ITALY – Elite enduro racer Jack Menzies found his flow carving down mountains this month and it has given the confident 19-year-old some assurance for the next step in his career.
Menzies won U21 silver at the Enduro World Series (EWS) Finale Ligure in Italy on Sept. 19, one of the biggest downhill bike races on the calendar, while brushing off what has been an up-and-down season for the Canmore native.
"My second place was a good ride on the day and a great stepping stone to where I want to be," said Menzies in an email.
The Finale Ligure is a notoriously difficult descent with steep drops, high speeds, rocks, switchbacks and long courses, and it didn't make things easier that it was hot and humid conditions on the ocean side in northwest Italy.
However, following five stages of racing among the highest level of enduro riders, Menzies was in his element.
"I feel like I can race and perform in any conditions, so the conditions suit me no matter what they may be," he said.
The silver was Menzies second U21 podium this month and third top-five finish, which bumped up his overall ranking to 13th in the world.
"September was a great month of racing for me, but I definitely didn’t have the best off-season of training leading up," he said. "Coming into my own was hard just not knowing where I would stack up in the race."
Stricken by injuries at the start of the EWS season, the Canmore native was only able to get on his bike four weeks before leaving for Europe, where the majority of competitions take place.
Riding throughout the second half of the season was a roller-coaster, Menzies said, but he focused on why he got into the fast-paced sport in the first place.
"Just telling myself that having fun is fast so all I need to do is have fun," he said. "This whole season's expectations are just to ride my bike and have fun so I’m going into the next and final round in Scotland with no expectations."
This weekend at the EWS Tweed Valley is Menzies final race in U21. He'll move up to Pro Men's division next year.
"This being my final year as a U21, I think I proved that I have the potential to move in to the elite ranks full steam ahead," Menzies said. "With a less than ideal preparation and start to the season, I’m excited to move in to next year. I think we have a great program with Forbidden [Synthesis] bikes, so only good things to come in 2022."