Motocross

Go-getter!

Go-getter!

IMAGINE YOURSELF at the Los Angeles Coliseum, seconds before the start of your final run in the biggest freestyle competition in the world. IMAGINE YOURSELF at the Los Angeles Coliseum, seconds before the start of your final run in the biggest freestyle competition in the world. Forty thousand people are watching from the stands and millions more will be witnessing your every move on their televisions. In the next minute-and-a-half you have the ability to earn nearly $100,000 and become one of the elite few to win X-Games gold.
Now imagine that you are so fixated on one jump that you can’t remember past the first trick in a run that, only a few moments before, you thought would be etched in your mind for life… The crowd suddenly disappears into the far reaches of your peripheral vision. No matter what you look at or think about, there is only one vision, the centre Super Kicker jump with the narrow, steep landing because that’s where you’re about to try a trick you’ve never landed – the 360°.
I was approaching the moment of truth – a defining moment in my life. I would either step up to the plate or go home wondering why I even bothered to show up. As I looked at the gap, thoughts of dropping from 40 feet without my bike and completely missing the landing were fogging the reality of possibility. There are always two voices – one that tells you the easy way through life and another that pushes you to fulfil even the toughest of dreams. It’s so easy to come up with more than enough reasons not to do something but I heard the voice that was telling me to go for it. Besides, I hadn’t won a major competition in almost a year and I wasn’t about to lose this one before it even began.
My hands were soaked through my gloves before I even started my bike and when I hit the roll-in down the Peristyle, it was like someone was pounding on my chest with a hammer. Everything seemed to be in slow motion as I flipped the longest gap I have ever attempted like it was the ramp in my backyard.
Then everything suddenly changed. The pounding on my chest seemed to get faster and my hands began to shake as if I had just gulped down a semi-truck full of SoBe Adrenaline. My run was beginning to fall apart and I began to think how much better it would be if I just decided not to go for the 360°. It was then that I made the wrong turn and headed straight for the centre ramp. I had again managed to get my mind in the right state. As I waved at the crowd I thought of how many people would give anything to be in my situation right now. The feeling of fear and excitement is one of the greatest emotions that anyone can ever have. I was alive and doing what I truly love for the first time in a long while – I had the chance to accomplish a feat that I had been preparing to do for what seemed like an eternity.
All my strength seemed to return to my body and I approached the jump with confidence I never knew I had. Everything felt wrong on the take-off – it really is amazing how much closer to the wheels everyone inevitably gets when they try a trick over dirt as opposed to the foam. Before I had even landed, I knew what had to be done – I had to try again. I came off the back of the bike on the first attempt but I didn’t get it around, so I jumped up and ran my bike down, signalling to the judges that I wanted one more try…
I couldn’t believe that I was about to try something again that I seriously considered not doing in the first place but my body just seemed to be on a mission, with or without my mind’s consent. I was landing this trick, whether it took one try or all night – so better now than later. That’s what I was telling myself when I took off the second time. The rotation wasn’t much smoother than the first and it actually stalled out on the way around in a really weird high-side-type feel but by some miracle it pulled around and I landed it.
Nate Adams did a really great job at the X Games and I was sorry for him that the 360° scored so high, especially since it was after time. I was just elated that I didn’t back down and for the first time in my life it really didn’t matter what place I was awarded in the end. You can say, "Well, it’s just a trick" but when you look at a picture of how high above the ground I was, knowing what I knew about how wrong that trick has gone for me so many times, well, you would be proud of yourself too.
I’m off to go ride right now with the youngest X and Gravity Games gold medallist, skateboarder Ryan Sheckler, who so far has yet to do a flip on a motorcycle. The kid’s definitely got skills on a bike – maybe we’ll see the first athlete to win medals in two completely different sports sometime in the next couple of years!
Travis