Kayden Ford Jalbert has taken a liking to going fast.
The 11-year-old Nesika elementary student is in his first year of competitive racing with the Williams Lake Bullets Speed Skating Association and has already seen success, and drastic improvement in his racing.
At a meet earlier this month in Kamloops, Kayden — at his very first competitive event — sped to four first-place finishes and a second-place result in his division.
He said he joined the Bullets in 2015 for fun at the suggestion of some of his friends already on the team.
“Two of my friends were doing it, and one (Henry Beaton-Flemming) wanted me to try it,” Kayden said. “Once I tried I was hooked on it and just started doing it more and more. It’s a lot different than hockey [the skating]. Your skates, blades, boots and suits are all different.”
Since deciding to attend competitions this season, Kayden has taken a more serious approach the sport and is focusing on improving his racing times.
“In Kamloops, it was my very first race and I didn’t know how fast the people would be I would be racing,” he said. “I was quite nervous, but after I did my second race I was fine. I felt really good because I thought they were all going to be faster than me, but when I beat them in that first race I was pretty confident.”
This past weekend, Kayden travelled with his Bullets teammates to Prince George for another competition where he raced against speed skaters from Kamloops, Vanderhoof, Prince George, Fort St. James and Quesnel.
While he didn’t glide away with any gold medals, he managed to shave six seconds off his fastest 400-metre time in his first race, then another two seconds in his second race.
Asked what he enjoys about speed skating, Kayden said: “It’s a just lot of fun.”
He’ll now continue to train with the Bullets until the club’s next meet in January, where they will attend an outdoor longtrack meet in Prince George, and the Coyote Cup in Kamloops — one of the biggest meets of the year — also in January.
As for what Kayden hopes to accomplish in the rest of his season, he hopes to keep on improving.
“That’s my only goal — to beat my personal best and get faster than my teammates,” he joked.
“Then at the end of the year we get skill tested, so hoping to improve my times for that.”