Video: Jesse Melamed Tests if Taking the Racing Line Makes you Faster

May 16, 2020
by Jesse Melamed  

Alright, here is the full racing line! How much faster was it? Did I really go the same 80%? I really tried, but I probably ended up going just a little faster, but only because a lot of my lines fed into one another so well that the speed was very consistent and overall faster.

It was really fun piecing each line together and making the trail flow super well!


What's next?


66 Comments

  • 31 1
 If that's 80% I...don't know what to say?! Sheesh!
  • 69 1
 I should try to film one at 100% to see the difference! I'm curious myself haha
  • 6 1
 I felt like it was WARP-SPEED! totally freaking out of these trees coming up to my face. Jesse, you the man! Please keep 'em coming
  • 15 1
 @Fliberico: You get used to the trees around and I actually feel more safe in forests rather than out in the open. Not sure the reason why.
  • 8 2
 @JesseMelamed: this is the reason you can tell people,

‘Oh, you think the trees are your ally, but you merely adopted them. I was born in them molded by them. I didn't see the open until I was already a man; by then, it was nothing to me but blinding! The trees betray you, because they belong to me.’

...or not
  • 6 4
 @JesseMelamed: there’s an interview with James Hunt (that old playboy from F1 who raced Niki Lauda) where he talks about never going 100%, even in qualifying. He said something about being in control, because turning it up increases risk of mistakes and crashing way too much so it is counterproductive Smile
  • 4 2
 @WAKIdesigns: The art of racing against the clock is slightly different from a mass start race, where one can legitimately approach racing as the art of going as slow as possible while still finishing first!
  • 6 4
 @joeadnan: mhm, James talked about practice/ qualies as well. Anyhoo, I heard about the idea of “going slower to go faster” in biking from names like Neethling, Barel and Gene Hamilton, quite independent sources. I have also experienced it myself and heard it in numerous conversations with other people. There is simply a threshold of greatly diminishing returns where fight for minimal gains starts to bring too much risk for maximal losses. It’s hard to gauge, but it is a concept in racing. You can even see it first hand when Ben Cathro is talking lines. He sometimes talks about ehat chance do racers have to nail a particular rut or clear a particular gap and what time gain can be achieved. If you sesh a particular line and you get no more than 50/50 success at nailing it while gain is minimal, then well think twice. Risk vs reward- as simple as that
  • 2 1
 @JesseMelamed: I've always been the same way, especially on a moto. Always told people it's because I like the Impression of Speed, as opposed to Actual Speed. Don't imagine that applies to you, though!
  • 4 0
 @JesseMelamed: coming from
vermont, riding anywhere with no trees feels so weird!! Like the earth is naked. I like biking and skiing in the trees. Feels like home!!
  • 4 0
 @bikekrieg: Maybe thats why! Skiing! I grew up skiing in the trees and always felt safe in there.
  • 3 0
 @codypup: Maybe it is a way to gauge your speed more accurately?
  • 1 0
 @dubod22: I like it!
  • 5 0
 @WAKIdesigns:
@joeadnan

I would agree with Joe about racing against yourself and not others. It is easy to see when racing against others how much faster you may be required to go and if you think that is a risk worth taking.

When racing on your own it is hard to judge that speed and know how fast the others are going. I could try and limit all the risk I take and sometimes I could finish 30th and sometimes I might finish top 5. But not knowing how I might finish makes the speed I choose a risk. There is diminishing returns in diminishing results. Risks are part of the game and if I am in this for the long haul then I might tone it back, but that is another risk. I am in it to win, and I'm not risking losing my chance at that.
  • 1 3
 @JesseMelamed: all cool. I just brought a concept I heard about and could relate to Smile I absolutely get what you are saying. I have virtually zero idea about racing with others, I always lose my shit on competitions and rarely come close to my Strava times.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: remember when talking percentages hunt would always have to take in to account the number of coke bumps and lady lumps he’d consumed the night before race day
  • 1 3
 @jimoxbox: all F1 champions have been calculated in their own way... however the rumor has it, he took stuff even between the race and the night before the race... snif, snif - "Invulnerability" - Quake 2 voice said... sniff sniiiiiiiff "Haste" - ssssssniiiff sniiiiiiff "QUAD DAMAGE" - take me to the grid, quickly! - the race has been postponed due to rain James... "African undertakers dancing"
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns:
@jimoxbox

