Interview: Jesse Melamed on His Crash at EWS Val Di Fassa

Jul 1, 2019
by Ed Spratt  
Brough day at the office for Jesse Melamed and a premature end to what had been an amazing season.

After sitting 2nd overall before the beginning of round four of the EWS in Canazei Jesse Melamed was having an amazing season and in practice, he was looking up to speed and ready to get another great result. Except it wasn't to be as on the very first stage he would have a crash that would take him out for a few weeks at least.

The crash near the bottom of stage one resulted in a stable fracture of his left tib/fib, multiple fractures and dislocation of his left pinky (which may require surgery) and a fractured 5th metacarpal. This is definitely not the news you want halfway into one of the best seasons of your career so we chatted to Jesse to find out how he feels about the incident and when we can expect to see him back on track.

How exactly did you hurt yourself on stage one?


The first stage of the weekend is always a tough one to gauge. I liked the stage but it was long so I made sure to start slow and just nail the parts I knew were consequential.

Once I started getting into the flow I could hear the crowd cheering ahead of me so I knew I was gaining on my 30-second guy. So I knew I had put in a solid stage effort so far and I didn't need to risk anything else. I was coming into the last sketchy section and was hard on the brakes to make sure I wouldn't over-cook it...and before I knew it my front wheel slipped on a rock. It slid into a rut which then caused the bike to hook up and spit out at a tight angle. My body was fully compressed in the process so I had no control. I was sent careening down the side of the hill and all I could think about was 'don't hit your head on a tree.' I was able to avoid the trees but impacted the next section of trail hard, which my left ankle and side taking the brunt of the impact.

What were your first thoughts after the crash?


Honestly, my first thought was that I had somehow survived the impact unscathed, I didn't feel anything wrong. I got up, straightened my bars and tried to get on my bike and that's when I felt my ankle give out. My next thought was that I was close enough to the finish that I could just roll down one-footed. On the way to the finish, I knew the ankle wasn't great so then the next thing was to keep going to the pits to see my manager/physio and get sorted from there.

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Here's the full video, it shows how easily and quickly things can go wrong! @remi.the.semi comes in first and shows how it's properly done. Then I come in. There was a fast section with a big compression just before this section and I took that slower than practice knowing I didn't want too much speed into this section. I braked more after to scrub more speed and then was looking ahead to the corner. I was in the right position and looking farther down to the next switchback. That's when my front wheel pushed, it was slight and minimal but just enough to cause problems. I wasn't able to keep braking so I sped up, my wheel caught the rut and hooked up which sent my bike right. At this point my body started to catch up and then I was fully compressed, unable to brake or control my bike. So I was headed off the side. The lip of the trail caused me to unweight so again I couldn't brake nor control anything. All I was thinking at this point was to avoid hitting my head on a tree. As soon as I was able to turn my wheel I turned right. I was able to dodge the tree but ended up with extra impact on my left side. As you can see I got up thinking I was fine, straightened my bars and just when I went to get back on my bike I knew my ankle wasn't right. I keep replaying it hoping for a different outcome but that's not how it works. Since I'll have plenty of time to think about it and a video to show it, I'll accept all opinions and advice! Thanks for the video @enea_melandri

A post shared by Jesse Melamed (@jessemelamed) on


After some great results so far this year did you feel a lot of pressure to keep that going?


Not at all. The results just showed I was riding well and didn't need to do anything differently. I was looking forward to keeping the good results going.

Is it harder to comes to terms with the injury when the crash wasn't when you were pushing hardest?


It is hard to come to terms with the injury knowing that I was actively slowing down, trying to be safe, and still had a mistake lead me to a big crash.

Jesse Melamed only has one podium finish this season but his consistency has landed him 2nd in the overall.

What is recovery looking like? How long do you think you will be out for? Is there any chance you will be back for the end of the season?


We'll have to see how I'm feeling. I know to listen to what my body needs. If I need to take a break I will take one, otherwise, I'll be working on the parts of my body that I can move. I will also do some mental work and work on other areas that will help me return to sport successfully. It's hard to say before I see the surgeon this week. Expecting 4-6 weeks but prepared for more. I will definitely be back for Zermatt and trophy of nations in Finale.

Jesse Melamed turned up the heat wining stage 6 and climbing back to 3rd overall

How have your sponsors taken to the news?


As any friend would. They are all sad to see me lose my chance at a fight for the championship but happy that I am relatively ok. They understand the ups and downs of this sport and they are supportive either way. It's amazing to have that support and I'm very grateful for it, it makes it a lot easier to do what I know I need to do.

Anything else you would like to add?


Huge thanks to my team for their help. Injuries cause problems that are hard enough to deal with without being injured. I'm packed up, heading home early and seeing a surgeon when I get there thanks to them. Thanks to my family for helping me bear this burden and to all the people out there for the support! You know I'll be back!

Shoutout to ALN for getting 2nd and keeping the team's podium streak alive!


