Posts Tagged ‘Travis Pastrana’

We’ve reached the end. . . reluctantly. I have some great memories of being at the X Games, and I got to re-live some of it by watching all the replays.  In case you missed any of my recaps, here are the links: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Also, if you want to see more photos, mosey on over to my Flickr.

Best Female Athlete – Alexis Sablone (Skateboard)
Nobody was more on point in the Women’s Skateboard Street contest than Alexis Sablone. She took risks and it paid off with her solid skating.

Best Male Athlete – Daniel Sandoval (BMX)
What a weekend it was for Daniel Sandoval. First he blasted through the Park course to win gold, and then he came in Dirt as an alternate, overcoming nerves to lead the pack for a good portion of the finals.

Newcomer to Watch – Mykel Larrin (BMX)
XG2015 BMX Vert05
Another BMXer who had a great time was Mykel Larrin. After a good performance in Vert, he came into Big Air as an alternate and walked away with silver, and this was his second X Games.

Most Dramatic Finals – tie between RallyCar Racing and Stadium Super Trucks
I couldn’t decide between all the events, but eventually I narrowed it down to one that was fantastic in person (despite the elements) and one that made me excited at home.  There’s the joke that “with age comes the cage”, but both Rally and Stadium Super Trucks have produced more carnage than any race I’ve seen.

Best Trick – Thomas Pages’ Bike Flip (Moto X)
Although this was another tough category, I had to give it Thomas Pages. He shouldn’t be doing that kind of stuff on a dirt bike, and yet he rode away in this debut event.

Picture Perfect Moment – Shaded view of BMX Vert  photo josh20duplechian_zpswjs2risw.jpg
By Joshua Duplechian/ESPN. From xgames.espn.go.com
I thought it would be unfair to select one of my photos so I picked my favorite from another photographer. I’m still a little biased since this was my parasol. Nevertheless, it was quite an impressive shot to get from the middle of a crowd, and he was nice to not disturb me (red hat) and my parents (camo hat and tan hat).

My favorite from my own is the one of Bob Burnquist doing his one-footed switch ollie over the MegaRamp gap. You can see clearly the commitment, as well as the difficulty.

Best Moment Outside Competition – Travis Pastrana rides a mechanical bull XG2015 09
Getting to see Travis Pastrana take on the mechanical bull made standing in the sun totally worth it. He did it twice too since he didn’t want to be shown up by a couple of little kids.

Most Educational Moment – Burt Jenner teaches us about acceptance and pronouns
I was irked by the fact that X Games asked Burt Jenner about Caitlyn in the middle of the Stadium Super Trucks; that was probably the last thing on his mind. However, Burt demonstrated a lot of grace and showed that it’s okay to mess up pronouns as long as you apologize and try your best. I think the X Games commentators could have learned a lot from this instance.

Greatest Comeback – Maria Forsberg (Moto X)
Having a baby is a tough job. That’s not something I would have realized until I saw several of my peers juggle pregnancy and raising a kid with their daily lives. Therefore, I have to give Maria Forsberg props for coming out of retirement and then placing 5th in Women’s Enduro X final.

Most Inspirational – Colton Satterfield lands the double flair and gives a moving speech in BMX Big Air
Watching Colton make history and land the double flair on his final attempt, the last run of the night, was such a magical moment. Then he took it a step further and talked about how last year’s gold made him realize that he had the power to inspire others, and that’s what he came out to do this year. His conversation with Jack Mitrani on X Games Extra was making me tear up because it exemplified what drew me into action sports.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Bob Burnquist (Skateboard) XG2015 Big Air Doubles04
How have I gone so long without giving the winningest X Games athlete this award? I guess it’s because Bob Burnquist is still going strong. He added too Big Air gold medals to his collection while dealing with a broken arm. Nothing has held him down and nothing can, and more than anyone, he truly deserves his honor.

Congratulations again to all the winners and really props to all the athletes! I have a new-found appreciation for how hard they work. Get well soon to everyone who got banged up. Thanks to everyone who signed autographs and stopped for photos; y’all truly made the experience even more special. That’s all for now. See you in Aspen (virtually— not sure I can brave the cold just yet… maybe one day).

