ESPN has been hyping the so-called "Pastranathon," which centers around action sports superhero Travis Pastrana and his attempt to compete in three X Games competitions in Los Angeles and, between competitions, make his debut Saturday across the country on NASCAR's Nationwide Series.
But will the Pastranathon really materialize?
His itinerary has him competing in the X Games' Moto Best-Trick competition Thursday night; the Moto X Freestyle on Friday night; catching a redeye flight to Indianapolis for his NASCAR race; and flying back to L.A. late Saturday so he can compete in the X Games' RallyCross final on Sunday.
There are two major obstacles. The first is a trick he calls the 720 Toilet Paper Roll, which he hopes to finally land Thursday. It's sort of a back-flipping sideways rotation and does not seem possible in principle. It has been "four years of hell" in the making.
Pastrana tried it at the 2009 X Games and it unraveled in mid-flight. He landed hard on his backside and his injuries required surgery. He did not try the trick at last year's X Games.
"This year I've got it dialed as close as I think I'm ever going to get this trick," he told me in a phone interview Wednesday morning.
The second obstacle is a dislocated middle knuckle on his left hand. Travis said the "stupid injury" might prevent him from competing in Friday night's grueling Moto X Freestyle competition, which requires a lot of squeezing and releasing of hand breaks. He's scheduled to have surgery to repair the injury on Tuesday.
Pastrana added that he should be in good enough shape to grip the steering wheel of his race car if he survives the TP Roll. If he does that, he'll rename the trick the Circus Roll, in honor of his Nitro Circus tour mates, and put the trick to rest.
When asked if it were good that the difficult best-trick event was first, so he can get it out of the way, he joked: "Or it would have been good for them to put it last because, in case I get hurt, I can still do the rest of the week."
-- Pete Thomas
Photo courtesy of Christia Pondella / Red Bull