elcome, sir,” says a concierge dressed like a Victorian footman as I walk into London’s prestigious Langham Hotel. “Are you here to meet one of our guests?” he asks, making it clear that dog-eared journalists aren’t the regular clientele of this establishment.
He’s right, of course. I’m here to meet not just one of the biggest action sports stars on the planet, but the man who may be shaping the very future of the sports we love. However alien it may be to me, the grandiose setting seems entirely appropriate for a chat with Travis Pastrana.
I sit down with the 13 time-X Games medallist, and he seems chirpy, in-keeping with the image of Pastrana that most of us hold: the clean-cut, wholesome, all-American, guy next door. Although of course, not many of us actually live next door to a man who has a ramp high enough to send a person ten stories high in their back garden.
The guy next door thing isn’t just image though. A wholesome attitude was instilled in Pastrana from a young age. Although surrounded by discipline (his dad was a military man and his uncle was starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos) the young Pastrana had the full support of his family from the moment he started racing bikes.
“My parents said: ‘If you really like it, we’re going to put a lot into it. The family will do everything we can to get you there, but as long as you keep your grades up. If you drink, you’re done. If you do anything wrong…’”