XG2015 05

I was probably the only person not stoked about Metallica playing Saturday night. It’s not that I don’t like them, but they should not be your sole reason for going to the X Games. Although I have no problem with casual action sports fans or non-fans coming into the scene with an open mind, I do take issue with people talking loudly in the middle of an event or taking the good seats because James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett are playing the national anthem, only to leave before we even get to the finals. Plus there were so many people smoking in areas where it was not allowed. Although the rude individuals who didn’t care about rules or action sports made me grumpy, I still had a great full day of X Games.

RallyCar Racing

  • So much dust! VIP probably got it the worst because they were right at the first turn. The visibility was so bad that drivers were hitting each other and even missing the jump.
    XG2015 RallyCar Racing02
  • I almost want to agree with my mom about how watching this on TV would be better because you’re not choking on dirt and can see the carnage up close. However, it’s not as exciting. Also I never fully understood the joker until I saw how it affect all the different positions. TV focuses on a few cars and areas so you don’t get the big picture of the strategy that goes into rally.
  • Ken Block and Travis Pastrana had really bad luck. So did Patrick Sandell. I felt for him because he fixed whatever was leaking in his car, but they wouldn’t let him back on the track due to broadcast time limits. I thought that was a pretty lame reason.
  • Scott Speed got reckless at the end of the final, but he was gonna finish first so we don’t need a bumper anymore, right?

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This post is a continuation of the discussion on sexism in action sports.  Click here for part 1.

When I first got into action sports, I adopted some of the culture’s misogynistic attitudes without being fully aware of it.  After all, I vehemently supported the idea that a female FMX rider could rise among the ranks of the best.  However, I still joined in the shaming of girls who seemed to be into the sport for the guys.  It’s much like the “fake geek girl” attitude I’ve seen in nerd culture, where attractive women are judged automatically.  Even though no one wants disingenuity, it’s not up to us to determine who is “real” without getting to know them.  Plus action sports wouldn’t be as successful as it is today without the casual fans.  I was lucky to have joined FMX forums run by women in the industry; plus I gave off the little sister vibe.  How we look (or are perceived to appear) shouldn’t matter, but it does.

This brings me to Kim Woozy’s TED Talk:

She made me think about the mixed reactions female action sports athletes have gotten for posing nude for ESPN the Magazine‘s Body Issue.  I am all for anyone embracing their bodies, and nudity shouldn’t be a big deal.  Plus the Body Issue does a great job of highlighting different sizes, shapes, and skin tones, as well as “imperfections” like tan lines and scars.  Nevertheless, Kim and Jen Hudak make good points in their criticisms of sexy shoots.  Why do those get more attention than actual achievements?

One of my friends posted a link on Facebook about the Body Issue, praising the use of Prince Fielder on the cover.  Someone had commented that women don’t seem to get the same treatment, citing Jamie Anderson’s cover.  While the photo of Jamie perfectly captures her spirit and personality, I had to partly agree with the comment.  Jamie’s looks are irrelevant, but the artistic choice for the photo is something to question.  She’s posing (in kind of a stereotypical modeling way too), not snowboarding.  Contrast that with the shot of Coco Ho.  It’s dynamic and more inspiring.

Jamie Anderson.  By Peggy Sirota/ ESPN the Magazine

Jamie Anderson. By Peggy Sirota/ ESPN the Magazine

Coco Ho.  By Morgan Maassen/ ESPN The Magazine

Coco Ho. By Morgan Maassen/ ESPN The Magazine

Now I don’t fault Jamie since she was not in charge of the shoot, but I hope ESPN the Magazine will consider how they depict their cover models (it’s worth noting that the other female cover model, Venus Williams, was also posing and didn’t even have a racket).

Another thing that bothered me about the Body Issue was the behind-the-scenes footage of Travis Pastrana and Lyn-Z Adams Pastrana.  First, I wish Lyn-Z was skateboarding instead of riding in the back.  I know the artistic director probably wanted a fun couple’s shot, but it sends the message that Lyn-Z’s career takes a backseat.  On top of that, they captured Travis joking about how he got to see his “wife’s tits all day”.  Although I’m sure Lyn-Z was not offended by the comment, it’s still derogatory and inappropriate to air.  It reinforces the idea that looks are the most important thing for a girl and disregards the struggles Lyn-Z has faced as a female skateboarder.  I’m very disappointed in both ESPN and Travis Pastrana.

