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Nik Wallenda begins Sarasota practice sessions

Nik Wallenda preps - Benderson Park 10/6/14
Posted at 3:00 PM, Oct 08, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-08 15:00:00-04

SARASOTA, Fla. -- After testing the practice wires out Tuesday, Nik Wallenda kicks off his public training sessions at Nathan Benderson Park Wednsday evening.

Wallenda is taking on new challenges this time around, as he attempts his skywalk over downtown Chicago on November 2nd. And with the addition of both an incline and a blindfold, preparation is harder than ever before.

Over the next couple of weeks, Nik will be hosting wildly popular public training sessions at Nathan Benderson Park.

Dubbed the ‘King of the High Wire’, Nik Wallenda has wowed viewers tuning in from all over the world as he's walked across some of the most iconic locations.

Back in 2012, he braced the elements of Niagara Falls on national TV, wearing a tether only because the network insisted on it. In 2013, he returned to his hometown for a wire walk along Sarasota's bayfront, without a tether.

Later that year, Wallenda had audiences on the edge of their seats as he walked across the expansive Little Colorodo River Gorge, an offshoot of the Grand Canyon.

Now, once again the daredevil is pushing the limits. "My motto is ‘never give up.’ And if I want to preach never give up, then I better continue to push myself. I can't expect people to push themselves if I can't push myself," says Wallenda.

He is prepping to face potentially frigid November temperatures and the whipping winds of the Windy City as he walks more than 500 feet from one skyscraper to the next, 50 stories above downtown Chicago. And as if those factors aren't challenging enough, he's added two more.

"The difference between this one is, I'm walking at an incline of 15 degrees. Never, in my career have I ever done that; so it's very unique to me. And then I'm walking blindfolded. I'm taking away the most important sense that a wire walker can have is their vision."

Wallenda will train for the next three weeks at Nathan Benderson Park with special wires designed to resist freezing, cold weather gear, a blindfold for the second part of the walk, while airboats replicate strong winds.

His practices are open to the public free of charge, and run until October 27th.

Benderson Park is located on N. Cattlemen Road just south of University Parkway.

His daily practice schedule is:

  • Monday: 6pm
  • Tuesday: Off
  • Wednesday: 6pm
  • Thursday: 6pm
  • Friday: 11am & 6pm
  • Saturday: 11am & 6pm
  • Sunday: 3pm