It could be said most athletes will do whatever it takes to retain their position at the peak of their sport.
Snowboard cross rider Kyle Wise, however, went the extra mile, or miles, prior to winning his second consecutive Scottish Championship title at the two-day event in Glenshee last weekend.
The 26-year-old former Heriot-Watt University student, now working for Scott Hobbs Planning firm in the west end of the city, couldn’t have foreseen the journey that lay ahead when he left the office last Friday evening to board the train to Perth.
Travelling to the ski resort the night before in preparation for the event, Wise arrived in Perth, where he was due to get picked up by car, only to discover he had left his snowboards on the train that was now en route to Inverness.
Despite securing the coveted first place on Sunday afternoon, Wise was only too glad to see the back of the event after a turbulent 48 hours.
“I had to run from work to grab the train to Perth in the first place so I was already in a rush,” he explained. “The train was really busy so I had to put my boards at a different place from where I was sitting. I remember saying to myself halfway through the journey ‘I must remember my boards’. Then when I got off in Perth it suddenly dawned on me I’d left them on the train.
“The train I had been on was continuing to Inverness so I had to hop on the next one. All this time I was wondering how I was going to get back down to Perth the next morning to compete given it was getting in late at night. I know a lot people in Aberdeen so once I got my boards back in Inverness, I took a chance and got on another train to Aberdeen.
“One of my friends set me up with a couch for the night but I didn’t get settled in until the early hours of the morning. I really couldn’t believe what was happening and I still had to get down to Perth the following morning to meet up with the group before heading for Glenshee.
“I got a couple of hours sleep and then managed to get a lift down to Perth before meeting up with everybody but I really wasn’t in the best frame to compete when I got to the resort. It had been a manic 12 hours to say the least.”
Despite a spirited performance that saw him qualify in first place for Sunday’s finals, Wise admits the effects from the night before were beginning to catch up on him. Snowboard cross involves a high-speed race down a circuit that requires the rider to navigate their way over a series of jumps and cambered turns – a winter sport that requires the athlete’s full attention.
“My body was really struggling and I just felt absolutely drained from all the worry and travelling about,” Wise continued. “I didn’t even catch a good sleep on the Saturday night either but I suppose I came out of it all okay. I think a lot of it was down to sheer determination because I really wanted to go there and retain my title. Last year’s win was definitely a bit more straightforward!
“The course was very good so I was really impressed and the conditions were as good as some of the big European ones that I’ve competed on. However, the whole experience was something I don’t really want to have to go through again!”