All professional enduro racers roll fast, and they all ride with distinctly-honed styles. Some folks leap gracefully over rough rock gardens, making bumpy sections look like paved footpaths, while other brutes charge directly through everything like feral brakeless dump trucks. Both approaches can be advantageous on the right day.
Occasionally there are athletes who can play both of those hands while adding their own spice to the line on the way down. Slovenian racer, Vid Persak, is one such trail magician. I recently rode with Vid on his back yard trails at Petzen Bike Park, and through the few turns when I could still see him I dumbfoundedly thought, “I have never seen anyone ride a bike like that.” He has the playful agility and bike handling skills of an accomplished slope-styler and can use those smooth arcs to outpace many of the best in the enduro business. Sprinkled with Vid’s “je ne sais quai” bike-dancing abilities, the young racer puts on a memorable show.
2019 marks Vid’s first season with the Orbea Enduro Team, and we wanted to draw an outline of how he reached this step in his racing career.
When did you start riding dirt?
I was always watching some fast locals riding downhill bikes. After a year of saving my money I made a “clever” decision and bought a BMX bike. I still don’t know why but this is how it all started and it was probably at the age of 13. After a while, I bought a second-hand downhill bike (MSC F4) which was super heavy and not too fun to ride. At the age of 15, I got my first enduro bike and this is where racing bikes started for me.
Who are some of your MTB racing influences?
I always look after people that are good at what they are doing. I think Richie Rude is the one who I admire the most. His style is effortless and with pure power!
Have you raced other MTB events or only enduro?
I started to race with my dad’s super old V-Brake XC bike on some local uphill races, but after I got my enduro bike I mostly focused on racing enduro.
What do you do to train for EWS events? How much time in the gym, versus riding the bike? How much time do you spend on the road bike?
I have been on a training program for the last four years. I am working with a coach from the college which has been amazing. He helped me so much and he still does. My normal week would consist of two gym sessions, three XC/road bike session, and 3-4 enduro sessions, but it all depends on the time of the year and how much I travel or race.
What is your favorite place to ride in Slovenia?
My favorite place is my home in the Carinthia region. This place is sick! It offers countless trails and views are always pretty. The best trail would probably be Petzen Thriller in the wet. It’s super sketchy, steep, and crazy. Just the way I like it!
What has been the most exciting EWS race for you thus far?
The most exciting EWS was my hometown Petzen/Jamnica race. All of my friends, family, and people I know were there! The atmosphere was sick and I was stoked to grab 5th place which was a huge relief after the hard work I was putting in. I am more than excited that we will be racing EWS at the same place next year!
Madeira is definitely a place I enjoyed a lot. I love the trails, atmosphere, people, and food over there. They always put so much effort into the race and I always had good results there!
You mentioned working with kids around mountain biking. What is that all about?
I am currently studying to be a PE teacher and working with the kids suits me well. Back home I am also working as a coach for a kids MTB program and I like it a lot. This year I had a chance to organize a Persaks Kids MTB Camp which was a pure success. We had more than 20 kids from all around Slovenia coaching bike skills. It’s awesome to see that you can give back to the community that gave me so much over my career!
What is your favorite thing about the new Orbea Rallon?
To be honest I have never ridden a bike that is so easy to handle and so fast when it comes to racing. I love the new linkage design which makes the bike so much more progressive and smooth in the back. It’s definitely something on this bike that makes you want to go ride!
What are your hopes for the future of your career?
My hope is to go step by step to the top and with not many injuries. I would like to step up my fitness strengths and bike technique to the limit. On the other hand, I would like to ride and have fun with what I am doing.
When not mountain biking, what are some other hobbies you enjoy?
I love skiing and riding motorbikes, but I am a big fan of outdoor sports so I am always keen to try something new.
What are three pieces of advice you would give to our readers to help them ride faster and with more confidence?
I would say 1. [Properly] set up your bike and suspension. 2. Go out and ride as much as you can but try to ride and master new trails/terrains. 3. Keep it simple and enjoy.
It’s not always about going big. Sometimes you need to take your time and be patient.
What is your favorite Slovenian food?
It’s hard to say but “kvocevi nudlni” are probably my favorite home region dessert. They are made from mixed pears wrapped into the dough, baked in an oven and served with a cup of homemade vanilla ice cream. You have to try this one day!