Jesse Carlsson is the WeeklyRider! He's a former BMX world champion, a theoretical physics PhD, private equity investor, Curve Cycling director and endurance cycling character that is able to push past physical and mental barriers that most of us can't even imagine.
Curve Cycling Monster Cross Titanium. OK, so I’m biased. I’m one of the co-owners of Curve Cycling but this is the bike I’ve been dreaming about for some time now. It has cyclo-cross geometry but it’s built around an MTB fork. Is it a drop-bar 29er MTB or a CX bike with huge tyre clearance? It’s both! I love long distance, all-terrain riding.
For me, a perfect day out will include some bitumen, sketchy fire road climbs and flowy single track over a couple of hundred km. Drop bars allow plenty of hand positions on long adventures, titanium has enough compliance to smooth out the rough terrain but it’s light enough to make climbing a breeze, and super wide 29” tyres allow confidence on any surface.
What is your favourite local ride
Definitely the Belgie ride in Melbourne on Wednesday mornings. It’s not your everyday roadie bunch. The group usually has a mix of road and cyclo-cross bikes. Cyclo-cross bikes for the tame and road bikes for the thrill seekers! The route covers all sorts of terrain: sketchy unpaved laneways through Melbourne’s leafy suburbs, single track, bike paths and connecting sections of bitumen. The route is organic, with the riders up front deciding which options to take or avoid. Groans are sometimes heard as the group is occasionally forced to tackle the infamous grassy knoll – a nasty climb on grass where there’s no such thing as a good line. Everyone finishes with a story to tell!
What is your current cycling goal
I’m starting to do some more riding to prepare for the Race to the Rock in September this year. It’s a 2,300km unsupported race from Adelaide to Uluru, mostly off-road through some very remote country. It’s a bikepacking event similar to the Tour Divide, which I raced in 2013. Riders have to carry all their own equipment and finding food, water and places to sleep along the way. There’s no support car and hardly any phone reception out there! It’s going to be an adventure, that’s for sure.
When I am on the bike I....
am hopefully escaping the city, its bad air and angry drivers. Hopefully I’m in a forest somewhere thinking that there’s more oxygen in the air, or rolling along a ridge-line wondering whether there’s a track along the next ridge in view.
How did your love of bikes come about?
It feels like I’ve been riding bikes forever. I started racing BMX at age five and spent many years racing as much as possible and skipping uni lectures to build trails with my mates. I caught the endurance bug in the 2000’s and somehow I’ve gone from doing well at events lasting 40 second to having a go at those lasting 400 hours.
Share a cycling memory
Rolling towards the finish of the Trans Am bike race as the winner in 2015 was pretty special. It felt like a very long day coming to an end. In reality it was the end of nearly 19 eventful days on the road with challenges including the high mountains of Colorado, the great plains of Kansas, food poisoning, intense tropical storms, tornadoes and hundreds of dog chases!
I raced the event to test ride our new Curve Cycling Belgie Titanium road bike frame. It was an amazing feeling to finish a massive 6,800 km adventure across the US, but to do it on a bike that Steve, Adam and I (my partners at Curve) conceived and had built took it up to another level.
I love to ride because....
I love to head out on adventures. I think we’re all born with a need to explore and to connect with nature and the outdoors. The bike is such a great vehicle for adventure. With the advent of ultra-light camping gear you can cover huge distances, travel into remote places and still carry all the gear that you need to stay safe and reasonably comfortable. I reckon that’s pretty cool!
Jesse is supported by Curve Cycling (full disclosure – He's a co-owner), Rapha Australia, SP Dynamo, kLite.com.au and Bike Bag Dude.
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