Meet the 2021 Team - We are Going 'Solo' !!
Meet Our Racer - Kurt Matzler
Kurt is a management professor at the University of Innsbruck in Austria and member of the the Rotary Club Innsbruck Goldenes Dachl, Austria. He grew up in South Tyrol, the heart of the Alps and home to the Dolomites. His passions include road cycling and mountain biking in summer, and – of course! – skiing in winter. Both ardent cyclists, he and his wife Ruth, who is also on the Rotary Raams Polio Team, are equally happy to tackle the long and steep Alpine passes as they are to bike along the beautiful roads winding through Tuscany's vineyards - where they also enjoy sampling the local products. Kurt is a seven-time finisher of the legendary Ötztaler Radmarathon, a 150 mile-long course with more than 16,000 feet o, f climbing, and has twice participated in the Great Trial of Strength in Norway – a 340 mile-long race from Trondheim to Oslo. Kurt has participated in the Race Across America with the Rotary RAAMs Polio Team in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Kurt recently raced in 2020 Race Around Austria as a solo racer and placed 8th with an incredible time of five days, two hours and 27 minutes, over 2200 kilometers and over 30,000 meters in altitude.
Meet The 2021 Crew
Darlene is racer Bob's wife, and was a crew member for the team in 2016. She became Crew Chief in 2017and continues to serve in that capacity. Darlene has the critical talent & skill in preparing and organizing the entire team for race day. Married to Bob for 46 years, she has assisted with performing the many duties required to help manage and operate their businesses. She enjoys needlework, gardening, hiking, traveling, and her new favorite sport, snorkeling.
Bob joined the Rotary Club of Tulsa in 1994. He has served as chairman of many of their committees including the Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete Awards. He served as President of the club in 2010-11 and has been an assistant governor for Rotary district #6110. In 2018 he moved to Virginia and joined the Rotary Club of Manassas, VA. and has spoken to several clubs in Virginia for Polio eradication.
Bob starting riding a road bike in August 2011 to ride for Rotary’s “Ride to End Polio” in El Tour de Tucson in Tucson, AZ. In the five years he has ridden in El Tour he has raised over $400,000 for Rotary’s Polio eradication effort.
In 2016 he Co-founded “Team Rotary RAAMs Polio” to enter “Race Across America”. The team races to raise money for Rotary’s PolioPlus program to eradicate Polio from the world. So far the team has raised $3,000,000 in the four years they have raced and hope to add to that total 2021.
Bob was run over by a motorcycle in 2011 and of course, at the hospital, he was worried about his bicycle!! He is our oldest rider and newest to the sport of cycling.
RAAM Racer in 2016, 2017, 2018, & 2019
Ruth was born in Osttirol, Austria and lives in Innsbruck. She is a pharmacist and a passionate cyclist. Together with her husband Kurt, and Team Rotary RAAMs Polio teammate, she has participated in many long distance races. Ruth is a four-time finisher of the legendary Ötztaler Radmarathon, a 150 mile-long course with more than 16,000 feet of climbing. Ruth participated already in the 2017 Race Across America as part of our 4-person Rotary Team.
RAAM Racer in 2017, 2018, & 2019
Zoltan Bogdan (Zoli)
I was born in Marosvasarhely in Transylvania (Romania) in 1989. I am Hungarian and my family lives in Gyöngyös (Hungary) since I was 1 year old.
Sports always played a huge part in my life. I started very early with swimming, and more or less I kept up with it until the university. Sport even played a roll in my university choice. I have a masters diploma in Sport Management, with specializations in recreation and event management. At this time I worked for a swimming club as a kids swimming teacher.
Since I was 18 my passion was fighting, I have practiced muay thai and later Zen Bu Kan Kempo. Which both are full contact martial arts.
I got to Austria after the university, in 2013 and almost immediately I started to work at an Electronical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) studio as a personal trainer. This is the milestone in my RAAM story since I met Ruth and Kurt here. We work passionately on their core strength to help their bodies support their long and tiresome rides through the Alps, Dolomites and last but not least the RAAM.
