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The Pinkbike Podcast: Episode 135 - Jesse Melamed on Data Acquisition, EWS Doping, & Training for Enduros

Jul 21, 2022
by Mike Levy  
Pinkbike Podcast
Art by Taj Mihelich

With a victory in Austria and a runner-up spot in Italy seeing him sit second overall in the series, Rocky Mountain's Jesse Melamed is having a hell of a year on the Enduro World Racing circuit. But winning a 13-minute-long EWS stage doesn't come without an incredible amount of not just hard work and discipline, but also plenty of injuries and what-could've-been moments over the years. Jesse also has an engineering degree and is one of the most technically astute racers around, even going so far as to purchase his own data acquisition system that he runs at every race and often at home as well.

Jesse Melamed needs no comment here...
2022 Rocky Mountain Race Face Enduro Team

Episode 135 sees Jesse sit down in my shop to chat about how relatively soft suspension and data acquisition have allowed him to go even quicker, the importance of analyzing and understanding his crashes and how that led him to a better bike set-up, not having a mentor while racing, his love of training hard, doping in enduro racing, and a whole bunch more.

Got a question for Jesse? Put 'em in the comment section below and he might give you an answer.

July 21st, 2022

Winning a 13-minute-long EWS stage is no joke.

Featuring a rotating cast of the editorial team and other guests, the Pinkbike podcast is a weekly update on all the latest stories from around the world of mountain biking, as well as some frank discussion about tech, racing, and everything in between.

This week's Pinkbike Podcast is presented by Yakima.