Not surprising with what they were doing, the sport was gnarly back then.
  • 18 1
 I think Jesse thinks 80% means he can still talk while riding haha
  • 14 1
 That's pretty much my thought.
  • 4 1
 @JesseMelamed: Well, either way your 80% is my 240% these days. Cool feature/video.
I'd like to see you do more of these. You got the knack, Kiddo. Commentating, etc. is a natural for you.
  • 3 1
 @RayDolor: Thanks for the compliment, helps me know that I am doing something right!
  • 9 1
 Sweet. Someone commented on one of these recent articles that the “funnest way” is always the best way down the trail. I used to feel that way, in the sense that the funnest way was to fully rail all berms, maximum pop off any lips, hitting every feature... in recent years I’ve started to feel that finding the fastest way down has become the funnest way down. I really enjoy trying to do what Jesse is doing, analyzing the trail for the quickest route and trying to link all those lines up. Not that there’s a “right” or “wrong.” But fast is fun!
  • 10 1
 There is so many different ways to ride a trail, and that's what makes it so fun! This one is fun to ride fast because I've ridden it so many times and I am stoked to have dialled in and confirmed all the best lines. Now that I know that I can experiment with others and try to find the stupid, but fun lines!
  • 2 1
 @JesseMelamed: that’s definitely a part of it: getting to know a trail and dialing in those lines. It’s like finding a new trail to some degree.
  • 2 1
 @BiNARYBiKE: Totally! The last long line in this video was a new find and I love it! Make's it so much faster and more fun.
  • 1 0
 @JesseMelamed: I am fully a fan of the stupid lines. It has the potential to make a group ride with never-evers as enjoyable as a ride with the bros...
  • 1 0
 @xBLASTOFFx: Huge benefit of the stupid lines haha. That's why I'm always ok riding with any level of people!
  • 7 2
 Pretty sick for me to see Jesse break down this trail. I put a shitload of hours into the exit reroute with SORCA in 2014 (3:03 video time - 2:30 jesse time), and other work into in on my own time before/after that. The little drop off the log to pumping the roots is the way to get it! When I build I think about how I'm going to ride something but you gotta keep in mind Joeys and Jesses will both be riding it different than you think.
  • 3 1
 Awesome! Thank you for the work! I think its sweet when a trail evolves to the point where it can be ridden and enjoyed by different skill levels.
  • 7 1
 Great work Jesse. Impressive to see the time difference on those line choices. More of these please!
  • 12 1
 It was pretty surprising how much could come from just a little slow down and set up. Doing my best!
  • 7 1
 This guy f*cking rules. Keep up coming @jessemelamed
  • 6 1
 Thank you!
  • 12 1
 Yeah he should try EWS Wink
  • 1 1
 @JesseMelamed: should have said "keep em coming" but you probably understood that! I said it the other day but your simple advice is really easy to digest and put into practice for this mere mortal. I've set several PRs recently heeding your wisdom. And its really, really cool that you take time to respond to pretty much everyone in the comments. Thank YOU!
  • 3 1
 @gally-nh: That's awesome! I am glad to hear it has helped you, progression makes it all more fun.
Well you are welcome!
  • 1 0
 So there is only one corner on this whole trail that "I'm never sure about that one?" My run commentary "I'm never sure about that one or that one or most of those ones." Thanks again for these they are super enjoyable and informative.
  • 3 0
 haha. I think it's funny that I can ride a trail so many times and every time be unsure about the same section. So, stopping and breaking it down is a huge help. It could help on your trails where you don't need to know the best line, just be sure of where you are going.
  • 1 0
 I cannot imagine how this is 80%, but great vids. I'd like a bit more Cathro style 'draw the line though the corner in post' stuff so we can see more clearly what you're doing, but these have been a really fun watch. We only usually see the edit stuff from pro riders, so it's pretty interesting to see more of the thought process behind it and time differences between doing such minor things.

