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X Games Sit Down With Ben Wallace

Jul 052018

Monster Energy sat down with Ben Wallace to discuss the upcoming 2018 X Games in Minneapolis, Minnesota and get a feel for what it takes to compete on the biggest stage.

Q&A

Where are you living?

I am currently living in England but going back and forth from America, at the moment I don't have a house. I live with my in-laws. I’ve been back in England because I get to see the family, but right now we're just going through Green Card paperwork. So, we have to be in England for my wife and daughter to do the Green Card stuff, so as soon as my Green Card is done we'll be back in America. Fingers crossed the sooner the better, I really don't know though, they don't give you a date to do it, they just give you what’s available. 

So, your wife and daughter can't come to X Games to cheer because of the Green Card drama? Are you going to bring anyone with you or what’s it going to be like without them? I know they're your biggest fans. 

Yea, I'm real bummed my wife and daughter can't come to the X Games. Actually, really bummed because of the Green Card paper work they're not allowed in the country until its done. Yes, I’m probably going to be there on my own, I would want someone to come with me but I just don't know who. 

How's going back and forth like affecting your training and riding? Have you been able to ride what you want in England? Or have you been visiting out here by yourself so you can ride in America?

So, traveling away all the time is difficult, it’s hard on your body, it’s hard on your relationship sometimes and it is hard on the training aspect of things because you want to be in one place to train. Therefore, you can learn a few new things and dust off a few old things. And when you go from country to another, you don't really get any down time to relax. It’s good because you're always in that contest environment but at the same time you just want to ride with no pressure. And this year I will be away so much. I’ve probably only been home for a month and we're in the 6th month already. It’s hard, I miss my family so much and especially having a baby girl now, I’m missing everything she’s doing. I want to grow up with her and I want her to grow up with me around. It’s not a bad thing me going away, it’s kind of what I do and I know it’s going to be that way. Luckily, she always comes with us when she can. It’s just one thing that's stopping her right now, the Green Card so she can’t come with us, but once that's done she'll be traveling with us.

So, Tallulah is usually the number one thing you pack for contests, without her do you have anything else special you bring with you? Do you have any good luck charms? What's the number one thing you can't travel without?

I don't know there's not a lot of stuff, I don’t travel with that much. I don't normally bring something to travel with.

Do you have a ritual? Extra tubes? Anything?

I probably bring way too many clothes but I think that's normal. I don't know maybe that's not normal. We ride so much, I shower twice a day, so, three pairs of socks a day, 2-3 pairs of boxers. I take a lot of clothes and I always have to have two bags. I don't know there's not something I specifically have, a little memorable thing, just my phone with family stuff, photos, videos. Can’t go without your phone, and one more important thing is my passport, I always travel with that. 

So, you were in Minneapolis last year, what did you ride in Minneapolis last year?

I rode dirt in Minneapolis last year and fingers crossed this year I might be able to ride park and dirt. I’m going back for dirt again so I’m looking forward going there but I’d love to be able to do both.

Have you been to an X Games where you rode more than one event?

No, I’ve never been to an X Games and rode more than one. It’s either been one or the other, dirt or park. Never two at once and I suppose it’s not less stress there's always stress when competing, but if I had to do two it’s certainly more difficult. It’s a lot more riding but hey that's what we do and we’re used to it, and it’s not going to stop me from doing what I’m doing over there.

How's this event different from other events during the year? Does it feel more stressful?

I certainly think so; X Games is definitely more pressure because in our industry X Games is the biggest contest of the year. It’s the extreme games. For a lot of us just being invited and being a part of it, it means that you're well known in the industry. BMX is pretty small compared to the amount of people who live in the world. We're in a small little sport and being noticed as one of the top riders and being invited to one of the biggest contest is pretty awesome and sometimes I doubt myself where I’m good enough. When people notice you and they're like oh you got into X Games, you got invited because majority of the people are voting for you and you say “oh wow, I’m doing something right.” 

Who's the first person you called when you got invited to X Games?

The first person? I told my wife. I took a screenshot of the email and said “Yay! I’m going. But I’m really down cause you're not coming.” I was really excited and really sad at the same time. I really want the both of them [wife and daughter] to be with me but they can't. 

Have you won any X Medals in the past?

Yeah, I got two Silvers, but it would be nice to get that Gold. It'll be difficult and tough these days but I’m certainly going to push myself and keep doing what I do and hopefully one day get that Gold medal in my trophy cabinet. 

Do you do anything different to mentally prepare for the X-Games?

