Most businesspeople in Boston know Trish Karter for Dancing Deer Baking Co., the company she cofounded and ran for more than a decade.
But Karter is embarking on a challenge that’s tougher than being a chief executive. Starting Saturday, Karter and three teammates will compete in the Race Across America, biking 3,000 miles over seven days.
Karter, who is 60, wants to establish a world record for the women’s 60-plus age group — a record doesn’t exist right now — and to chase the record for the 50-plus category. She wants to raise money for women’s health research at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, too.
Most importantly, she wants to send a message.
“I’m doing it mostly because I feel it will make a difference,” Karter said. “I’ve spent my career trying to advance the role of women in business. But in athletics, it’s particularly bad. When women get older, they really disappear. . . . It’s another glass ceiling to break.”
Karter said she began cycling seriously relatively late in life, in 2009. (She left the chief
executive’s job at Dancing Deer in 2010.) She overcame a traumatic crash to become a top uphill rider, setting the record for the 60-64 age group last year at Mt. Washington. Lately, she’s been cycling as many as 300 miles a week, while running Chabaso Bakery in New Haven.
Longtime friend Karen Kaplan, the chief executive of ad agency Hill Holliday, connected Karter with executives at the Brigham, a Hill Holliday client. Karter’s journey seemed like a perfect match for Brigham Health, part of Partners HealthCare, and the organization became her team’s lead sponsor.
“This is quintessential Trish Karter,” Kaplan said. “It’s like, ‘Barriers, what barriers?’ ”Jon Chesto can be reached at Jon.Chesto@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.