Previous Pinkbike Podcasts
Episode 1 - Why Are Bikes So Expensive?
Episode 2 - Where the Hell is the Grim Donut?
Episode 3 - Pond Beaver Tech
Episode 4 - Why is Every Bike a Trail Bike?
Episode 5 - Can You Trust Bike Reviews?
Episode 6 - Over Biked Or Under Biked?
Episode 7 - Wild Project Bikes
Episode 8 - Do We Need an Even Larger Wheel Size?
Episode 9 - Why Are We Doing a Cross-Country Field Test?
Episode 10 - Getting Nerdy About Bike Setup
Episode 11 - Are We Going Racing This Year?
Episode 12 - What's the Future of Bike Shops?
Episode 13 - Are Bikes Too Regular Now?
Episode 14 - What Bikes Would Pinkbike Editors Buy?
Episode 15 - What's Holding Mountain Biking Back?
Episode 16 - Who's Your Mountain Biking Hero?
Episode 17 - XC Field Test Insider
Episode 18 - Electronics on your Mountain Bike: Good or Bad?
Episode 19 - The Hardtail Episode
Episode 20 - MTB Conspiracy Theories
Episode 21 - Stuff We Were Wrong About
Episode 22 - Does Your Riding Style Match Your Personality?
Episode 23 - Grim Donut 2 is Live!
Episode 24 - Why Even Buy a DH Bike?
Episode 25 - Fall Field Test Preview
Episode 26 - The Three Most Important Mountain Bikes
Episode 27 - The World Champs Special
Episode 28 - All About Women's Bikes
Episode 29 - Freeride or Die
Episode 30 - Would You Rather?
Episode 31 - Wet Weather Riding Tips & Tricks
Episode 32 - What Needs to Change in the Bike Industry?
Episode 33 - Behind the Scenes at Pinkbike Academy
Episode 34 - Grilling Levy About Field Test Trail Bikes (and His Bonspiel)
Episode 35 - Story Time - Stranger Than Fiction
Episode 36 - Grilling Kazimer about Field Test Enduro Bikes
Episode 37 - The 2020 Privateer Season with Ben Cathro
Episode 38 - Editors Defend Their 2020 Best-Of Picks
Episode 39 - Predicting the Future of Mountain Biking
Episode 40 - The Pinkbike Awards!
Episode 41 - Racing Rumours and Team Changes
Episode 42 - Mountain Biking's Guilty Pleasures
Episode 43 - Dangerholm's Wildest Custom Mountain Bikes
Episode 44 - Mountain Bike Suspension Decoded
Episode 45 - What Makes a Good Riding Buddy
Episode 46 - The RockShox Zeb vs Fox 38 Deep Dive
Episode 47 - High Pivot Bikes: The Good, The Bad, and The Why?
Episode 48 - Rides That Went Horribly Wrong... & Why That Made Them So Good
Episode 49 - What's the Best DH Bike?
Episode 50 - Are Bikes Actually Getting Less Expensive? (Value Bike Field Test Preview)
Episode 51 - Should MTB Media Post Spy Shots?
Episode 52 - Our Most Embarrassing MTB Moments
Episode 53 - Should Climbers Still Have the Right of Way?
Episode 54 - Best and Worst MTB Product Marketing
Episode 55 - Big Dumb Rides & Staying Motivated
Episode 56 - What Were the Most Important Inventions in Mountain Biking?
Episode 57 - What Were the Best (and Worst) Trends in Mountain Biking?
Episode 58 - Debunking Mountain Biking's Biggest Myths
Episode 59 - Value Bike Field Trip Surprises & Spoilers
Episode 60 - What Kind of Mountain Biker Do You Want to Be?
Episode 61 - Athlete Pay, Lycra, Equality and More from the State of the Sport Survey
Episode 62 - Editor Preferences and Why They Matter
Episode 63 - Our Best (And Worst) Bike Buying Advice
Episode 64 - Who's On Your MTB Mount Rushmore?
Episode 65 - The Hardtail Episode
Episode 66 - The Best and Worst of Repairing Bikes
Episode 67 - The Story of Mountain Biking's Most Interesting Man: Richard Cunningham
Episode 68 - Who Are Mountain Biking's Unsung Heroes?
Episode 69 - The Good, Bad, and Strange Bikes We've Owned - Part 1
Episode 70 - The Good, Bad, and Strange Bikes We've Owned - Part 2
Episode 71 - The Story of Mountain Biking's Most Interesting Man: Richard Cunningham - A Pinkbike Podcast Special, Part 2
Episode 72 - Hey Outers!
Episode 73 - The Details That Matter... and Some That Shouldn't
Episode 74 - The Best Trails We've Ridden and What Makes Them So Special
Episode 75 - Things MTB Brands Waste Money On
Episode 76 - MTB Originals and Copycats
Episode 77 - Interview with Outside CEO, Robin Thurston
Episode 78 - Modern Geometry Explained
Episode 79 - What's the Future of eMTBs?
Episode 80 - The Best Vehicles for Mountain Bikers
Episode 81 - You've Got Questions, We've (Maybe) Got Answers
Episode 82 - Behind the Scenes at Field Test
Episode 83 - Does Carbon Fiber Belong On Your Mountain Bike?
Episode 84 - Explaining RockShox's Computer Controlled Suspension
Episode 85 - Is the Red Bull Rampage Too Slopestyle?
Episode 86 - Greg Minnaar on the Honda DH Bike, World Cup Racing, and Staying Fast Forever
Episode 87 - How to Love Riding When it's Cold and Wet
Episode 88 - Mountain Biking on a Budget
Episode 89 - The Derailleur Pickle
Episode 90 - Is Supre the Future of Trouble-Free Drivetrains? (with Cedric Eveleigh of Lal Bikes)
Episode 91 - Riding Every Double Black in the Whistler Bike Park with Christina Chappetta
Episode 92 - Does Bike Weight Really Matter?
Episode 93 - Staying Motivated and Overcoming Burnout
Episode 94 - PBA Contestant Tori Wood on Her First Race and Finding the Right Mindset
Episode 95 - Field Test Down-Country Bike Debrief
Episode 96 - PBA Contestant Israel Carrillo on Riding in Mexico and Why It's Not Always About Speed
Episode 97 - Can We Predict the Future of Mountain Biking?
Episode 98 - Field Test Trail Bike Debrief
Episode 99 - New Year, New You?
Episode 100 - Q&A with the PB Editors
Episode 101 - MTB Tradeshows Explained
Episode 102 - Should MTB Media Be Going to Press Camps?
Episode 103 - Secrets from the World Cup Pits with Henry Quinney
Episode 104 - Lachlan Morton on How to be a Happy Bike Racer and the World's Longest Climb
Episode 105 - The 3 Bike Budget Challenge
Episode 106 - What's Your Ideal Ride Look Like?
Episode 107 - How (And Why) Did You Start Mountain Biking?
Episode 108 - Behind the Scenes at the Value Bike Field Test
Episode 109 - Berm Peak's Seth Alvo on Making Videos 24/7, Soul Rides, and Building a Bike Park
Episode 110 - Trying (and Failing) to Reinvent the Mountain Bike
Episode 111 - The Pinkbike Racing Podcast: Episode #1 - It's All Downhill From Here
Episode 112 - The Pinkbike Racing Podcast: Episode #2 - The Lourdes World Cup Post-Race Wrap-Up
Episode 113 - PB Editors Answer Your Questions (again)
Episode 114 - The Placebo Effect and Your New Mountain Bike
Episode 115 - We Are One's CEO Talks Future DH Bike, E-Bikes, & Domestic Manufacturing
Episode 116 - New Bikes and Gear from Sea Otter
Episode 117 - Mountain Biking's Worst (or Best) Cliché Crimes
Episode 118 - Music and Mountain Biking
Episode 119 - Road Trips Gone Horribly Wrong
Episode 120 - Gee Atherton on Titanium Additive Manufacturing, Million Dollar Machines, and 3 New Bikes
Episode 121 - How To Film Rampage & Field Tests with the PB Team
Episode 122 - Do Social Media & Mountain Biking Go Together?
Episode 123 - The Pinkbike Racing Podcast: Episode #3 - Fort William World Cup Wrap-Up
Episode 124 - Bike Parks or E-Bikes?
Episode 125 - Nino Schurter's Mechanic on Prepping Race Bikes & His Favorite Tools
Episode 126 - "One More Run" and Other MTB Superstitions
Episode 127 - The Pinkbike Racing Podcast: Episode #4 - Leogang World Cup Wrap-Up
Episode 128 - Summer Solstice Adventures
Episode 129 - Are There Too Many MTB Videos? Interview w/ IFHT's Jason Lucas
Episode 130 - Aaron Gwin on High-Pivot DH Bikes, Chasing the Money, & Riding with Eli Tomac
Episode 131 - PB Editor Seb Stott on Geometry, Lock-Outs, Fickle Brakes, & Physics in Bike Reviews
Episode 132 - How To Survive the Wildest Multi-Day Enduro Race
Episode 133 - The Pinkbike Racing Podcast: Episode #5 - Lenzerheide World Cup DH Post-Race Wrap-Up
Episode 134 - Racing Controversy, Prototype DH Bikes, & Drivetrains From The Future