These are little things that have a major impact.  They contribute to the misogyny that women in action sports (whether they are athletes, industry folks, or fans) face.  When male skaters and riders call each other “pussy” or “bitch”, they are associating femininity with weakness.  That, in turn, alienates the women who are already fighting this double standard of having to be attractive to get attention but not too pretty to where they won’t be taken seriously.  One thing I disagree with Jen on her critique of sexy shoots is how much it will injure a female athlete’s career. It’s less about the photos themselves (because after all, we remember the achivements of Danica Patrick and Elena Hight) and more about that ridiculous double standard and the constant objectification of women by the media and even by their peers. Who cares if some of us wear no make-up and have grease stains on our clothes while others of us wear heels on weekends and are willing to pose nude? Our love of actions sports should be what matters, and until that is the case, I will not stop fighting for more feminism in the culture.

Four days of X Games flew by so fast, and the last day brought a lot of chaos. I’ll be recapping the best moments soon, but in the meantime, here’s the final set of observations and comments.

BMX thoughts

  • It’s interesting to note that while Skateboard Big Air had a bunch of very young skaters, BMX Big Air mostly consists of veterans (mostly of vert).
  • There’s still an age gap which, according to announcer Dennis McCoy, is delineated by the willingness to run down the MegaRamp.
  • Anthony Napolitan, Morgan Wade, and Alan Cooke are the only non-vert riders to have ever competed in Big Air.
  • It was nice to see Morgan, Kevin Robinson, and Chad Kagy back in action.
  • Only on the MegaRamp is Simon Tabron considered a “rookie”. He actually had to attach brakes to his bike for the event.
  • Zack Warden’s first backflip bike flip with a triple tailwhip (oh the alliteration!) came in second to Morgan’s no-handed flip with an invert. Why? Morgan got more amplitude.
  • I learned two new terms from announcer Jimmy Coleman: “boo birds” and “speed wobbling”.
  • Morgan is wearing the same outfit from when he ruptured his spleen exactly one year ago. He must really love the T-shirt because he had to sew it back together.
    xgames_big_air_13, Photo by Ryan Fudger.  Transworld Ride BMX Photo by Ryan Fudger (Transworld BMX)
  • Apparently they don’t remove your ruptured spleen in Brazil.
  • Kevin has dislocated his shoulder five times in the past two year: three at X Games 2010, one while giving a motivational speech, and one after he got into a car wreck. He also mentioned that it kept popping out after X before his surgery.
  • Zack did improve on his score by going over the 64-foot gap.
  • However, on his last run (the last run of the night), Steve McCann defended his gold with a very clean no-handed double front flip with a double tailwhip over the big gap.

Motocross thoughts

  • Endurocross is the most diverse event with 12 countries represented.
  • I loved how the Sport Science clip included some biology (my specialty) with the physics.  I can’t believe riders reach up to 95% of their maximum heart rate.
  • The course builders spent the last 18 hours adding the enduro obstacles. A new one for this year is the “matrix” which consists of logs placed apart at the exact width of the bike.
  • The women’s course is a little different, but they still have to contend with water, rocks, and firewood.
  • The X Games official who helped Tara Geiger out of the rock pit looked very pleased with himself.
  • Patience appears to be key, as Maria Forsberg passed Louise Forsley on the second to last lap. She wound up leading by 15 seconds.
    MariaFireWood, Photo by Brown Dog Wilson.  Viceversamx.com Photo by Brown Dog Wilson (viceversamx.com)
  • Last year’s gold medalists in the Men’s race, Taddy Blazusiak, was undefeated the rest of the 2011 season.
  • Jeff Aaron rode a two-wheel drive bike (they tried to explain how it worked, but I didn’t understand).
  • Taddy said the pool was the deepest he had ever ridden through and that the “swim” during qualifiers was “refreshing”.
  • Apparently there is an X Games researcher named DJ Smith who gives announcer Cameron Steele all the facts. Can be an X Games researcher?
  • Advice for aspiring enduro riders: never wait in line to get past obstacles.
  • Mike Brown got the holeshot in the finals and held the lead, even with a last lap crash and Cody Webb hot on his tail.

