Is the racing line always faster?

20 May 2020

The racing line - since the Victorians first threw a billiously-trousered leg over a 'safety' cycle and headed for the corner at the end of their gravel driveway it has been something that cyclists have chased. Rather than going from 'A' to 'B' in a nice, smooth, orderly fashion there's always been the option to get between aforementioned venues via a load of roots and maybe a hop over a dirty great rock that can potentially slash your journey time in half. 

Line hunting is something that Enduro World Series racers do perhaps better than anyone else. Track time is extremely limited (only one full run of each stage in practice and some track walking being allowed) and so working out the quickest way down a stage, quickly is key. But is the racing line, with all its intrcacies and permeations, always the quickest way? Is there nothing to be said for simply going flat-out on the (whisper it) more obvious route?

In his latest YouTube videoes, Jesse Melamed set out to answer exactly that! First of all, the Rocky Mountain Race Face rider explains how to determine the racing line:

And once that was sorted, he went back to the top to attempt to work out if it was always faster:

SPOILER: Aside from the fact that Jesse has a future in course previewing once he's done with racing we learnt that when ridden at his internal 80% level, he was over 15 seconds quicker on a trail he knows well using the racing line. There are of course many variables in mountain biking but it's impressive how that time adds up when each corner and section is analysed and evaluated without even pushing things out to race pace.

Don't forget to like and subscribe to Jesse's YouTube channel to avoid missing out on his next video!