Playbook The Wired World of Sports Playbook Q&A with Snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler
Part of what we’re hoping to bring you from these Olympics is a better understanding of the little things that every athlete does to prepare and compete — the tech and training behind the competition you’ll see on TV over the next 17 days.
We got a chance to catch up with U.S. snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler at an event held by her sponsor Oakley last night, and she talked a little about what helps her perform at her best. Bleiler, an Olympic silver medalist in 2006 and a four-time X Games gold medal winner, will compete in the women’s halfpipe event at Cypress Mountain on February 18.
Wired.com: What are some of the key things about your equipment?
Gretchen Bleiler: For me, vision is just about the most important thing. So goggles play a huge role in my sport. I come to the competition with a bunch of different goggles, and tons of different lenses in multiple tints. The weather can always be changing, and you have to have the right thing to make sure you can see perfectly.
Wired.com: How about your board?
Bleiler: Everyone has different things they like in terms of board set up. The grind of the board and how it’s waxed — you want to make sure that the speed of the board is right for the conditions of the halfpipe. And then there’s the edges and the bevel of the edge. Some people like really sharp edges that grab quickly, and some people like a more gradual bite to the edge.
Wired.com: What do you prefer?
Bleiler: I like a 1-degree bevel to the edge, not quite as sharp. I want to feel like I’m riding the board, and not like the board is riding me.
Wired.com: You’re active on Twitter and other social networking sites? What do sites like that offer athletes like you?
Bleiler: I get to experience so much in my life as I travel around, and it’s just such a great way to get to share that with people. All these sites, like Twitter and Make It Pro, give me such a very strong way to interact with people. It’s easy to let people be part of your life, and to keep all of your friends and fans together.