A day with Michael Strasser | Simplon Magazine
Michael Strasser, trained architect, passionate (road) cyclist and extreme athlete, gives us exclusive insights into his life. Read the interview!
World record holder and Simplon enthusiast
11,000 kilometres in 34 days, 11 hours and 10 minutes: The crossing of Africa was the beginning of his career in extreme sports. In 2018, the next highlight followed: the Ice2Ice race from Alaska to Patagonia, which he completed on the Simplon Pride. He covered the distance in 84 days, 11 hours, and 50 minutes, setting a new world record. Who are we talking about? Michael Strasser, trained architect, passionate (road) cyclist and motivational coach.
Simplon had the honour of accompanying the 37-year-old athlete for a day. He gave us some exclusive insights into his life, revealed his source of motivation, and shared how he deals with periods of self-doubt. He also told us why Simplon is the ideal partner for him. Get a private look into the life of world record holder Michael Strasser!
A day with Michael Strasser
From architect to extreme athlete – how did that come about?
Michael Strasser: I started studying architecture because I was very interested in the subject. However, I noticed early on that sports became more and more important in my life. I knew that I only had a certain time window in which I could pursue my passion in this way and I just wanted to give it a try. Better to try and fail than never to have tried! But with me, there was no master plan. It was never my goal to be able to live off of being a professional athlete. It just happened somehow. And let’s be real: Of the 14 years in which I've been very ambitious in sports, I've only been able to make a living of it for the past three or four years. For the first ten years, it was just an expensive hobby. Only now have I reached the point where I can at least pay my electricity bill from my income as an athlete.
What motivates you?
Michael Strasser: My basic motivation is to challenge myself. I have to prove to myself that I can do it – again and again. The crux of the matter is that I constantly set new goals. You think you’ll feel happier once you have mastered the challenge. But then I start to look for a new challenge and I’m back to square one. That’s the process I have gone through in the last years. Now, I’ve come to the point where I try not to constantly look for new challenges. Instead, I remind myself, "okay, you have to learn to be happy with what you’ve got".
How did the collaboration with Simplon come about?
Michael Strasser: It was my intention to present an Austrian partner to the world. I have contacted several Austrian companies, but the chemistry with Simplon was great right from the get-go. It was also where I was most likely to be taken seriously with my wild and crazy ideas.
For the Ice2Ice project you chose the Simplon Pride – why?
Michael Strasser: I first travelled to Vorarlberg and tested all possible bikes. I wanted to know: What does the frame feel like, and what does the setup feel like? Then at some point, I had the prototype of the Pride in my hands, and I knew: This bike is it! You just can't go slow on this bike. You get on it, and it makes you want to accelerate.
What makes partnering with Simplon special for you?
Michael Strasser: Approachability, I think, is the main difference between Simplon and the other partners I’ve worked with so far. The bikes are top notch, but there are many companies that produce high-end bikes. The difference is that I always have a contact person at Simplon who is there to support me.
They’re also always open to new ideas, and I can have them build the bikes exactly the way I imagine them. I don't have to discuss with Simplon whether this or that part makes sense. They just understand that the bike is incredibly important to me. We share the same passion, have similar goals, and never settle for second best. We always try to get the maximum out of the bike.
What makes the difference?
I used to work with very large companies. There is basically one bike and it gets mass-produced 1,000 times. And if you want anything custom, you have to alter it yourself. With Simplon, it's the exact opposite. Every bike is custom-made, even for the end customer. Everyone can configurate their own bike by choosing from countless options. I really like that!
Would you like to learn more about Michael Strasser? Find out about his phenomenal world record success on the Simplon Pride!