The Race Across America

Alumnus Chris Green will compete in his first Race Across America

Kennesaw State MBA grad and student compete on cyclist team in 3,000-mile endurance race

KENNESAW, Ga.  (June 12, 2014) — Two of Kennesaw State’s own will set out on the race of a lifetime on Saturday, June 14.

MBA student Lisa Borowsky and 2004 MBA alumnus Chris Green are part of a four-person cyclist team competing in the Race Across America, a 3,000-mile bike race from California to Maryland in about seven days. The race spans 12 states, where racers venture over four major U.S. rivers and face altitude climbs through the Rocky and Appalachian mountains. 

This is Green’s first year to compete in the Race Across America, although he is no rookie to endurance races. In the past 10 years, he has completed six Ironman competitions, and he is co-owner of Zone 5 Events, a race production company that specializes in triathalon and road races.

Borowsky is the team’s first alternate and new to cycling, having only picked up the sport last year after an injury kept the avid runner off her feet. She will travel with the team as a crewmember, but be ready to fill in if one of the four riders is injured.

Their relay team, one of only two from Georgia, will be racing to benefit Bert’s Big Adventure, a nonprofit that gives children with chronic and terminal illnesses all-expenses-paid trips to Walt Disney World.

“No matter how hard it is pedaling 100-200 miles a day, we know it’s much harder for the children and their families,” Borowsky said.  She said the children of Bert’s Big Adventure are the motivation to keep riding.

Cycling, Philanthropy & Graduate School

Besides their dedication to raising money for Bert’s Big Adventure and their love of cycling, they also share another commonality: their graduate education in the Coles College of Business. Green earned his MBA in 2004 and Borowsky is still a student in the graduate program.

Interestingly, the namesake for Kennesaw State’s College of Business, Michael J. Coles, won the Race Across America as a solo cyclist in 1989. 

Facing a tough mental, physical and philanthropic challenge, Borowsky said that opportunities like RAAM and raising money for Bert’s Big Adventure are a chance to create social impact. She explained that MBA students in Coles College are encouraged to have a charitable mindset, which is vital to keeping philanthropy thriving in the private sector.

Green said that while he was in the MBA program, he learned to think outside his own narrow box, which has helped him in preparing mentally and physically for this endurance competition.

Training for the race is more than just logging 500 individual miles each week on the bike, said Green, a father of three. There were fundraisers and planning logistics in the months leading up to the race, he added.

“We have to think of Plan A, and Plan B, and Plan C,” Green said about the team’s ability to manage the unexpected during the race. “We have to think about the ‘what ifs’ since there are multiple moving parts throughout this race.”

An ‘Extraordinarily Mental’ Race

The Race Across America (RAAM) began in 1982 when four individuals raced from Los Angeles to New York City, in a competition that captured national media attention. Today, the RAAM is open to professional and amateur cyclists and features two-, four- and eight-person relay teams along with solo riders.

The Race Across America is 30 percent longer in distance than the Tour de France, and unlike the famed road race, the RAAM is completed in one continuous ride, with no overnight stopping for teams to rest or sleep, according to the Race Across America official website. As a relay, the team will swap riders every three hours during the entire 3,000-mile race, Green said.

“The reason RAAM is consider the world’s toughest bicycle race is because other races happen in stages,” said Borowsky. “You bike, sleep, eat and rest. But this race keeps going.”

With an around-the-clock racing schedule and no stops for rest in comfortable hotels, the team will travel with an RV, two minivans and a support crew of 13 people. Crewmembers handle food, water, navigation, clothing changes, medical needs and bike repairs so the racers can focus solely on racing.

Sleep deprivation and nutrition are two of the biggest challenges facing the team during its trek across the country, said Green. To finish the race within the allotted time, the team will travel roughly 17 miles per hour.

“There is a lot of danger, especially with the follow vehicles that have to drive alongside the riders 24/7,” said Borowsky. “Safety is our number one priority.”

Follow the team’s progress throughout the race on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BertsCyclingTeam

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- Tiffany Capuano and Paula Stanton; Photo courtesy of Chris Green