Canadian XTERRA legend, exercise physiologist and owner of CriticalSpeed.com Endurance Coaching Business in Calgary, Alberta, Calvin Zaryski, is racing as fast now at 47-years-old as he did when he was 37-years-old and has six World Titles to show for it.
He becomes just the eight amateur racer to win more than 5 world titles in XTERRA's 20 years, joining Ed Fattoumy (PC Division), Peter Wood (9), Wendy Minor (8), Tom Lyons (7), and Kent Robison, Barbara Peterson, and Cindi Toepel with six.
“My first XTERRA Worlds was back in 2004. I have done 10 World XTERRA Championships and have placed top 3 in every one unless a mechanical bike mishap occurred,” said Zaryski, who was the fastest North American amateur finisher this year.
XT: When did you take the lead?
CZ: I was third in my AG off the bike and knew I had to run fast and suffer more than ever. Within the first mile I caught number 2 and was happy to see that my legs and lungs were working well. I kept pushing hard on all the climbs, making sure I took my honey stinger gels and drank water. At about mile 3, near the final push to the top and half way into the run, I caught the number 1. He was walking with a camera man recording the melt down. After passing him, I knew I was not going to get caught but wanted to see what I had left in me… I ran the 4th fastest amateur run split and 17th fastest overall.
Racing is like creating a piece of art. It represents you and your soul. Often only you truly knows how much effort has gone into the final outcome. I always want to feel proud of my art work and effort.
XT: Did you know who your main competition would be?
CZ: I thought Tom Evans, fellow Canadian who won the age group last year, was competing. He did not race. But I knew France would be strong. There is always a dark horse at Worlds. And like last year, when I was 30 seconds from the lead on the bike, anything can happen. I had a catastrophic mechanical that forced me to run 5 miles with my bike, then another 6 miles to the finish line.
XT: What is it about you and this race?
CZ: I love racing internationally. The stakes are so high and there are so many unknowns. With such a deep field and international representation, you can honestly be proud that you are a World Champion in your age group. All you can do is prepare the best you can and execute on race day. Mother Nature tends to always have the last say regardless.
XT: When did you have to really dig deep?
CZ: I had to dig deep on all bike climbs and the entire run. I rode strong but conservative on the bike as I did not want a repeat of last year when I had a mechanical. I needed to get to the run without a mishap or lost time. The cautious descending and technical section put more importance on riding the ups hard but not too hard that I overheated or had nothing left on the run. I seem to be able to regulate my effort well in Maui to ensure a solid run.
XT: Who or what was your inspiration?
CZ: A good friend of mine, multiple World XTERRA AG Champion, Beverly Watson who is battling stage 4 Cancer, was one of my main inspirations. In general I raced this year for those close friends and family who are experiencing hardship and struggle.
XT: How did you celebrate?
CZ: I went Zip Lining in Kapalua and ate lots of chocolate chip cookies! Also had an amazing dinner at Dukes!