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Home » Race Across America: Leadership Lessons From The Hardest Bike Race: Kurt Matzler (Transcript)

Race Across America: Leadership Lessons From The Hardest Bike Race: Kurt Matzler (Transcript)

Full text of Professor of Strategic Management, Kurt Matzler’s talk titled ‘Race Across America: Leadership lessons from the hardest bike race’ at TEDxRohrbachBerg conference.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here:


Kurt Matzler – Professor of Strategic Management, University of Innsbruck

Three thousand miles on our bikes across the United States, to raise 4 million dollars to eradicate polio. This is Team Rotary RAAMs Polio’s Race Across America project.

The Race Across America is the hardest and longest bike race in the world: 3000 miles, coast to coast, 175,000 feet of climbing; three mountain ranges; two deserts; twelve states, three time zones, non-stop. Non-stop across the United States.

There are solar racers; there are two, four, and eight-person relay teams and Team Rotary RAAMs Polio is a four-person relay team that has been participating in this race since 2016.

The race starts in Oceanside every June with mild temperature, and after a few hours racers face the first big challenge: the desert with temperatures of up to 50 degrees. If you survive the desert, you are rewarded with beautiful scenery: you enter Monument Valley.

But after Monument Valley, you face the next big challenge: the Rocky Mountains. Three passes with an elevation of more than three thousand meters. Wolf Creek is the highest point: 3300 thin air, ice cold; it can even snow.

And if you survive the Rocky Mountains, the next big challenge is awaiting you in Kansas: The Great Plains, 1000 kilometers like that: flat with crosswinds, headwinds, and you pedal and pedal, and you think you don’t make any progress, because the landscape is not changing.

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