Author Info:
mikelevy avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2005
2,032 articles
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  • 67 0
 Jessie seems like a righteous dude. I wish him continued success.
  • 27 0
 Thanks a lot!
  • 20 0
 Amazing. Great questions and Jesse totally open to answering them. Cant wait for a parts 2-10 haha
  • 16 0
 It was a good conversation! I really like Levy's style.
  • 10 0
 Jesse how do you turn the climbing legs back on after big descents? Under fatigue with those sustained DH sections and transitions back to pitchy climbs. Also DH sprint breathing and getting it back under control.
  • 30 0
 Slowly. I take my time to get myself climb ready; gloves off, goggles in their bag, some food, water, and then I ease back into climbing slowly.
The first step in getting the breathe under control is to not let it get out of control, I try to keep it steady as long as possible and unless I am going balls out I can usually manage to do that.
  • 5 0
 Shout out to the NoFlow Zone! For me it's the Westside, but totally agree... best trails are not in the park. The park is great, but the valley is astounding. So for EWS, less bike park and bigger days? Such a tricky balance of visibility, maintenance, and giving you racers what you want. Bring back Crankzilla! And props to Rocky for an amazing Rocky/Crankworx/WORCA collab - watch for it! Need an Altitude? Stay tuned!
  • 4 0
 The jump trails are worth it! But I like trail riding and whistler has a lot of goods for that!
  • 1 0
 Oh I totally loved Westside trails, definitely my most favourite area
  • 7 0
 Glad to see Jesse is such a chill dude. Def rooting for him to take the overall this year!
  • 7 0
 Thank you! I'll do my best!
  • 5 0
 Levy referenced the issue of pushing hard when feeling bloated by food or liquids on the long days racing. Do you ever consider using a sphincter plug like Richie Rude has been using from his new sponsor(PLUGZ)?
  • 12 0
 I'm working on my own sponsor in that area, coming out with a pro-model.
  • 7 0
 This was a really fun listen. Awesome to hear Jesse's perspective.
  • 7 0
 Appreciate it!
  • 3 0
 Is there a risk of Levy becoming a legit journo / presenter? Great questions well answered... Jesse's turn on Downtime was really good as well, seems like a top guy, definitely quality rider. Genuinely think we're really lucky with the access these podcasts have to the downhill and EWS riders, and characters around the sport. With Cathro and co taking it to the next level.
  • 5 0
 Jesse: favourite mid race day snack? Do you ever eat anything resembling a full meal on a long race day?
  • 9 0
 On race day I try not to be picky as we just need calories, so I have all kinds of different fuel. Candy is probably my favourite as I don't really eat it outside of race day.