Rally thoughts

  • The RallyCross course originally had a metal ramp jump similar to the one at the Global RallyCross race in Texas, but that was replaced with a table top after two horrific crashes in practice. Only one them involved the ramp, and that was Toomas “Topi” Heikkinen’s wreck (which was featured on Yahoo!). The other crash involved Marcus Grönholm hitting a light pole.
  • Here’s some commentary and science on what having a larger, all-metal means and why it’s got some rally fans upset.
  • You do not want Brian Deegan on your tail. He was relentless in chasing down Sverre Isachsen in his heat even though he already had a qualifying spot.
  • Poor Travis Pastrana just can’t get a break in rally this year. He got T-boned at the first GRC race, and then he dislocated his shoulder in Texas. At X, all the cars chased him down until he was driven into a wall and struck by Andy Scott. The damages were irreparable, and unlike at other races, he wasn’t allowed to use teammate Bryce Menzies’ car.
  • Andy got DQ’ed from the heat, but the judges determined that he didn’t hit Travis intentionally so they let him race the LCQ.
  • Ten guys in the final is just asking for carnage.
  • The OMSE team (Brian Deegan, Tanner Foust, and David Binks) were strategizing so that one of them could win for Marcus and Topi.
  • The penalty for an early start is dropping back one car length. There were quite a few jumpy drivers.
  • Brian tried to argue with the X Games official about his early start, but camera replays don’t lie.
  • It gets up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit inside a car, and drivers experience 3Gs at the start (to compare, it’s about 7Gs on top the Hot Wheels loop or while somersaulting in fighter jet).
  • Even though Sébastien Loeb was called a “newcomer”, he’s an eight-time World Rally Champion.
  • Ken Block managed to hang onto second with a flat tire and Brian charging his way through the pack to third.

Skateboard thoughts

  • When I voted for Real Street Fan Favorite at the last minute (it was July 1 midnight central time), Collin Provost led against Manny Santiago by just 57%.
  • Nyjah Huston and Chaz Ortiz were both nursing injuries, but from a casual perspective, you couldn’t really tell by their skating. To me, Nyjah did look a bit off his game; Tony Hawk noted that he was favoring one knee.
  • Chaz is very deliberate in approaching rails. You can see him slow down.
  • Paul Rodriguez made switch tricks look easy.
  • There was only a point difference between the top three: Paul Rodriguez, Ryan Sheckler, and Nyjah Huston.

Congratulations to the last batch of winners: Paul Rodriguez (Skateboard Street), Sébastien Loeb (RallyCross), Steve McCann (BMX Big Air), Nyjah Huston (Real Street), Collin Provost (Real Street Fan Favorite), Maria Forsberg (Women’s Enduro X), and Mike Brown (Men’s Enduro X).

Prediction Status: 6/15
Quote of the Day: “Missing the thingy” – Tony Hawk
Trick of the Day: Zack Warden’s Iron Lotus + triple tailwhip

Inspiration of the Day: Maria Forsberg – Electrician on the weekdays, endurocross champ on the weekends, this is one badass woman.
Question of the Day: Who did you vote for in the Real Street finals?

It is with much sadness that I approach the final day of the X Games. However, my eyes and rear end will be happy to not be sitting in my computer chair and staring at my laptop screen for hours (I had to miss most of the Game of SK8 because I was getting a headache). The X Games always make me itch to get out of the house (me get out? ha!) and do stuff. It doesn’t have to be action sports-related, but I want to be outside doing something that gets my heart rate up. First though, I have to get through my final set of notes.

BMX thoughts

  • BMX Freestyle Street is a little different in that the runs of 45 seconds, instead of 30, and that the riders are allowed 2 falls.
  • Brian Kachinsky built a street course inside an abandoned bakery. How cool is that?
  • Apparently the normal way to do a truckdriver (360 barspin) is to spin the handlebars in the opposite direction you’re rotating.
  • Dakota Roche is one tough dude, coming back with great runs after his chest slammed into the ledge.
  • The announcers got their facts mixed up. Both Jamie Bestwick and Garrett Reynolds scored a 47 (highest given in a BMX event this X Games) in their respective events.
  • They also kept referring to Garrett as a machine. Then again, one does question his mortality since he has won every BMX Street event in the X Games.
  • LOL moment: Dennis McCoy was trying to talk baseball, and Jimmy Coleman got him back on track.
  • Poor Dennis Enarson is going to be called the “bridesmaid” since he came so close to getting the gold again.
  • Garrett’s key to success: have fun. I’m sure unique, precise combos help too.

