Bike: Rocky Mountain Bicycles Element 970
Tires: Maxxis Ardent Race (front), Maxxis Ikon (rear)
Front Pressure: 21
Fork: Fox 34 Evolution Series 120mm
Rear Shock: Fox Float Evolution Series 100mm
Front Ring: 32
Rear Cog: 42 (biggest)
“No backpack, pockets, enduro style. I’m wearing baggies so I have plenty of pockets to stuff things in.”
What did you change about your set up for today - Day 5 on the North Shore?
It hasn’t strayed much, I’ve just been going down in tire pressure because switching from what I know to what I don’t, I wanted to start with a higher tire pressure, so I wasn’t running too low. So I’ve gone a little bit lower in the tire pressure and everything else was set up pretty well by the Rocky Techs.
Did you seek out advice on what to run for the BC Bike Race?
I asked Dre (Hestler) quite a bit, and Quinn (Moberg). The bike’s set up – that thing is set up stock pretty well, it was just setting up pressures was the main thing and I put on my own handlebars and seat that I know – that’s really important, you want to sit on something that you’re used to. Other than that, it was pretty much just whatever the bike came with.
Have you done a stage race like this before?
No, but, enduros are basically stage racing. We usually have two days of practice and two days of racing, so it’s four big days in a row, so I understand how important recovery is and how to recover and what to take and what to do, so I think I have that figured out pretty well. And I know the feeling of starting a day like you can’t do it and then just kind of riding yourself into feeling good. And the constant fatigue, I’m used to that.
You’ve raced cross country before, how is your approach different here?
Definitely, Day 1 is really hard because it’s just such a shock to the system. I haven’t raced a full Marathon XC in probably five years and it took about a day or two to remember what it was like and how to pace yourself. It’s so much different than enduro. The first day I just went as hard as I could, and I definitely put myself at the red line and didn’t recover from that. Day 2 was better and every day I feel like I’ve just been getting better. I know when the front guys start sprinting, I know ‘okay, just let them go’ and I’ll just try to catch them on the descents. I’m happy with where I’ve been finishing – the first day I really wanted to prove that I could finish well, so after that, and I kind of did, I was like, ‘okay, I can just have fun and enjoy it more.’
And you are enjoying it more?
I am. It’s not easy, I’m still suffering, but at least I’m suffering in a good position. And the singletrack the last two days for sure, like yesterday, was Sechelt to Langdale, and that was amazing! I loved the singletrack climbing and descents because I grew up racing and riding XC, so I love good climbing, I love singletrack climbing – and yesterday was great for that. Today had some of it too, but it was so intense that you’re just struggling. And it’s steep here. Everyone knows that these last few days (Squamish and Whistler) are going to be steep climbing.
How as Day 3, Earls Cove to Sechelt, for you?
The long day? Yeah, that was hard. It was just kind of put your head down and keep the pedal turning. And I was lucky not to get caught by anyone, I mean it was good, but it was very hard and just long. You kinda get halfway through it and realized you still have an hour and a half left of it, it’s mentally challenging.
“Getting back into home territory, I have the option to stay at people’s houses, but I just want to stay in the tents and stay close to basecamp, it’s where everything is going on. And the BC Bike Race crew does such a good job that you don’t want to go away – they’re just pampering you, everything is there, ready for you, so you don’t want to leave that.”
What’s your overall experience been like with this size of an event compared to the EWS?
There are 600 racers here, that’s huge. We usually get, I guess, max 600, but you don’t see them all together. Here it’s so cool to have tent city, and everyone is just around and it’s bustling. It’s been sweet, everything is taken care of, you know? Getting back into home territory, I have the option to stay at people’s houses, but I just want to stay in the tents and stay close to basecamp, it’s where everything is going on. And the BC Bike Race crew does such a good job that you don’t want to go away – they’re just pampering you, everything is there, ready for you, so you don’t want to leave that. So, it’s been really good.
Coming into this, what’s your EWS season been like?
Good and bad. It’s been good. It started a little slow. We had some weather issues and it affected some of the top guys, but since then I’ve put up some good results and I’ve had one really good race, but I had a mechanical which kind of dropped me back, otherwise, it’s been great, I’ve been having a lot of fun and riding and finishing well.
What’s up next after this?
Aspen, Snowmass Colorado in a couple weeks at the end of the month. We finish this, and I have maybe just two weeks, it’s going to be close. I might be tired for that one, but I’ll be good to go for Whistler, so that’s all that matters.
Jesse went on to place 5th in Aspen and 1st in Whistler in the Enduro World Series and ended his season in 4th place overall.