54 Comments

  • + 50
 nicest guy ever!
  • + 5
 agree
  • + 31
 Takes the opportunity to shout out to ALN.
  • + 40
 Happy Canada day!
  • + 32
 jesus that was a scary crash
  • + 34
 It was!
  • + 5
 @JesseMelamed: first thought when I saw it was...hes going for that tree Frown . Glad it didn't end that way.
  • + 19
 That was a gnarly crash, but getting up and continuing with the race is f*cking badass.
  • + 33
 Adrenaline got me good! I thought I was fine...
  • + 1
 @JesseMelamed: adrenaline is some crazy stuff... wish you better luck with healing, than with this stage!
  • + 3
 I've always found the "how are your sponsors taking the news" question to be a bit odd. Obviously know ones going to trash their sponsor regardless. It's like pinkbike is always waiting for the " they are pissed and dropped my ass" comment.
  • + 3
 Broke my tibia (tibia pilon fracture) right above my ankle and fibula in mid January and I still haven't been cleared to get back on mtb yet. Tibia break near the ankle takes forever to heal. Good luck Jesse, take ur time and don't come back till ur fully healed and u have ur ankle strength back.
  • + 5
 Sucks big time! He was on fire this year!
OT: Callaghan really needs to stop wearing his helmet like that!!
  • + 2
 So bummed for you, Jesse. I hope your recovery time ends up being quick. I also had a 5th metacarpal break a couple weeks back, as well. And same thing - front wheel got a bit squirly and got pushed off the side of a trail in to a tree.
  • + 4
 Way to crash on the left to save your iron ring! Good luck with your recovery
  • + 4
 Damn! He’s an engineer too? More than just a pretty face haha.
  • + 5
 Sucks. Bummer man! Heal up!
  • + 2
 Thanks!
  • + 1
 bummer. Will we get a trackside analysis video at Whistler EWS like we did from Squamish last year? It would have been great for Jesse to race but I enjoyed that Squamish video.
  • + 1
 I hope to see you soon back on trail, you are my favourite rider! Every time I broke myself I go crazy waiting to be back on bike!

Meanwhile I watched your great video (with great soundtrack)!
  • + 0
 Is it time yet to consider rule or venue changes to decrease speeds and therefore the likelihood and severity of crashes? Like they did in Formula 1 ever since the crazy 70s?

Because llooking at the injury list for this season and considering the circumstances of Jesse's crash, it seems like the championship might end up being decided by luck alone. Whoever can stave of the debilitating crash for the longest wins.
  • + 1
 I really hope he doesn't have the same type of hand injury I had. Freakin sucked. I had to push to not get plated. Took a year off the bike and it's still not right. Some serious slams at this event. Heal up!
  • + 7
 I'll make sure I get it treated properly. Thanks for the reminder to be diligent.
  • + 2
 @JesseMelamed: Word! Heal up! Going to miss you out there ALMOST as much as you'll miss being out there. Almost.

Seriously though... my plastic surgeon completely missed an inner fracture (4th metacarpal) and misdiagnosed a displacement. I ended up having to have some things cut up and screwed back together.

Really sorry to see you go down like that. Hope your recovery is supernatural.
  • + 5
 @JesseMelamed: Also... just watched the video. Did you seriously get back up and ride with a broken leg, finger and hand? Freaking Chuck Norris should be scared of you!
  • + 1
 @onemanarmy: I was focused on finishing! So I did just that.
  • + 1
 I've been out 6 weeks with a knee injury and it sucks, can only imagine the impact for you. I will still be cheering for you next year or whenever you make it back!
  • + 1
 Jeez, you were coming in hot. And that was you on the brakes making sure you didn't over-cook it?

Pros are a different level.

Heal up, mate.
  • + 1
 Wow. That was a crazy way to crash. Glad it was minimized because it looked like it could've been WAY worse if he didn't stop on that section of trail below.
  • + 3
 Sorry Jesse I chose you for my fantasy team and BAM all over. Heal up dude
  • + 4
 Don't trust me with that! Thanks haha
  • + 3
 ALN..... Oh boy here we go
  • + 21
 It was my abbreviation! Hard to type out her full name with a broken finger/hand!
  • + 0
 @JesseMelamed: haha I think the whole things a joke who cares what she's called haha I was just taking the piss lol
  • + 1
 Yeah so what's going on in that pic at the top? Healing vibes? Sexual Healing vibes?
  • + 1
 I count about 21 seconds that has been put into Remi. Looking at the times that is around the mix for 2nd on the stage.
  • + 3
 is the bike ok
  • + 1
 I like the attitude. getting fan.. Heal up quick!
  • + 1
 Get well soon! Gonna miss seeing you racing
  • + 2
 Thanks! Me too!
  • + 1
 That sucks man! Hope it all heals up well.
  • + 0
 Moral of the story. Dont brake or you'll get broke! Heel up quick Jesse. Had my fantasy league money on
  • + 1
 Dang, had all my money on you this year… heal up soon
  • + 5
 Me too! Thanks
  • + 1
 It's like an invisible hand slamming you in the tree
  • + 1
 Major Bummer... get well soon Jesse
  • + 1
 Who's gonna' help your dad move rocks in Emerald?
  • + 1
 No*
  • + 1
 Get well soon shredder
  • + 1
 Heal up fast Jesse! Smile
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