Mountain-biking, martial arts, diving – sport as a counterbalance


Lots of people seek a counterbalance to their jobs – and Krones’ staff are no exception. Some of them, however, go in for sport with a bit more extreme dedication: with exceptionally intensive and persevering rigour. Even during the interviews, I noticed their huge enthusiasm, and thought about it all day. Here I shall be introducing you to a few of my colleagues from our facility in Neutraubling, for whom sport has become a kind of philosophy for living: 

The daily invigorating mud bath

Fighting your way through trackless terrain, overcoming what are sometimes elevation differences of more than 10,000 feet, sinking into muddy quagmires, vanquishing huge climbs and dizzying descents – and all this on just two wheels! What for some may sound like the worst nightmare imaginable is for Andreas Pfenning the greatest hobby in the world: mountain-biking.

He started out approximately seven years ago, with a low-quality bike and almost no experience at all. But his ambition was all the greater, so he was soon venturing on his first big race – and promptly finished last. Where some people might have thrown in the towel, this was where as far as he was concerned the challenge was only just beginning. He joined the DOWE Sportwear Cycling Team, started to professionalise his training and adapt his equipment. It’s pretty widely known, of course, that cycling is not a cheap pastime. Which is why professionals, in particular, have one crucial advantage: they are sponsored. “They hurtle downhill regardless of the consequences. The material is always replaced by the sponsor, and if they’re injured there’s no normal full-time job they have to go back to,” comments Andreas. But for him, in particular, in his role as a manager (he’s a group leader in Transport Technology), being able to estimate risks correctly constitutes an important characteristic. This is why he sees sport not only as a counterbalance to his job, but also as an important supplement with plenty of parallels to the workplace environment. Both in cycling and in your job, you draw a distinction between targets for the day and targets for the year. There are always short-term challenges, like the next training session and everyday routine at the workplace, but these are contextualised in the overall framework of an overriding goal. Although the team consists of individual personalities, each making their own contribution, what ultimately counts, both in sport and at the workplace, is the team’s performance. What’s more, in both these fields, the keys to success are total focus, ambition, purposefulness and perseverance.

Why the best martial artists try to avoid a fight

Avoiding a fight? This doesn’t sound like a hardboiled martial artist – at first glance. But for Raimund Zollner this sport involves rather more than being able to land a powerful punch. But back to the beginnings: Raimund’s interest in martial arts started off 26 long years ago, focusing mainly on taekwondo and kick-boxing. 10 years later, together with a handful of associates, he set up a school of his own in Regensburg-Kumpfmühl as the new millennium dawned, followed by the next one in Schierling in 2005. But the double workload soon proved to be excessive, because with two schools not only do you have twice the number of courses and members, but twice as much organisational and bureaucratic red tape as well. So he withdrew from Kumpfmühl, where he was a director, and devoted his entire attention to the school in Schierling. Training someone in martial arts – this is not at all easy. Not only the physical aspects, like the right technique, basic stamina, strength and coordination need to be learned, but also discipline, respect and self-control. A good fighter knows how to correctly estimate his abilities and the risk involved – and in a worst-case scenario prefers to avoid a fight rather than cause unnecessary damage. In taekwondo, particularly, traditional values play a major role. Raimund sees preserving and handing down these values as one of the paramount responsibilities of a trainer, who has to make use of various disparate methods. Depending on the individual character of the pupil concerned, he has to select a different approach each time. Here Raimund sees many competences that also play an important role at the workplace. Accepting responsibility, introducing structures, assertiveness and the ability to take decisions – characteristics that count both in his job and in his role as a trainer and a club president. So both of them are mutually beneficial, and the sporting activities themselves help Raimund, who served his apprenticeship at Krones and now works in the production hall for machinery repairs, not only to cope with many problems, but also simply to let off steam.

Auditioning as shark bait

Birgit Hahn, who’s part of Krones office work team, does a little bit of everything from outdoor fitness and mountain-biking to skiing. The videos are only available in German, but especially in the second one there are some exciting clips which were shot underwater!


On her most recent diving holiday, what’s more, she had an experience of a rather special kind!