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Privateer Off-Road Racer
“Gravel races like Crusher in the Tushar, and mountain bike races like the True Grit epic have been the most fun days I've had racing my bike!”
My name is Zach Calton, I live in Ogden, Utah. I graduated from the University of Utah in 2019 with a degree in Business. I work for and ride Specialized Bicycles doing warranty and technical support for our dealers and racing the Epic and the Crux and occasionally the Tarmac. I also coach a handful of athletes and helping them achieve their goalsgive me the same satisfaction that personal performance does.
Mountain biking is and always will be my first choice, and I got my start in cycling from NICA when I was in high school and tried my hand in the XCO scene through my U23 years. I had some success there with a U23 Short Track National title, a collegiate national title, and some other solid results, but I have more fun racing longer races in the backcountry and climbing big mountains and seeing cool places. Gravel races like Crusher in the Tushar, and mountain bike races like the True Grit epic have been the most fun days I've had racing my bike! That’s what has brought me to the Lifetime Grand Prix for 2023 and I couldn’t be more excited!
1st Overall: 2018
1st Overall: 2022
2nd Overall: 2022
"Absolutely hits the spot aftera long ride and the 3:1 carb to protein ratio picks you up faster than other recovery mixes I’ve tried."
"It's really hard - if not impossible - when eating simple carbs all day during big training blocks to eat enough variety to cover all your micronutrient needs – the vitamin content in all First Endurance products helps with this and MultiV really helps make sure you can bridge the gap there."
"A nice, light mix that iseasy on the stomach and keeps me rolling all day."
Goal(s) for 2023:
A. Top 10 in the Lifetime Grand Prix
B. Top 5 Crusher in the Tushar
C. Win Park City Point to Point
What’s your favorite quote and where did you first hear it?
Hard work beats talent. The original quote is “Hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard”, but I like thetruncated version. I heard it from my dad first!
What’s the best training advice you’ve ever received and who gave it to you?
You’re not overtraining, you are under recovering. I’ve had a collection of coaches tell me this in so many ways. Florian Vogel is the first one who drove it through my head and changed my thinking on fatigue management.
How did you get started in your sport?
My dad pretty much had to force me to try NICA racing when I was a junior in high school. I was hesitant to try it but seeing my improvement from my first race to my second race was addicting!
I got involved with the Summit Bike Club the next season and they showed me more XCO racing, and I was inspired by how good some of the riders were.
My first XCO outside of NICA racing I lined up against Nielson Powless, Sean Bennett,and Chris Blevins. They blew my doors off and I was determined to get better. Never quite closed the gap to those guys, still working on it!
If you had to be shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all your human needs—such as food and water—were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?
In my mind the deserted island is sandy and I think beach soccer is really fun so I would bring a soccer ball and a pellet gun to do target practice on some coconuts.
If you could have one superpower, which would you choose and why?
Absolutely the ability to stop time. I think pure time travel gets too dicey with changingthe past and such. The ability to just stop time and take a breather or get some stuff done would be the best.
What’s your favorite website?
Linerider.com – you build a track for a little guy on a sled to ride on and some people get really creative with it.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Fighter Pilot and Ferrari Engineer
Describe your first bike.
My first bike was a trek mountain lion.
1x7 speed drivetrain, and colors that seemed inspired by Moab, Utah. I raced in the kids lap at the 24hours of Moab that my parents were racing. The first bike I ever got myself was an orange Pivot LES hardtail. 1x11 with Mavic Crossmax wheels, Raceface components, and Magura brakes.
What's the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you?
When I was little my family visited Hawaii and we went to Oahu to watch a surfing competition. I don’t know how big the swell was, but very very large. I wasn’t paying attention when a rogue wave came and sucked me from the beach into a riptide and I got sent straight out to sea and it felt like several minutes, although in reality it was probably 20 seconds, that I was just getting thrashed around until one of the surfers snatched me out of the water and took me back to shore. I think I was about 8 years old and still to this day that’s the only time I’ve ever felt like I was for sure going to die!
What's your favorite movie and why?
Whiplash – I think while the points are exaggerated it’s a great lesson in the principle of Extreme ownership and fighting through adversity. I also liked how the main character grapples with the selfishness of trying to pursue greatness and why he feels he needs to push everyone away on his path, sometimes trying to be a bike racer can feel that way as you sail off for yet another 6-hour training ride instead of going to lunch with your family or any of the other ways to spend a Saturday. The impression it leaves you at the end of the final solo is super powerful!
Guilty pleasure food item?
If I start a pint of Haagen Daaz Dulce de Leche ice cream, I simply cannot stop until the whole thing is gone.
Where is your “happy” place?
Snowbasin – biking or skiing. It’s been my home mountain since I was 2 years old.
What is your most memorablemeal?
I went to Nepal when I was in 9th grade and we spent 3 weeks hiking up to the Mt. Everest base camp. My uncle went on the Summit the whole thing, but for 3 weeks on the mountain you basically eat unseasoned potatoes which are boiled by burning dried yak dung in a stove and raw vegetables as there are clearly limits on what can be flown into the Lukla airport and what you can grow above 15,000 feet.
It was the first time I had stepped outside of my comfort zone for such a long period, even though it was an amazing opportunity that I was damn lucky to have at that age. When we got back to the US we stopped at a 5 guys in the airport and I had a double cheeseburger and nothing has ever tasted better to me than that greasy cheeseburger.
What is something that you learned from a parent or grandparent that has guided you in life?
My dad, and he taught me to work hard and be at peace with the grind of life and to love it. Whether its training, working, house work, family stuff, there’s always something that can be improved on, and it’s better to let that inspire you to keep pushing in every facet of life than to become overwhelmed.
Tell us about your pet(s).
I have an 11 year old Dachsund named Oscar. He is kind of a grouch, but he loves to snuggle and bury himself in blankets and he is the best.
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