Travis Pastrana: 199 Lives

Rob Pastrana Photo – Creative Commons license by Rob Street – Accessed via Wikipedia

The lifestyle and mind boggling antics of Travis Pastrana as we know it. Travis began riding motorcycles at 4 years old and is now quite possibly the most famous person ever to have mounted a dirt bike. Travis Alan Pastrana has stunned, shocked and wowed his name into the households of almost every single dirt bike rider alive today, so if you haven’t heard of him… where have you been hiding?!

What makes Travis Pastrana so special and respected? And why is he such a huge icon in the dirt bike world? What strikes me about Travis is how lighthearted, friendly and easygoing he is. He is always smiling and all he really seems to care about is having fun (while pulling of ridiculously dangerous stunts). He comes across as being pretty goofy and almost stupid sometimes, but although he may have a few screws loose, he certainly ain’t dumb. Graduating with a 4.0 average from Maryland University and running his own reality t.v show, Nitro Circus, are among other accomplishments of his.

Family and friends of his say that he loves to push himself beyond what he thinks his own limits are, that he lives for the ‘right now’ and ‘the moment’, and that he’s always out to have a good time, even if it kills him. And if you know about only half of the accidents Travis Pastrana has been involved in, you would know how lucky he is to still be walking, let alone still be alive!

In 1998 when Travis was just 14 and already the best freestyle motocrosser in the world, he came up short on a 120ft jump at the Tripple Crown event in Lake Havasu. He landed so hard that he separated his spine from his pelvis (ouch) which put him in a coma for 2 weeks, and a wheelchair for the following 3 months. 1 year later he would go on to win the first ever freestyle motocross event at the X Games.

On June 10th 2003, Travis Pastrana narrowly and freakishly avoided The Grim Reaper after a serious car accident that left someone else paralyzed. After meeting some new people out at dinner that night in Annapolis, Travis offered to take one of them, Matt Bigos, for a ride in his Corvette. Although he hadn’t been drinking, Travis at age 19 and with a need for speed supposedly lost control of his car at over 100 miles p/hour and disintegrated his car over an oak tree. Travis wasn’t wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the flipped vehicle, miraculously sustaining only minor wounds to his hand. Matt wasn’t so lucky, trapped and crushed in the passenger side with his seat belt on, he was cut free and told by doctors he would never walk again. Well Matt, being an athlete, did walk and compete again, but Travis has had to live with the pain of knowing he caused this accident.

Some other injuries Travis Pastrana has sustained to date throughout his dirt bike career are… a broken collarbone, torn ACL in his left knee, broken tibia, broken fibula, surgery on his shoulder, wrists and elbow, 9 surgeries in his left knee, 8 in his right knee, 2 on his back, 1 on his thumb, multiple concussions, and as he says, so many more broken bones he can’t remember. Phew! And I thought I had my fair share with only two broken arms! So as you can see he’s well accustomed to pain. At 16 he won the US MX Championship even though throughout the season he had to race with a broken thumb, wrist and ankle.

It seems the craziness runs in the family though. Travis’s dad Robert Pastrana, a native Puerto Rican is an ex US Marine Corp and both he and Travis’s mom used to ride motorcycles. Travis even managed to get them to try flipping a bike into his foam pit. After Robert did it, his mom jumped on the front of a bike with Mad Mike Jones and ended up breaking her back while landing the flip. Can anyone say, Nuts?!

The foam pit that he uses to practice and perfect his aerial tricks, is just one of many setups Travis Pastrana has at his home. He also has his own Motocross track, supercross track, freestyle park, indoor BMX park, a pit bike track and pretty much everything else a young bloke could ever possibly want including around 50 motorcycles in his garage. J.E.A.L.O.U.S.

T.P loves to race and loves motocross. He was 5 times National Amateur Champion and turned pro at the young age of 16 when he won the AMA 125cc National Champs. He also became the youngest person in the US to be selected for the Motocross of Nations. And then he won the 125cc East Coast Supercross Championship in 2001 – both on a Suzuki with the number 199. #199, like Suzuki, has stuck with and become synonymous with Travis Pastrana.

But it is through freestyle MX that Travis has become so famous. He was world freestyle champion at 14 and claimed the gold medal in the first ever X Games freestyle event in 1999 with the highest ever run score of 99 points. He was so amped about his win that he jumped his bike into San Francisco Bay giving the authorities reason to arrest and fine him. In the following X Games he has won gold in 2000, 2001, 2003, silver in 2004, gold in 2005 and won 3 golds in 2006 for freestyle, best trick and rally car. This was where Travis successfully pulled off his double back flip and scored a 98.6 for best trick. And according to him, there’s not enough money in the world for him to try that again… there’s nothing more to prove.

In 2006 he switched his focus to what he considers a relatively safe sport, rally car racing. Sponsored by Subaru, he has podium finishes in various rally competitions around the world and has indulged in some spectacular crashes including this one…

I guess after you’ve rolled your first car at age 10 it doesn’t really seem like that big of a deal anymore!
It’s almost as if all of those crazy shenanigans doesn’t get his blood pumping enough though. He’s now tempting fate within the death defying world of sky diving and base jumping. You may have seen him on his Nitro Circus films launching himself into the Grand Canyon or leaping out of a plane with no parachute. It’s amazing to think how someone can live life so far out on the edge and keep cheating death over and over. What’s next for Travis Pastrana and how long will it be before he bites the dust? Well, I personally hope he’ll continue to awe and inspire us for a long time yet, and I can’t imagine his attitude on life will change much in a hurry either.

It’s amazing to think how someone can live life so far out on the edge and keep cheating death over and over. What’s next for Travis Pastrana and how long will it be before he bites the dust? Well, I personally hope he’ll continue to awe and inspire us for a long time yet, and I can’t imagine his attitude on life will change much in a hurry either.

If a cat has 9 lives, and T.P has 199… let’s just hope that he hasn’t used too many of them up already.

PERSONAL STATS:
Full Name: Travis Alan Pastrana
D.O.B: 08/10/83
Home Town: Annapolis, Maryland, U.S.A
National MX/SX #: #199
Height: 6′ 1″

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