Wheelworks Ambassador: Jesse Cseh
We have ambassadors for three reasons:
- They really push their equipment and that gives us insight into what works and what doesn’t.
- We love hearing their stories and adventures. Cycling is all about pushing your limits, whether that’s physical or mental, and nothing gets us more excited helping riders seek.
- They’re bloody nice people and we love supporting them. Our ambassadors are people that we care about, who are involved in their niche of the sport, and whom are genuinely lovely people.
Over the next few weeks we’ve got a handful of stories to share from our ambassadors ranging from Enduro shredders to gravel adventures to backcountry missions on both acoustic and electric bikes.
Jesse Cseh epitomizes our ambassador attributes. I loved seeing him Everest the grade 5 trail Yeah Gnar and I was thrilled when he told me he’d booked flights to my Canadian homeland to compete at the Whistler round of the Enduro World Series; Here’s his story.
Quite some time ago, I decided that one day I wanted to travel overseas to race my bike. At the time a lot of my mates had the same mindset, but as time went on people dropped off, went away to university, stopped riding because they got bored of it or just decided to go off in another direction. I always stayed true to what I wanted to do. As someone driven by new experiences and meeting new people in new places it never went off my radar.
The Enduro World Series is basically the pinnacle of my sport. A collection of races across the world, in pretty amazing places. The concept of traveling the world to do something I love and am passionate about is a pretty attractive one. The stars aligned for me earlier in the year and I decided to push send on getting to a few rounds in Canada and North America as my first overseas racing venture. The timing was perfect to trade cold, windy Wellington for a Northern Hemisphere summer.
The first race I had lined up was the Whistler EWS. If you have heard of mountain biking you've heard of Whistler; it was always a dream to get out here from a young age. Usually a staple location every year, an EWS had not gone ahead since 2019 due to Covid-19 restrictions.
I put absolutely no pressure upon myself for my first international Elite race, and this put me into potentially the most relaxed and calm headspace I have ever been in. My plan was to just feel it out and get an idea for what it takes to perform at the highest level. I had arrived in Whistler about a week and a half out from the race, with ideas of doing a bit of riding beforehand and then having a few days off to rest before Practice started the following Friday. However anyone that knows me knows I can't really operate like this. The week of the race started with a hike-a-bike mission way up into the Alpine in Squamish, guided by Tom Bradshaw. I was assured it was a small mission but my two Clif bars did not do the job. This followed with 3 days in the bikepark enjoying myself far too much.
By the time Practice came around I had clocked up about 10,000 metres of descending and covered off 150kms of riding…. you could say I was well rested. Practice was tough; extremely physical stages and the temperature sitting mid-thirties made for a seriously honest day out. It was somewhat reassuring to see everyone struggling up the final climbs on the day. Sadly the iconic Top of the World trail had not been opened in time for us to race due to snow coverage at the top of the mountain. However the race organisers had something else planned for our Pro stage. A memorial trail for Stevie Smith, named 1199, made up of features you would find on a World Cup downhill track. This was the toughest stage of our weekend by far, following from 1199 would be a savage fireroad climb, followed by bike park trails with sweeping berms and savage rock sections waiting to swallow you whole; the winning time, 8 and a half minutes.
Race day started well. I was prepped, relaxed and chomping at the bit to get on the clock. I ticked off a few good stages in the morning as I started to warm up, only having issues with catching riders in front of me. There always has to be a spanner in the works though…
As a bicycle mechanic by trade I consider myself pretty handy with keeping my bike in tip top shape, however, something always has to go wrong. I had noticed my chainring was loose the night before the race but could not get my hands on the correct tool to tighten it. Instead a hammer and punch were used to get it as tight as possible - it only had to last one day, right? In true fashion, midway down the 4th stage, my chainring fell off the crank arm and I was left pumping my way to the finish line. With no pressure on my shoulders for this race I just trucked on, walked to the top of the last stage, begged for as many cable ties as I could, and cable tied the damn thing to my crank. Cable ties can fix anything. Thankfully these held and me and my bike finished in one piece, kind of.
Prior to my trip I had taken a spare Wheelworks FLITE Enduro rear wheel with me for insurance, and after spending some time riding and seeing the damage done to rear wheels in the lead up this was a good choice, however wheel issues might be the only thing I didn't have, and that is something I’m seriously impressed with. I had the right shoes for the job (FLITE Enduro Carbon wheels) with DH casing tyres and Cushcore fitted front and rear. I witnessed close to 10 wheels blow up in the week leading up to the race due to the extremely dry and blown out rocky course so having the confidence to not worry about my wheels one bit is a huge thing.
My only goal heading overseas was to crack into the top 100 Elite ranks and I managed to score that with 67th when all the dust had settled. This was the first race I've ever been to and have been content with just finishing. Each individual stage left me feeling like I just finished a huge day out. A combination of high heat and incredibly physically demanding trails made for a very challenging race. Plus the already blown out legs and forearms from an honest week of bike park had set me up well for a post race bonk. The complimentary post race beverage hit me pretty hard and that was EWS Whistler.
- Jesse Cseh