Moto-X thoughts

  • Endurocross, or as they call it “Enduro-X”, is pure chaos! It’s like bringing the great outdoors into a Supercross track: there’s rocks, logs, water, and blocks of wood.
  • I’m so used to smooth riding that it’s weird seeing riders stumble, put their foot down, and fly off their bikes.
  • Jeremy McGrath said that when he tried enduro, he barely finished.
  • There are several familiar names: Kenny Bartram (FMXer), Ryan Hughes (MX racer-turned-trainer), Destry Abbott (desert racer), Mike Brown (MX racer), Geoff Aaron (trials rider), and Tara Geigher (MX racer).
  • Everybody kept going on about the Pastranathon, but Destry and Maria Forsberg have their own crazy schedules. Destry had to drive back to Arizona and then fly out to Finland the next day for another enduro event. Maria didn’t have time to celebrate her gold, as she had work on Monday at 6 A.M.
  • Elizabeth Bash is one tough racer. She crashed and slid off the hill, and it looked like she hurt her arm. However, she got back on her bike and finished in 4th.
  • A trials background gives you more balance and control while motocross experience gives you speed and the ability to jump over obstacles like the water.
  • Even if you miss the water, you still have to deal with water other riders tracked over the rocks.
  • Ironically, a log rolled out in the beginning of the men’s final yet it was the first time the wasn’t a first turn pile-up.
  • Geoff and Mike gave up the lead with just one error, which shows how unpredictable trials can be.
  • Nevertheless, in a sport that doesn’t really have favorites, Taddy Blazuskiak shows why he was the man to watch. He came from behind to lead the second half and win.

Rally thoughts

  • There seem to be more wreckage with RallyCross due to more cars next to each other.
  • Rally drivers have varied daytime/former/side occupations: Robbie Maddison, Brian Deegan, and Travis Pastrana – FMXers; Joseph Burke and Dylan Van Way – college students; Rhys Millen and Tanner Foust – stunt drivers (The Dukes of Hazzard and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift); Dave Mirra – BMXer; Stephan Verdier – skicross racer; and Ken Block – co-founder/CBO of DC Shoes.
  • Travis is unbelievable. Even with an injured leg and hand, he still led one of his heats. Did I mention that he can’t take painkillers?
  • Joseph and Dylan’s college rivalry played out in the last chance qualifier. Joseph goes to Auburn, and Dylan attends LSU.
  • Ken’s weekend was described as “grotty”. That’s Britspeak for “wretchedly shabby” or “of poor quality”, according to Merriam-Webster.
  • Again, Liam Doran posted the fastest time in qualifiers.
  • Dave Higgins is good at coming from behind.
  • 8 cars in the final = insanity. Did any car escape unscathed?
  • This race was total Mulisha domination.  (Photo from Racer, by Richard S. James) Brian had about a 6.3 second lead. I’ve never seen him more stoked at a victory before; he was practically dancing on his car.Photobucket
  • The race was also a Ford podium sweep.
  • Travis came so close to medaling. He was 30 seconds behind Marcus Gronholm before he hit the wall.
  • I loved the co-driver cam because it showed each driver’s reactions to crashes and victories.

Congratulations to our final group of winners: Julian Christianson (Hometown Heroes Amateur Skateboard Street), Brian Deegan (RallyCross), Garrett Reynolds (BMX Freestyle Street), Ryan Decenzo (Game of SK8), Maria Forsberg (Enduro X Women’s), and Taddy Blazuskiak (Enduro X Men’s). Special recognition goes to Garrett for his 4-peat and for being the undefeated BMX Street champ. It’s been a great X Games!

Prediction Status: 5/14 (I got 3/4 for BMX.)
Quote of the Day: “Pastranathon to Pastrana-gone to Pastrana racing.” – Rally announcer on Travis’ X Games weekend
Trick of the Day: Garrett’s bar-catch-bar 450 (Now there’s a number you don’t see every day; I had to replay that a couple times to make sure I heard right.)
Inspiration of the Day: Travis’ Subaru team – Overnight they installed hand controls so that Travis didn’t have to miss out on all the Pastranathon events after Best Trick, which would’ve bummed him out. They helped him into his car, taped his leg in there, and fixed up the bumps from test drivers. Talk about a great team.

