Travis Pastrana has a busy summer ahead. In the next two months, he will bring his Nitro Circus Live show to the U.S., film a 3-D movie full of first-time stunts, compete in RallyCross and Freestyle Motocross at X Games 17 and make his NASCAR debut in the Nationwide Series at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. And we'll chronicle it all here, in a weekly(ish) column with the action sports icon. So much for a summer vacation. Or sleep.
After spending several weeks abroad performing in Nitro Circus Live shows and filming for the upcoming 3-D film, Pastrana and crew returned to the U.S., where he will fill the remainder of the warm months. His first stop: Southern California for three days of NC Live practice before the show hits the States this weekend.
On May 28, Pala Raceway, the site of NC Live practice, was looking little like its usual self. Fred Grzybowski, a 23-year-old known as Pogo Fred, was warming up on an industrial-strength pogo stick. World record holder Dusty Wygle was warming up on a pit bike alongside skateboarder Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins, who was dressed uncharacteristically in red-and-white riding gear and seated atop a full-size dirtbike. Several riders were carrying BMX bikes and Razor scooters up an endless staircase leading to a 50-foot-tall structure called the Giganta Ramp. Supermoto racer Derek Costello was toting a pink tricycle. And everyone was trying something they'd never done.
It became quickly obvious that here, circus is more than a word in a show name. It's a mentality. "I keep thinking there are not a lot of people like us," Pastrana says. "But the more places we go, we always find some guy who is doing stuff no one else is doing. Nitro is not about being the coolest. It's about pushing yourself. We keep finding more people who fit the mold."
Today, the entire crew of regulars and guest stars, along with several athletes hoping to make the roster, is practicing for the first stateside Nitro Circus Live show, which takes place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday. "Vegas is going to be our toughest setting yet," says Pastrana, who spent the day swapping between a dirt bike and a BMX bike. "Here, everyone's either seen it all or knows some guy who's done it. People here are hard to impress and they're going to pick the show apart. But I think we have a good enough show that they'll be entertained."