Main line with confidence all day long!
  • 1 0
 I was thinking about trying that but I will need to figure out how to do that first! One thing at a time, this time it was the time comparisons. Glad you liked it!
  • 1 0
 Crazy fast. Any general advice on how you can push so hard through those wet spots? Also, man you are so nimble cutting through the trees at literal blinding speed...is there any general practice a guy can do to help improve his "nimbleness" beyond just riding more of it? Cheers
  • 1 0
 Look ahead, look at your next point of safety. So you can push through the wet spot and know that if you get a little loose you can catch yourself at the next safe spot. I am not sure about that, you could try some reaction drills. But more riding is always a good idea.
  • 5 1
 80% is warp speed. I can't imagine 100%.
  • 3 0
 How about this race run from last year?
youtu.be/yQw2wrNj6QQ
  • 1 0
 @JesseMelamed: I would have fallen all the way down the mountain after all the pedaling lol, i'm glad to hear you breathe that heavy though i do the same thing on my race runs. Thats how "Pace" was described to me, "if you're not dying at the end of a stage you didn't push hard enough" keep up the great work! hopefully see you out there this year if we get to race!
  • 1 0
 @FreerideAK: Just make sure to save the hardest breathing until the end so you don't blow up!
  • 2 0
 Looks like he hit the jackpot on the Race Line. Line choice matters, it matter a lot.
  • 4 0
 Totally! Testing and confirming each line helped.
  • 1 0
 @JesseMelamed how would you define your 80% speed? Is it a matter of overall exertion, or comparing to full race pace, or ???
  • 2 0
 Good question! I said somewhere that I think 80% is where I can be talking about what I am doing while I am doing it. So a speed where I am in control and going as fast as possible without having any moments out of control. 90% would be in control but a few moments where I let it go and get out of control, and then 100% would just be full attack where I am pushing every section. Still in control but actively pushing that limit where I am unsure when I will be out of control.
  • 1 0
 @JesseMelamed: makes sense, thanks. The ability to talk for good commentary while still ripping is always impressive.
  • 1 0
 I need to invent a fun o meter. It measures your smiles and any happy sounds. I calibrate the machine by watching Cheech and Chong movies.
  • 1 0
 haha let me know how that goes!
  • 1 0
 So, if I get it right, with the French line, you're coming to the end faster. Hmmmm.
  • 5 0
 What is the French line these days? The first line is around the outside, the 2nd is on the inside and the 3rd is over the jumps. All different approaches but all the fastest way.
  • 1 0
 @JesseMelamed: that got ME stoked Razz any tips on how to stay calm and focused with trail features coming at you so fast? Sometimes i feel like i get mentally fried when i ride fast and im def not going that fast
  • 1 0
 @Gravity24: Try to do something like on your local trails. Break it down and memorize, have it in your mind before you start and then talk your way down it. And then do it again, but faster.
  • 1 0
 Jesse what was your average heart rate for each run? Do you also have an average power?
  • 1 0
 For this run my average heartrate was 158bpm, I do have a power meter but there wasn't much pedalling,
  • 1 0
 The verbal real time feedback is what make this vid great. Thanks and please keep it up. Rich - NZ
  • 1 0
 Glad to hear! It is hard to remember to always do it.
  • 1 0
 Woa impressive! Out of curiosity do you know what was your average and Max. speed ?
  • 2 0
 If I can trust Strava my average speed was 22.8km/h and my max speed was 49km/h

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