Nearly a full day of watching the X Games has resulted in three pages of notes, and I thought I was being conservative with my note-taking.   It was cool that ABC is broadcasting the X Games again, but of course, a different event was being aired on on-line.  Really disliking this simulcast deal.

BMX thoughts

  • Guys came out swinging in BMX Freestyle Park with huge tricks and crazy transitions. Ex. Gary Young’s feeble to 270 attempt (he came so close to making it).
  • Using the full time of the run is important. Dennis Enarson was ahead because he had the speed and energy to keep going.
  • Kevin Robinson noted that the jam format is kind of tricky because when you have guys pulling out, like with vert the other night, there’s less time for you to recover and plan.
  • Everybody wondered why Daniel Dhers would skip a run when Dennis was ahead, but the conservation of energy worked in his favor.
  • This was the first time I think I’ve seen them go to a tie breaker in which the judges had to look at 3rd run scores.


Moto-X thoughts

  • Ramp jump is an interesting addition to the race track, seems like a freestyle touch. I wonder what the racers think.
  • Crashes put an end to the Ashley Fiolek-Jessica Patterson showdown.
  • Dear announcers, Sayaka Kaneshiro’s name is pronounced “Kah-nay-she-ro”, not “Kyan-na-shee-ro”.
  • The ladies were pulling some nice whips at the end.
  • The whoops were a big challenge for in both Women’s Moto-X and Speed and Style.
  • Speed and Style was like a trip down memory lanes. The competitors were the big guns from back in the day (when I really kept up with FMX). To put things into perspective, Todd Potter is the youngest rider at 26.
  • Todd also wins the Iron Man award for competing in 5 different X Games events (that’s more than the “Pastranathon”).
  • Carey Hart gets the Best Sportsmanship award. When Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg went down, he quit racing to check up on him. Granted, he was already qualified at that point, but he was helping out the medics.
  • Twitch broke his left tibia and right heel on that nasty fall.
  • I feel like I jinxed by Ashley and Twitch.
  • A lot of calculation has to go into Speed and Style: on one hand, you have to slow down to hit the jumps to flip, but on the other hand, you’re in a race.
  • The finals was Nate Adams vs. Mike Mason: 4-stroke vs. 2-stroke, underflip vs. 360 flip, style vs. speed. In the end, style won out since Nate was upside down more. However, Mace had a beautiful rock solid, which in my eyes, is an equally scary trick.
  • This year’s Speed and Style was less ridiculous but just as fun to watch. Nate is one happy FMX this weekend.

Rally thoughts

  • Travis Pastrana plans on racing on Sunday?! WTF, he can barely walk and get in the car! They’ve even had to tape his foot down.
  • Rally Car Racing is auto racing for people with A.D.D. It’s only two laps and you’ve got different terrain and tight corners so the viewers never get bored.
  • Brian Deegan’s car has jaws, LOL.  So typical Mulisha style.
  • “[Racing through downtown L.A.] legally is pretty incredible.” It sounds like Tanner Foust has taken Fast and the Furious off the movie set.
  • Lessons in not giving up: David Higgins winning his heat with a flat tire and Dave Mirra pushing all the way through until the end.
  • When you take the Joker lap is important because it will give you an extra edge.
  • The Tanner Foust-Liam Doran rivalry reminds me of the Travis Pastrana-Brian Deegan good vs. evil FMX battle.
  • Liam posted the fastest times in the quarterfinals and semis.
  • In stead of a good vs. evil battle, we had experience (Marcus Gronholm) vs. youth (Liam). One is very calculating and precise; the other is fast and wild.  Maybe I should take a cue from Liam and drive more aggressively (I’m an annoyingly slow driver).

Skateboarding thoughts

  • I was going to put Njyah Houston down as my prediction for the winner of Skateboard Street, but I was basing a lot of that from hype from previous years. I was also going to make Shaun White my prediction, but then I changed it.
  • Bob Burnquist is extremely beat up from past injuries and Big Air, yet he still put together an awesome run during qualifiers. He said sleeping in helped.
  • I loved the clip of Tony Hawk and Andy MacDonald doing doubles for fun. They’re the only six-peaters in X Games history (I think everybody just gave up on doubles because they kept winning).
  • The judges seem to like giving a score of 82.66.
  • “Someone had to get old” – Tony Hawk on why he doesn’t have 5 X Games gold medals like Pierre-Luc Gagnon
  • Shaun White set the bar in the finals by being the first to have a clean run.
  • Shaun’s airs are higher than most skaters. A snowboarding influence?
  • Tony is calling out guys for their sloppiness.
  • PLG got a 91.66 even with a fall at the end.
  • The veterans of vert skated more consistently… probably because they could keep their cool under pressure.
  • Today, we saw a lot of elated gold medalists. (The reactions were bigger than what I usually see.)