Yea, I mean because I’m from England and going to the X Games before even coming to America to ride the contest, all the ramps are so much bigger and you don't get the huge dirt jumps that you would get riding day-to-day back in England. And I haven't lived anywhere where I could have that to be honest. Moving straight to America it kind of benefited me the first year. I moved in 2014 and in 6 months X Games happened and my first medal was a Silver in that year. It helped me when I moved to America to ride dirt every day. It helped me feel more confident riding big jumps and made me feel like a better rider. It was a big thing for us to do, to move to America, because of the family. Leaving everyone behind in a way. Going to America and doing something like get a second place at X Games is kind of why I moved. So, I proved to myself it was a good choice. 

Was 2014 your first X-Games?

No, that wasn't my first X Games but my first medal. My first X Games was 2012, in LA where I rode park and I’m pretty sure it was the same year, but I could've been in 2013 where I rode dirt in Brazil. Don't hold me on the date but I think it’s 2013, I could be wrong.

Do you have any big inspirations for X Games? Anybody you’re stoked to watch? Being an X Games veteran, do you think you’re that person for any one?

I don't know but when people tell me “I'm stoked to be riding with you” I think I’m stoked to ride with you too –to be part of some of those riders, to be that guy people chosen to ride X Games. Like they say it’s our biggest name in our sport, whoever gets to go there. I don't know it’s hard, I mean it’s hard to be a part of X-Games and to ride with everyone who gets invited, it’s a big achievement

Growing up did you think you were going to make it?

I had a big dream when I was a kid, "I want to do that” because I saw Dave Mirra riding X Games." I wanted that to happen one day. I wanted that to be me one day. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, everybody would be doing it. I didn't think to myself now oh look where I am I ride for these companies, I get paid to do what I love, I get to travel the world and ride amazing skate parks, contests, go to different locations all over the place. And to be known as that rider now is pretty epic. I never would've thought I would be that person that is featured in videos, contests, and X Games.

Do you have anything after X Games to look forward to or is your focus on Boise then Minneapolis?

Yeah, I mean this year is a lot different. The Olympics is a part of BMX now and all the FISE contest and the UCI events. I’m looking forward to all those. And if I’m honest, most people look at me, and I’m a dirt rider. I grew up riding everything, I’ve ridden park a lot and I’m excited doing all of the contests, all different ones. I like the small ones, I like the big ones, and I like both it puts pressure on you. Some are bigger than others, some are just for fun but I don't know when some people ride for fun that’s fine, that's great, that's cool, we got everyone out there doing their different things –contests, riding for fun, going to the skate park just for a day and people training. We ride the same bikes. We do the same thing and for people to start hating each other like come on dude you're riding the same bike. You're doing the same stuff. I don't want to hate on anyone but I find it silly how some people can be like oh you ride all these contests you're a bit of a nerd. Like you’re not doing it. You don't have to hate. It’s me who's doing it. Why you got to stress about it? You're the one who's stressing not me. So, for me like I like doing the contest. I like that feel, I like that vibe, I like the excitement of it all. And it just brings joy to me I get to hang out with new people as well. I get to meet new people at new contest so, that's where all my friends are today. I got a few friends at school, but most of my friends are through riding bikes.

Are you excited to watch other events at X Games other than BMX

Yeah, I’m definitely looking forward to watching Big Air again. Last year, it went off and it was crazy. It was unreal –like it was a computer game. One person dropped in and did the crazy stuff and someone else dropped in and did something even different. It was insane and the moto quarter pipe also has me excited. Looking forward to watching that as well it’s pretty epic.

Where do your medals go?

It’s such a bad thing to say where they are right now, they’re actually in storage because I am homeless right now. They’re out in a storage unit in California. I want to put them in a trophy cabinet. I want to take them back and forth, but traveling with all that stuff, you're kind of limited on weight. They're not where I want them right now. If I get one in Minneapolis it'll probably stay with me until I go back to America. It won't be in storage.

If you win in Minneapolis who's the first person you would call?

Oh, my wife, first person I’d call is my wife. She'd probably be watching on TV and screaming for me regardless of the time. I think it’s a 6 hours difference.

Will your daughter recognize you on TV?

She might. I’m pretty sure she does. She watches videos and kind of sees BMX and is like "dada". It’s not always me I think she cheers for everyone and thinks it’s me haha.

Anyone you want to thank for getting you to X-Games?

I just want to thank everyone who voted for me really. I do what I want on my bike and people notice that. Everyone is different with what they do on their bike. Everyone has their individual style. We're all different out there, how your feet are, if you have pegs, if you do what tricks you do. So, everyone who voted for me thanks. And for all those sponsors who send me around the world to compete in contests like this. I appreciate all of you and thanks for everything you do for me. 

For a full breakdown of 2018 X Games Minneapolis CLICK HERE!

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