Since I am in Austria I don´t have time for martial arts, so I picked up biking. First just mountain biking and since I know Ruth and Kurt I am pushing myself on the road bike too. Occasionally I compete in smaller races, but this is just the start.
I have some knowledge of mechanics too, since my father is an awesome car mechanic, and I can say I was born and raised in the garage. Although it was a long time ago I still repair my bikes by myself.
Julia graduated commercial high school in 2015 and completed a professional education as a health and fitness personal trainer. Works at her father’s EMS studio in Steinach am Brenner, Austria as a personal trainer and general manager.
Julia a black belt Taekowndo fighter and children’s trainer. For gaining more power in her legs, her boyfriend got her into mountain biking. This summer they found joy in road biking and proudly finished her first amateur race in Hungary. Loves sport, travelling and being part of something bigger, so happy and proud to be a part of this RAAM team.
Bill while not cycling is actively volunteering his time and deploying his optimization skills in helping those that want to be helped. Bill was the Crew Chief for the 2016 team and set on the sidelines during the 2017 race providing social media communications and analytics for the team. Part of the crew in 2018 and 2019 as well. Bill is actively involved in the production of Saint Francis Tulsa Tough, rank in top 5 out of NRC races.... another phenomenal cycling event.
Hubert is Professor & Head of the Department of Tourism and Leisure Business at MCI Management Center Innsbruck - The Entrepreneurial School. He lives with his family in Stubai, the most beautiful valley in the Alps! Sports and travel have always been his great passions. Hubert was in competitive sports for many years as soccer player and ski racer. He won several alpine extreme downhill races in the Alps. In 2004 he won the silver medal in giant slalom at the World Tourism Games in Austria. Hubert is currently the president of the "Rotary Club Innsbruck Goldenes Dachl“, Austria. He is very happy and proud to be a part of this unique RAAM team 2021.
After completing his law degree at the Leopold-Franzens-University Innsbruck and finishing the bar exam, Florian Phleps took over the management of the PillerseeTal Tourist Board in May 2012. From September 2013 he headed the Kitzbüheler Alpen Marketing GmbH with 3 other managing directors and was appointed to the marketing committee of the Tirol Tourism Board in June 2015. In addition to his law education, Florian Phleps successfully completed courses in Marketing, International Business and Law, Politics & Society at the University of California at Berkeley in the summer of 2007. In December of 2016 he joined the Tirol Tourism Board as the general manager and was appointed after a change in management to the new CEO of the company in January 2019.
Alexandra Podpeskar is our team doctor. She studied human medicine and is an assistant doctor for paediatrics at the Innsbruck University Hospital. Alex is an enthusiastic cyclist and rides in the Physio 1.0 team, she was a competitive athlete in the Austrian Armed Forces and a member of the Austrian squad in the air rifle and small-bore rifle competitions.
Roland is the managing director of the Stubai Tirol Tourism Association. He lives and works where guests from all over the world spend their most beautiful time of the year - their vacation! His great passion are the mountains, which he explores together with his family and friends while mountain biking, skiing or even paragliding. His personal motto: headwind = upwind. He is looking forward to a unique experience with friends from all over the world.
Martin lives with his family in St. Anton am Arlberg, a tourist resort in the western part of Tyrol. After partial studies in medicine, Martin moved into the pharmaceutical industry and led the sales team for hospitals in Austria for a leading global corporation for 17 years. In addition to his work in Vienna and the company headquarters in London, Martin consolidated his livelihood in St. Anton am Arlberg. In 2005, he was appointed director of the tourism association for the entire region, with four communities and what is now the largest contiguous ski area in Austria. Martin is a mountain biker himself, but does not race. However, he is mainly responsible for the organization and handling of the annual cycling marathon "Arlberg Giro" and other sporting events, such as the cult ski race "Der Weisse Rausch". Besides skiing and mountain biking, golf is Martin's great passion. To be part of such an experienced RAAM team with so many professional people is a great honor for him and especially the charitable aspect around the fight against polio makes the task even more appealing. A big thank you to all the organizers for the incomparable opportunity to be part of the Race across America.