Congratulations to Day 3’s victors: Daniel Dhers (BMX Freestyle Park), Liam Doran (Rally Car Racing), Nyjah Houston (Skateboard Street Men’s), Vicki Golden (Moto-X Racing Women’s), Shaun White (Skateboard Vert), and Nate Adams (Moto-X Speed and Style).  A big get well soon to Twitch, and good luck to Travis.

Prediction Status: 3/12
Quote of the Day: “It’s kind of cool feeling the bones move in my food.” – Travis Pastrana
Trick of the Day: Shaun White’s heelflip body varial frontside 540… actually his entire final run was amazing.

Inspiration of the Day: Women’s Moto-X Competitors – They’re strong, tough, and daring. Ashley Fiolek overcame deafness to become a 2-time X Games champ while Jessica Patterson has dealt with her share of nasty injuries in winning multiple national titles. Then there’s this year’s gold medalist, Vicki Golden, who became the first woman to qualify for a pro AMA Arenacross main event.
Question of the Day: Skateboard Street or Rally Car Racing – which did you watch (or would you watch)?

Alright, here are the tidbits and observations I gleaned from watching Thursday. As with my Winter X notes, this is less a detailed recap and more a supplement to what you can find on EXPN.com. So much went down on Day 1 that I have a little more than 2 pages of notes. There were some unbelievable moments, as well as some nerve-wracking ones. At the end of the night, I had thought I was a jinx since I originally picked Travis Pastrana and Chad Kagy as gold medalists for Moto-X Best Trick and BMX Big Air and both got carted off on a stretcher. Then I remembered that I changed my Big Air prediction at the last minute. It’s still upsetting to see an athlete go down hard.

BMX thoughts

  • Jed Mildon is officially nuts— not just because he did the triple backflip but because he pedaled down the Mega Ramp roll in. It boggled Kevin Robinson and Dennis McCoy’s minds.
  • I like having pro commentary. You get an insider’s perspective, plus some “back in my day” stories.
  • K-Rob shared this picture by Scott Roegner to show you how high the Mega Ramp is. Photobucket
  • According to K-Rob, a 360 tailwhip is more difficult than a flip. I can see that since you’re multi-tasking.
  • Chad Kagy is riding with a plate and 6 screws in his hand, and he still stomps his tricks (even with a pedal slip).
  • Vince Byron stomped his no-handed 540 so hard that his bike broke. Chad offered him parts for Vince decided to wait it out since the geometry would be off. See, math is important, kids.
  • According to DMC, the old school approach to tricks was “I wonder if this is going to work, let’s find out.” No wonder he’s still nuts (44 and still competing).
  • We learned the importance of doing 2 solid tricks. A double frontflip over the first jump is awesome and all, but you better follow up with something on the quarterpipe (and Anthony Napolitan did at the end).
  • At the last minute, Steve McCann edged out Vince with a double frontflip and a double tailwhip.
  • Chad looked like he injured his right leg pretty badly. Later it was reported that he broke his femur.