If we are given time for lunch mid day I usually have a pasta salad of some sort, or just another pb&j. But these days we are only getting 20-30 minutes for a pit stop so it isn't much time to get a big meal in before pedalling again.
  • 6 0
 @JesseMelamed: Candy is the best for big days, i recently discovered you can buy a pack of all pink starbursts and i haven't looked back
  • 3 0
 @JesseMelamed: i find jaffa cakes or packs of fig rolls better than packs of sweets
  • 1 0
 @JesseMelamed: Thanks for the detail, all the best.
  • 2 0
 @slimjimbikes: oh yea, fig newtons are good! Make my mouth a bit dry though.
  • 5 0
 Im going to be racing in my first EWS 100 in whistler in a couple weeks, any last minute advice for someone new to racing?
  • 17 0
 Plan out your practice and race days once you know the course. Food, directions, timing. That way you can just focus on riding and having fun with all the rest dialled.
  • 6 0
 @downtimepodcast did a couple shows fairly recently covering this very topic. You should check them out.
  • 1 0
 @IMeasureStuff: I will give it a listen! thanks.
  • 2 0
 Hey, I've seen you throwing back flips off some pretty big cliffs on skis, do every worry about hurting yourself and messing up your race season or that easy/safe compared to what you do on a bike?

*Edit: Also, why are these podcasts so short, I could listen to Jesse and Mike talk about biking for hours!
  • 6 0
 Unfortunately I had an appointment I had to run to otherwise I could have kept talking for a lot longer! Yes I do worry about that, but I really only ski tour these days so it's good base training in the winter and I do my best to keep myself safe.
  • 2 0
 Really interesting episode. It's cool how open Jesse is in both podcast form and in his/MGM's videos. I got much more into the EWS during lockdown in 2020, and Jesse's awesome videos from that 'season' really helped out. It's great to see the top riders putting out so much content, and being so open/approachable/friendly. I didn't realise about the engineering background, but that certainly makes more sense of all the in-depth tinkering and puzzling!

