Serve Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By Deborah Good­man for Serve Daily

— Springville res­i­dent, Travis Whit­lock, has taken the gold med- al at the X Games in Aspen, Colorado. The Jan­uary event, which hosted ath­letes from all over the world, was in­vi­ta­tion only. It pulled in a to­tal of 45,000 specta- tors and was tele­vised around the world.

Not only did Whit­lock make his­tory for be­ing the first ever gold medal­ist in this brand new event—the Har­ley David- son Snow Hill Climb—he also made his- tory for be­ing the old­est com­peti­tor there.

“In the be­gin­ning [of my ca­reer], I was set­ting records for be­ing the youngest and all of the sud­den, I am the old­est. Times flies when you’re hav­ing fun,” Whit­lock said.

Al­though he’s been com­pet­ing in bike rac­ing for 38 years, this was the first time Whit­lock, age 48, has ever com­peted in the X games, as it was the first time the Games have in­cluded hill­climb­ing.

Whit­lock’s men­tal game made all of the dif­fer­ence: “Know­ing I was the old­est com­peti­tor there had no bear­ing on my mind at all. I knew I could beat these kids that were more than half my age. I was pretty fo­cused and pos­i­tive through­out the event.”

An­other im­por­tant fac­tor was his fam- ily. Whit­lock’s wife, Lexie, as well as a daugh­ter, sib­lings and friends were there to cheer him on and he says he couldn’t have done it with­out their help.

The hill the com­peti­tors raced on was the su­per half pipe that the snow­board- ers use. It had an in­cline of 20 de­grees— much lower than the hills they com­pete on in the sum­mer, which av­er­age a 70-88 de­gree in­cline. The length of the hill was around 600 feet of packed snow flanked by pure ice.

Whit­lock rode a KTM 1190 Su­per Duke V Twin cus­tom built Hill Climb bike. Since none of the riders had ever com­peted in snow or ice be­fore, a nor­mal tire wouldn’t do. He had al­ready built a pad­dle with bolts and studs in it, but the night be­fore he left for the games, he built a stud­ded street tire in which he em- bed­ded over 200 two-inch ice studs.

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