Trevor Jacob, the next Shaun Palmer

"But I'd been waiting for this my whole life," Jacob says. So he drove to Los Angeles that night and boarded a flight to join the Nitro Circus the next morning. "I called Peter on the way to the airport and said, 'Sorry. I'm not coming to the race. I'm going to perform with the Nitro Circus.'"

For the next two and a half months, Jacob toured Europe and New Zealand with the crew, dropping into the Giganta Ramp, the show's version of the Mega Ramp, on a skateboard, BMX bike and tricycle, and sometimes even swapping rides midrun. That's a trick he invented the first day he arrived in Europe for the tour.

"First show off the plane, he says he has an idea," Pastrana says. "He drops in on a BMX bike, has another guy toss him a skateboard in the air, ditches the bike and grabs the skateboard midair. He hopped off the bike, finger flipped the skateboard, landed on it and rode away. None of us had ever thought to do that. There aren't many people who are instant fits with the Nitro crew. On day one, I was like, Trevor is the man."

But then, he quit Nitro, too. He realized making the Olympic snowboardcross team mattered to him, and he didn't want to risk another injury -- he broke his arm riding a slip-and-slide while on tour in New Zealand -- and more distraction. He'd never had to work at something as hard as he worked at racing, and he'd never wanted to before. The months on the Nitro tour had rejuvenated him and reinvigorated his love for snowboarding and competition. He just needed to focus.

"In boardercross, he really has to focus or he'll have horrible runs," Foley says. "You have to rein him in and focus his energy. He's not used to doing that, but when he does, he destroys everyone."

That, of course was the question: Would Jacob be able to rein in his focus long enough to make it through an entire season? He'd ditched an FIS race and three months of training to perform stunts with the Nitro Circus. Was a run at the Olympics really plausible?

That question was answered at his first race back, a Sprint Grand Prix at the Canyons Resort in March 2013. One month after returning from touring in New Zealand, Jacob won his first career snowboardcross race and the title of 2013 national champion.

"I kept surprising myself," Jacob says. "I realized, this is happening."

He told himself that for the next year, he wouldn't answer the phone when Pastrana called. He wouldn't wreck himself at the skate park or compete in another halfpipe contest. He wouldn't backflip dirt bikes or snowmobiles (he hopes to compete in freestyle snowmobiling at the Winter X Games and is training for it) or jump out of planes. He was focused on snowboardcross and he wasn't about to quit now. But then, in October, Pastrana's number flashed across the display on his phone.

"I said, 'I'm not going to call Travis, I'm not going to get wrecked before the Olympics. I'll give this thing a full shot and play with them afterwards," Jacob says. "And then Travis calls and tells me he's having this event. 'You coming to my house?' he says. I was like, 'Alright,' and I flew to Maryland."

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