Scott Ragsdale is the Chairman and Co-Founder of naseba Group. He has over 20 years of international management experience and has developed, managed and trained employees from more than 50 nationalities.
Prior to co-founding naseba in 2002, he worked as a General Manager for a global business information company in seven international cities: Tokyo, Sydney, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Monaco, Barcelona and London.
Scott has lived outside of America since 1994; living for significant periods of time in 9 countries; has travelled to more than 100 countries, and speaks French and Japanese; having passed the highest level of the Japanese proficiency exam (1 kyu).
Scott is a two-time Ironman finisher, has run more than 20 marathons, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, and successfully completed Marathon des Sables – a 7 day race across the Sahara desert in Morocco, considered to be the most difficult foot race in the world.
Scott Ragsdale was born in 1971 and grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, attended high school at The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with BA in Political Science in 1995.
He is an avid collector of Cuban cigars and boasts one of the largest personal collections in the world.
He currently lives with his family in Dubai.
You are no stranger to endurance sports, what are some of your achievements?
I have done two Ironman and ran more than 20 marathons. I also climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, swam the English Channel, and successfully completed Marathon des Sables – a 7 day race across the Sahara desert in Morocco, considered to be the most difficult foot race in the world. I also completed naseba7, 7 Ironman triathlons in 7 consecutive days across the 7 Emirates of the UAE.
Now you are embarking on Race Across America, considered to be the world’s toughest bike race where you will cycle for almost 2 weeks with little to no sleep. What differentiates this challenge (RAAM), in terms of both psychological and physical preparation?
Race Across America is a nonstop bike race from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland, a bit more than 3,000 miles on a bike. One has 12 days to ride across America to officially complete the race. A big challenge about RAAM is to complete it within the time frame, one must ride 22+ hours a day, thus sleep deprivation and painful saddle sores, severe neck and back pain are all elements participants will experience. I attempted the race in 013, made it 1,790 miles, a bit more than half way across America, but mentally, I failed … I underestimated the power of sleep deprivation, and how easily it turned my mind set to a negative one.
Looking at this challenge specifically, as a solo racer you will be expected to complete between 250 – 350 miles per day. What is your strategy for the race, and what are you doing to prepare for it?
After my failure in 013, I hired a new coach, Marko Baloh who is one of the top ultra-cyclists in the world. Under Marko, my training is much more intense than it was in 013 RAAM, especially with climbing training, I am doing much more climbing training now on the bike than I did before. Another area I am focused on is my weight. I am 194cm and went into RAAM 013 around 92 kilo ….for this RAAM, I will ensure I am no more than 82 kilo at the start. Obviously, the less weight one carries the better it is, esp. the first 4 days are full of climbing.
What motivates you to do such challenges?
I try to live life to the fullest I can, and for me, these endurance challenges force me to live a focused, regimented life style, thus keeping me fit and healthy. I also try to inspire my family, employees, and anyone else who might hear about my story… Most people have goals and dreams, but too many people just sit around and dream about what they are going to do one day. For me, the theme of all my challenges, which I try to apply to my life and job as well, is …but I have to make it happen…” A goal means nothing if we don’t go after achieving it.
Not only a successful endurance athlete, you are also the co-founder and chairman of Naseba – to what extent has your discipline towards sports supported your work ethic?
In order to fit my training with my work schedule, I wake at 2:15am every day, which means I have to go to sleep around 8pm, thus this regiment forces me to be organized and structured. I find that I feel much better after a hard training session than I do when I have a day off, so in fact, I am somewhat addicted to this training. I know if I miss a session, I will not feel good during the day. Also, I find that I am much more productive.
There is a common theme seen on your corporate website, blog, and media coverage where you talk about “Success is a Choice”, and that “the man on top of the mountain did not fall there”. Can you explain?
20 years ago, I saw a poster of a man standing on top of a mountain with the quote above him: “the man at the top of the mountain did not fall there …”
I think about this quote all the time. Everyone wants to get to the top of the mountain, but there are no shortcuts to the top of anything. Going after a summit of anything … the climb will go easy, but more times than not, it will become a big challenge; sometimes we will fall down, but the key is to get back up and keep climbing until we reach our summit.
Unfortunately, we live in a world today where everyone wants to get the top, but no one wants to climb anymore.
Success is a choice. Think about all the goals we set for ourselves that when it becomes a bit challenging, we find an excuse to break it … and ultimately, we fail to achieve our goal. At the end of the day, success is often a choice. We can decide if we want to achieve, or at the very least go after achieving … or if we want to sleep in, or break our diet, or stop training, or whatever choice we make that prevents us from achieving our goal.
In your blog you refer to ‘searching for John Galt’, the fictional character from Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged. In your interpretation, what does this mean to you?
For me, John Galt represents the ideal character of man. He is hard working, focused, loyal, driven, and understands that the only achievement that matters is honourable achievement. Unfortunately, in our “selfie” self-centred me-me-me obsessed world we live in today, this type of person is too few and far between. To be clear, I gain focus and inspiration from all the mediocrity that is currently clouding our world today.