Just a note for Levy/the mods, it seems in my podcast feed there are two Podcast #132s, no Podcast #133 and two Podcast #135s. In the podcast list in the article, they're numbered correctly but you've missed out the PBR Podcast #6 from Vallnord which would technically be #135, with this being #136.
  • 4 0
 I can't help it, I need to know how it all works, whatever it is.
  • 2 0
 those videos from @JesseMelamed where the best out there, all the tweaks and changes on the bike, the whys really well explained, the trail videos with ALN, Miranda and Remi also really good. Keep the good work Jesse!
  • 5 0
 Anybody know what EVOC pack he was referencing?
  • 11 0
 @JesseMelamed: hey that racer guy replied comment, sweet!
  • 2 0
 @JesseMelamed: If you want an even better setup, swap out the standard bladder for a pressurized one, like the Auquamira. The water will shoot out so you don't have to suck it out, and it allows you to spray water if needed.
  • 2 11
flag wburnes FL (Jul 21, 2022 at 18:18) (Below Threshold)
 @JesseMelamed: Also Jesse, I'm shocked that you didn't mention Creatine Monohydrate as part of your supplement stack. It is without question the best supplement, especially for athletes (also Vitamin D, and Fish Oil). You are at a major disadvantage without it.

Benefits of supplementing creatine if you don't already know:

Improves muscle recovery after exercise or injury, muscle endurance, muscle fullness, muscle strength, and anaerobic running capacity.

Reduces the severity of concussions, traumatic brain injury, and dementia.
Improves intelligence, reasoning, and short-term memory performance (especially under sleep deprivation), allows your body to absorb more water, improves your ability to utilize, create, and store creatine.

  • 1 0
 @wburnes: Interesting!
  • 3 0
 @wburnes: I just didn't mention it... I take it, and Vit D and Fish oil. I'm on it!
  • 2 0
 @JesseMelamed: looks like the bladder has recently been updated
  • 4 0
 Great interview, especially the suspension settings part. The one with Richie was gold Big Grin
Good luck at home soil Jesse!
  • 2 0
 Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for listening.
  • 2 0
 Holy shit, that comment from @jessemelamed at roughly 2min about going in between speed hit home. I was literally scrubbing gravel out of my knee from a ride where I did just that earlier today listening to the podcast.
  • 1 0
 Edit: roughly *27 min in
  • 4 0
 @mechaNICK: Had to listen to the whole thing to find that! But it's true, you need to ride the speed you ride at the most. And to get faster is just slowly lifting that speed.
  • 1 0
 @JesseMelamed: it was more that I was bored, let a gap open so I could ride up to it, but was still in bored brain mode.
  • 1 0
 Yo Jesse, do you feel the tall guys with all the body suspension and weight have an edge on the downhill? You look like you have long arms and legs so Im sure that fills in the gap somewhat. But I have a talented friend who swears the tall guys basically by nature have a very competitive edge compared to him being on the shorter side.
  • 3 0
 Look at the top DH racers, aside from the anomalous Peaty and Greg, all the top pros are distinctly average height. What you gain in lever length you lose in leverage.
  • 2 0
 @L0rdTom: how does increased lever length lose leverage lol what kind of nonsense is this
  • 2 0
 For sure they gain an advantage with their limbs acting as longer suspension, but then they also have more size and weight to get around the trails which can be cumbersome.
  • 1 0
 @Yody: its basic mechanics really, if you increase the length of your femur, your hip flexor has to lift the weight of your lower leg at a greater distance (worse leverage.) Good for effector speed but bad for moment force.
  • 1 0
 @L0rdTom: ok ok except with the longer femur length you're already on top of the rear axle without barely having to move. Since that's what your leveraging around, the longer femur has advantage. This is why a taller rider can hoist a manual without proper technique while a shorter rider has to really nail it. This is also why taller riders can ride longer chain stays and still easily generate lift. While shorter riders have a much harder time with long stays and long front ends. Also why companies are finally starting to adjust stay lengths by size.
  • 1 0
 @Yody: yeah essentially bikes are still too small for tall people. Front and rear centre ratios are also way out as you said.
  • 1 0
 I feel the part where you say you “can’t just go down the trail” you speak that you need to attack the downhill and that hits home so hard. I don’t desire to just trail ride when I’m on a really good bike I desire to attack it like a stage, sometimes up and down in the rolling hills of the east coast md/de/pa. When it’s not a race it’s still a race, 90% downhill is the safest spot and try to give the other 10% but don’t bring the heart rate up but try to keep the roll up. It’s a science and once you look at it by the math you can never get out. Once you start riding with kids in a trailer or go out biking with 3 generations of family then biking takes a whole new meaning.
  • 1 0
 It's true! Looks like you have it figured out!
  • 1 0
 Awesome podcast, super insightful. Jesse, can you share some more details on bike setup? Specifically when you mentioned running the bike soft, chainstay length, stem length. Also you what rise bars do you run and how as this affected your performance on the bike?
  • 1 0
 quite of lot of fork and shock sag, 437CS length and 40mm stem length. 40mm rise bars as well.
  • 1 0
 double posting this - apologies

