figuring out the lines you need to take, and at times guessing the best way to tackle each feature.
I look back over every one of my competition performances – it’s the only way to improve! I’ve been doing snowboard cross for a long time now, five years, so I’ve got good at self analysis. If I did something wrong or could do something better I usually know what it is. My coach, Jimbo will also feedback with me and give me his take on things. If he’s filmed the course he can show me what my run was like, which makes it easier to visualize what I can do better. If you’re training with teammates they too can feedback with you and test out new lines or techniques to help everyone figure out the fastest and best way to ride the course.
I often get asked about rivalry and the honest answer is that in our sport you race against different opponents all the time, so it’s hard to have rivals unless you’ve been in the sport a very long time. The closest rival I would say is my British team mate Max Thidling. He’s my friend and I’ve trained and raced with Max a lot over the last couple of years. We’re at a similar level so we push each other a lot and have progressed a lot over the last few years in training and racing. I enjoy racing against him, he wins some, I win some and we always have a good time doing it.
Looking at the future, I’ve created a four-year plan for myself – the end goal is to get to the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. In the short term I hope to achieve a top 20 ranking in Europe this year. In year two I hope to progress to a top 10 ranking in Europe and compete in a couple of World Cups based in Europe. In years three and four I want to be winning Europa cups and regularly competing on the World Cup tour. If I do so I hope to receive government funding/support from UK Sport and qualify for the Winter Olympics. All alongside this I want to retain my national titles and continue to be the UK’s best known snowboard cross rider!
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