FMX thoughts

  • Most exciting Step-Up comp in years! That’s mainly due to the fact that Tommy Clowers’ 11-year-old record of 35 feet was finally broken.
  • It’s interesting to see everyone on 4-strokes. I remember when riders insisted that 2-strokes were better. I also remember when the step-up bar was held up by two flimsy poles. The guys in the booth also mentioned differences with the ramp and starting position.
  • Matt Buyten wins and breaks the X Games record at 37 feet, and he’s still recovering from a broken wrist!
  • Seeing Ronnie Renner and Buyten’s Twitter exchange just shows how good sportsmen the two “rivals” are.
  • Best Whip showed me that there were many different types of whips. My favorite was Jarryd McNeil with the look back (he appeared a bit inverted).
  • My boyfriend compared Best Whip to Best Method from snowboarding. I’m so proud that he’s learning.
  • When I learned about the “Pastranathon”, my immediate thought was “Why can’t I multitask like Travis?”
  • ESPN Sport Science did a feature on the 360 frontflip, a.k.a. the “carry on”. It revealed that doing a 360 actually makes the flip easier because the multiple axes of rotation reduces your moment of inertia, which means you’re not fighting physics as much. Makes sense to me.
  • I didn’t realize Blake Williams was out with a knee injury.
  • Jackson Strong set the bar early on with a FIRST EVER FRONTFLIP! Then Josh Sheehan pulls a double backflip. Those Aussies are crazy (and they swept the contest)!
  • I’m still a sucker for double grabs, especially when a rider extends the air time. I definitely had a WTF moment with Taka Higashino. He took one hand off, then goes into a double grab, and then takes both hands off to get back to the handbars all while upside down!
  • These guys were pushing each other so hard in the beginning that the crashes got really scary. Thankfully Mark Monea got up, but Travis Pastrana thinks he’s broken his fibula and tibula. It wound up being a bunch of small fractures along his leg and ankle.
  • Jacko’s glory run was a simple tsunami, but I still loved it because great extension is just as awesome when you’re upright.

Skateboarding thoughts

  • I really wonder how these guys manage to get up and still continue when they take hard slams.
  • On the flipside, Andy MacDonald still wears pads and a helmet, and he appears to have not aged a single day since I first saw him. Perhaps safety gear is the key to longevity.
  • Pedro Barros’ surf background really comes through; it’s like he’s gliding on concrete.
  • Omar Hasan’s lipslide around the bowl was nuts. Too bad he fell on the transition.
  • Practice makes perfect— or, according to Andy, it keeps you from getting lost on the park course. Rookie Raven Tershy’s key to winning seems to be both practice and determination. He never stopped pushing himself even when he was already set to win (though Pedro was behind him by a point).

Congratulations to the many gold medalists of Day One: Matt Buyten (Moto-X Step-Up), Jeremy Stenberg (Moto-X Best Whip), Raven Tershy (Skateboard Park), Jackson Strong (Moto-X Big Air), and Steve McCann (BMX Big Air). Also I would like to wish the very best to Chad Kagy and Travis Pastrana, as well as everyone else who competed injured or took hard slams. Get well soon!

Prediction Status: 1/4
Quote of the Day: “Beat up from the street up. Tore up from the floor up.” – one of the Skateboard Park announcer on Dave Gurvette
Trick of the Day: Jacko’s front flip in Moto-X Best Trick
Inspiration of the Day:
Travis Pastrana proves that he is still mortal. Even though this is a sad premature end to the Pastranathon, I admire the fact that he still thinks about his sponsors, teammates, and fans and about how this is going to set back the progression of FMX. Always sacrificing himself for his sport.
Question of the Day: Do you think Travis was doing to much with the Pastranathon?

While FMX riders may laugh in the face of danger, I bet they still find marriage proposals to be frightening.  About a month ago, Travis Pastrana popped the question to his skater girlfriend Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins at the Nitro Circus show in Vegas, and he was so nervous that he wound up doing it earlier than planned.  The video clip is pretty spectacular; leave it to the moto guys to take a more unconventional approach to proposing.  I’m a sucker for romance so here are my top 3 proposals by (or to) FMX riders.

3. Adam Jones gets down on one knee post-competition.
Photobucket Photo from EXPN.com
I was looking through pictures of an WFA contest a few years ago, and I came across a shot of Adam’s proposal. It was so cute that I saved it. Random fact about Adam’s wife (whose name is slipping my mind): she is the girl who smells his armpits in the “double pits to chesty” Axe commercial.

2. Travis Pastrana proposes to Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins on the Mega Ramp.

I’d say that was the best stunt of the night. Congratulations to those two! For a clip of the full proposal, go here.

1. Pink pops the question to Carey Hart in the middle of the race.
Photobucket Photo from People.
I’m a fan of unconventionality, and it was pretty awesome that Pink wrote her proposal on the pit board (plus “I’m serious!”) and then told Carey to go back and race since she wasn’t planning on marrying a “loser”. Recently they welcomed a baby girl, Willow Sage, into their family so congrats to them!