@mikelevy @mikekazimer - how about a podcast episode dedicated specifically to the history of privateers and DH (and Enduro) racing since the new $3000 to $20,000 fee is pretty much going to terminate them from existence - like the lepers & pleebs they are!

I've been reading up on this lately and only scratching the surface but there are some comments in the Levy's "Racing Rumours" article (July 26) here that seem to suggest some of the fans could give 3 s***'s about privateers...that's fine too - opinions. I think they are essential - the roots & the soul of the whole thing...
  • 1 0
 Hey. Really enjoyed the episode overall. Quick somewhat unrelated comment. I was excited to hear your sponsor for the episode was Yakima as I am looking for a new bike rack. However, it looks like the discount code only works in the US! What's the deal with not having an option for Canada?
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy can we get a pod episode going back through comments of older product releases and laughing at the hot takes? My buddy has been on his Foxy XR for a few years now and as we were talking through the slightly dated geo, took a look at the release article and all the reactions of how extreme it was back when it was announced.
  • 5 0
 comments are dope!
  • 6 0
 Cool! Comments!
  • 5 0
 yes lad!
  • 3 0
 Great to see you and the RM crew up at the top! Such good people, hard workers. Well deserved success
  • 3 0
 Thank you! Good bike too!
  • 2 0
 Really enjoy this type of episode. Any podcast with Jesse is always a good one. Really like the insight and hearing him nerd out about bikes.
  • 1 0
 Stoked you liked it!
  • 2 0
 What was jesse's finding on arm pump? He said he tested some things but then there was a joke and a change of subject. Did I miss an answer?
  • 3 0
 Yea I just said gloves, grips, handlebars and fork setup. Find what works best for you.
  • 1 0
 @JesseMelamed: Out of curiosity, is that part of the reason you switched from Renthal grips to Race Face grips?
  • 2 0
 Jesse embodies everything that is good about mountain biking. What a dude Can wait to see him on the podium at the end of the season!
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy question for Seb the geo guru. Matching stem length to fork offset: anything to it or just pseudoscience?
  • 2 0
 Any idea what telemetry system Jesse is using?
edit: never mind. I re-listened and he mentions Motion Instruments.
  • 3 0
 That's the one!
  • 2 0
 Boys. When is the next proper PB podcast gonna drop? Good lord. I'm getting carpal tunnel on the refresh button.
  • 2 0
 We're all at Crankweek right now and I'm recording a handful of podcasts while we're here. Incoming, hopefully tomorrow afternoon Smile
  • 2 0
 EWS doping?! That's not a thing.
  • 6 2
 sharing a bottle is caring!
  • 5 0
 I hope so!
  • 1 0
 You haven't ride DH Bikes but still won a DH race in front of Finn Illes...Was that the pace setting you use to go?
  • 3 0
 That was just really precise riding on an enduro bike.
  • 1 0
 @JesseMelamed a little late on the comment, but what's your go to pancake recipe!?
  • 2 2
 The double entendre in there was....none of our business...but pretty funny.
  • 3 0
  • 2 0
 Enjoyed this episode!
  • 1 0
 Glad to hear!
  • 1 0
 The real unasked question - who's your f1 team?
  • 1 0
 cue a world wide run on 40mm stems.
  • 1 0
 Hello Jesse, do you manage to make a decent living from your sport ?

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