Getting ready to compete in a national BMX race was no easy task for Keswick resident Ryan Chabrzynski.
A collarbone injury from a crash weeks before had kept the 15-year-old sidelined for six weeks ahead of the Canadian BMX Championships in Calgary in August. After recovering, he said he only had a couple of weeks to train.
But despite the circumstances, Chabryznski went home with a gold medal after coming out on top in the age 15 boys category, beating out 31 other riders from across Canada.
“I’m feeling very good about it,” he said. “Super happy with coming through with a win. Just happy all my work paid off.”
The Aurora high school student is a relative newcomer to BMX. An avid athlete, he started riding during the pandemic with other sports closed off. That gave him exposure to BMX, prompting him to visit a track.
“Ever since then, it’s been my main thing. I'm just kind of hooked,” he said. “I’m a pretty competitive person, so any time I have a love for something, I just want to take it to the next level.”
Brendan Arnold, Chabrynzski’s coach, runs the track in Stouffville. With decades of experience, Arnold said he could see Chabrynzski’s talent right away.
“He had something. Within about a year or so of starting to help him out, he was already one of the fastest three guys in Canada,” he said. “He’s just a good, all-around athlete … He’s a daredevil. He’s very strong mentally. He enjoys competition.”
Chabrynzski has competed in several sports around York Region, including lacrosse for the Newmarket Redbirds.
But in BMX, he has quickly risen to the top. He came in second in his category at the nationals in 2021, earning him a berth at the 2022 worlds. He did not end up attending the competition in France, which coincided with his injury.
“It was very calm overall,” he said of his decision not to attend. “I just (put) new focus on some smaller goals, and now I can really come at it hard next year.”
The national win earns him another chance to compete at the world championships in 2023, this time in Scotland.
Arnold said Chabrynzski has the talent to go very far.
“Everything he has, and everything that he possesses, he could be an international calibre rider for sure.”
The young rider said he hopes to compete at the Olympics someday and wants to start putting up good international placements.
He said he will be training throughout the winter to try and get faster and stronger.
“The main thing that keeps me motivated is always having a new goal and keeping my mindset good.
“I always have liked biking. I just didn’t know that I could take it this far.”