Charity Fundraiser featuring Kurt Matzler (Strategy Professor and Professional Cyclist)

As part of a fascinating presentation, Kurt Matzler shared his experience at the Race Across America.


Kurt Matzler; Credit: JKU
Kurt Matzler; Credit: JKU

In December, Kurt Matzler, a well-known professor of strategy at the University of Innsbruck and a passionate cyclist, spoke at the Circus of Knowledge about his experience in the Race Across America. Considered the world's toughest cycling race, since its inception in 1982, only around 400 athletes have succeeded in finishing as solo riders. Following five years of intensive preparation, Kurt Matzler decided to take on the challenge in 2022 and compete as a solo rider.

Prof. Kurt Matzler, opens an external URL in a new window's presentation took the audience on a journey starting on California’s west coast to the east coast finish line in Washington. The presentation included impressive images and video clips, providing the guests with insight in to this challenging cycle race that took Matzler 5,000 kms across the USA. In order to meet the 12-day time limit, Matzler had to cycle between 400 and 450 kilometers per day. According to Matzler, under this time limit it was impossible to sleep more than two hours a day. He finally crossed the finish line after 11 days, five hours, and fifty minutes on the bike.  

According to Matzler, winning the Race Across America depends on a number of factors that not only include physical strength, mental endurance, and support by the accompanying team, it is also vital to come up with – and pursue - an effective individual strategy rather than simply imitating the successful cyclists.

Based on his personal experience, Kurt Matzler shared valuable insight applicable to both extreme sports and various managerial roles. In addition to personally challenging himself, Matzler raised a total of $ 1.2 million toward finding a cure for polio. As with the Race Across America, this event at the JKU also supported charitable causes. The proceeds from the donations and a portion of the book sales of „The High Performance Mindset: Was wir vom härtesten Radrennen der Welt lernen können“, opens an external URL in a new window benefited the JKU MORE initiative for refugee students , opens an external URL in a new window.

Rector Stefan Koch thanked Kurt Matzler for not only providing interesting insight but also for supporting the MORE initiative. He also praised the MORE initiative's important work as well as the team responsible for organizing the presentation. Moderator Prof. Gegenhuber drew attention to the unique venue at the Circus of Knowledge and the presentation which was held free of charge. He also thanked the University Sports Institute for sponsoring the reception that followed the presentation.