Life In The Fast Lane – Part 1
We caught up with Kyle Wise to see what he’s been up to and what he’s got planned for winter 2016/2017. Being a semi-professional snowboarder alongside a full time job is no ride in the park… Here is the first part of his catch up series, part 1 of this 2 part blog.
Life has been busy juggling a full time job alongside being a semi-professional snowboarder! After ending last winter on a high in April, I’m currently at pre-season training in Austria, with competitions starting this week, time flies! Here is an update of how the end of my winter season went up till now!
After spending most of February in the UK, March was successful retaining my Scottish SBX championships title in Glenshee, on what was an eventful weekend for me! The competition was straightforward in comparison to my epic fail of a journey to the race. After leaving my snowboards on my train from Edinburgh to Perth, I had to chase them to Inverness, spending the night in Aberdeen and getting a lift to Glenshee in the morning. Thankfully despite suffering from lack of sleep and bad preparation, I pulled through, qualifying first and winning all my heats! You can read more about my eventful weekend and the great event here.
I returned to Europe later in March, competing in the Europa Cups in Puy St Vincent (France) and Lenk (Switzerland). The two Europa Cups in Puy St Vincent were tough, a high standard competition and a tricky track. I finished 46th and 56th. Lenk was much better, it’s one of my favourite tracks, technical, big features and fast. I came 41st and 24th, the 24th being my second best result at Europa Cup level, my heat was a great race too, racing alongside my friend Max, with all 4 of us being neck and neck for most of the race.
Similar to the start of the season, a lot of FIS competitions got rejigged at the end of the season ruining my plans yet again. Originally I wanted to attend 3 events over the space of two weeks; the Europa Cups Finals in Badgastein (Austria), followed by the British Champs in Laax (Switzerland) and ending with the Italian National Championships. Two of the events changed dates, the Europa Cup Finals and the Italian champs, both clashing with The Brits.
In boardercross FIS points are key to your ranking and what competitions you can enter, the average of your top two best results within a year determines your ranking. After missing many competitions from dates being rejigged, I’d lost a lot of opportunities to gain FIS points and my ranking was dropping. The Italian champs was my best chance to regain points, offering lots of points with a relatively low standard of competition, whereas the Europa Cups are hard to get top points and the Brits is a non FIS affiliated event with no FIS points. So despite wanting to go to the Brits, I had to be smart and take the tough decision to go to Cervinia for the Italian nationals.
It ended up being a good decision as I placed well in the race, finishing 17th gaining 50.4 FIS points, bringing up my average and making me the top ranked British SBX male athlete again. I also got to spend a week or so having fun riding spring conditions in Morzine (France) and going to a banked slalom event in Leysin (Switzerland) with my friend Martin from TORR Snowboarding. I made a fun photo montage of my trip via London below.
I was back to work in April, which is what most of my summer consisted of. I’m a Town Planning Consultant for a small private consultancy, Scott Hobbs Planning, they’ve given me the opportunity to work in a progressive role which gives me time off during the winter. In return I work it back the rest of the year, thankfully I enjoy my work and it’s a great situation to be in, and a year after starting the role I’m glad I have found a way of pursuing boardercross alongside progressing my long term career. It’s the dream!
During the summer I bought a road bike off my good friend, Fraser and have been exploring Edinburgh and keeping fit. It’s now one of my favorite things to do! Looking back on your route on Strava and tracking your progress is addictive! You can follow me on Strava here.
Alongside this I’ve been bouldering every week with friends, which complements my gym routine. I also took a few trips away on weekends, for friends, parties and to see family. A highlight being Copenhagen, an amazing European city!
The English Championships was the big SBX event of my summer in June in Manchester. I was looking to retain my title for the fourth time, having won it every year since the event started. It’s been a great yearly routine, staying with my friend and former boardercross star Myles, and seeing everyone during the summer period. It’s always good to see how everyone’s progressing and keeps pushing me to improve further.
The track was great again, high speed and technical, with more opportunities to overtake than usual. Again gate choice was vital as it was still tough to overtake with two racers down a narrow track, so qualifying 1st would give you a huge advantage for winning the race. Thankfully I managed to qualify 1st, above my top competitors; Bradley Gaulter and Paul Moralee, who were on top form after there first full-time seasons on the FIS circuit, both looking rapid.
I won my first two heats with relative ease and raced Paul in the semi-finals who had thought hard and won every race to this point, despite having no gate choice from a poor qualification time. I managed to get out in front and stayed ahead, putting myself into a final with Bradley. Bradley was looking rapid in the starts so I had to get a good start, to get out first, get the inside line and stay ahead, I managed to pull it off and won my 4th consecutive English title. One of the hardest yet, so I was happy to win again.
For the first time Cross Snowsports Centre (CSTC) hosted their inaugural fundraiser for BLESMA, the Limbless Veterans Charity and DSUK, in the evening after the races. It was great to celebrate a great day and all of the adaptive snowboard teams achievements so far and raise some money for them! I personally got myself a couple of tickets in the auction to try out indoor skydiving which I’m looking forward to! I look forward to this fundraiser next year and it really makes the journey even more worth it! 🙂
Part 2 landing soon, stay tuned!