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    B-LAB — Mountain Biking

    Our Founders

    Most of us have heard the phrase ‘opposites attract' but to bring opposites together, there needs to be a common thread. For our founders, Chris and Roddy, there were several threads that have sewn them together, but the first was a mutual friend.   These future besties did not meet on a trail as endurance athletes nor did they meet enjoying the endurance sport that they both loved, but at a dinner party.

    As the story goes, it did not take these bike nerds past dessert of this initial meeting to discover their common love for the trails.   Upon hearing that Roddy was to be racing the very next morning, Chris was giddy with the prospect of having a riding buddy and, as it turns out, a new best friend. As this epic bromance endured races and mountainous trails, Chris, Roddy and their very patient wives, Emily and Beth, did not only become fast friends but also neighbors, with a mere 500 feet separating their dwellings.

    One night a group of guys from the ‘hood gathered for some poker and some craft beer. As the game progressed and the mugs became empty the conversation turned to the question "what do YOU want to be when you grow up?" Now, this is where the differences and similarities collided.

    Chris is a salesman. He is energetic. Excited ALL of the time. He has A LOT of ideas. He plans on being king of the world at the hand of hard work and great ideas.

    Roddy is an Industrial designer. He is practical. He analyzes a lot. He plans on being the king of the world by analyzing ideas, giving them a practical path to fruition.

    Chris and Roddy compliment each other. The opposites. The cog and the wheel. The second common thread was an ultimate life goal.

    As the conversation progressed at this fated poker game Chris answered the afore-mentioned question by saying he wanted to build a brand. Start something from scratch. Be his own boss. Roddy was immediately on board. Chris proceeded to share several ideas that he had bouncing around in his head. Roddy listened with his practical ear and kicked the first two ideas to the curb BUT, the third proposed idea seemed to have merit. An energy gel alternative that is 100% organic.

    As previously mentioned, the final common thread that brought these friends together, and continues to be a passion, was mountain biking. They love to be out in those woods as endurance athletes, discussing energy gels and in the woods, is where the pieces were sewn together. Following the ‘BONK heard around the mountain' (see OUR STORY page) a mutual friend brought a Ziplock bag of molasses/honey to be used for energy on their ride. With a slurping taste of the energy ‘gel' Chris and Roddy's eyes locked and the idea lightbulbs were practically visible over their heads. A 100% natural energy gel for endurance athletes made with 100% organic food. Just food. That ultimate life goal was gaining momentum.

    This is where the fun really began. Conversations about what, how, why? Late nights of mixing the different combination of food in a Kitchen Aid mixer, filling the pouches on Sunday afternoons, designing the logo, designing the pouches, the marriage of the ideas, the work and the practical solutions. This friendship of opposites started with a chance conversation on racing mountain bikes, generated an idea through a series of events, and continues to grow into a company that has a mission to provide energy gels that are an effective, 100% organic food alternative that endurance athletes can feel good about eating.

    How It All Started

    We are athletes. Specifically, we are mountain bikers. Mountain biking is an endurance sport. When we are in the middle of the woods, we need convenient energy. We want natural energy. Easy nutrition has been a need since man was building the pyramids, but let’s only rewind to 2009. Back then the energy ‘gel’ of choice was peanut butter. Some guy decided real food fuel was a good concept and put peanut butter in a tear-off pouch. Endurance athletes were purchasing and consuming the all-natural energy nutrition like it was liquid gold. The organic whole food fuel was working, but one day standing
    in the kitchen, slurping down yet another pouch of this non-gel, endurance food, thoughts of innovation struck: Why are we paying $3 for 3 ounces, when a jar of peanut butter is $3. We work in branding products; we have built brands; we can figure out how to make peanut butter. Can’t be THAT hard, right? Why can’t we create BETTER natural energy nutrition; why can’t WE put something BETTER in a pouch and sell it?

    B-Line How it all started

    First, we needed a name. What were we trying to accomplish? We were trying to provide endurance athletes with nutrition so they can go on and on and on without the BONK. (For the novice, when an athlete falls out nutritionally and cannot proceed with riding, swimming, running, jumping, or whatever craziness that they are involved in, it is called a BONK.) No one wants that. We wanted to fix that.

    How were we going to do this? Using peanut butter, adding more whole food energy, surpassing what the energy gel was providing, putting natural energy in a pouch and slurping it all the way out of Bonk town…. BONK BUTTER! That is a name! Step one complete.

    So, peanut butter cannot be that hard to make, right? Go to the store, buy some salted, roasted peanuts. You know the ones on the bar, in a bowl? Put them on a tray and roast them. Note to self, roasted peanuts do NOT need to be re-roasted. Epic, inedible failure.

    Ok, fresh peanuts. Buy those, roast them, squish them and, not bad. Tedious, messy, but not gross. Wait! Why re-invent the butter? Research and employ a manufacturer. Mix up this organic butter of the nut with some organic honey (same honey used today in B-Line Natural Energy), sea salt, and palm fruit oil. Tasting, mixing, testing, riding. Not too shabby. Not convenient on the trails in a Tupperware container so we put it Ziplocs and cut off the corner for the slurp. Obviously, packaging needs to be next.

    Mock up a packaging design, talk to package makers, take business classes, find a mentor, look for financing. It all seemed to be coming together but, as the story goes, a BONK does not just happen on the trails . . . It can happen in business as well. Bonk Butter was a trademark infringement . . . That name is out. Big companies have figured out that this is a good idea too . . . The market is getting saturated. No one wants to invest money without a product. We proceed anyway with sugarplums dancing in our heads. We have an order of 100,000 packages on the ready but decide to create a couple of samples before we pull the trigger.

    The big day arrives. The samples of our all natural, energy gel alternative is delivered. We lace up our shoes, go for a run, grip the top of the package in our teeth tear it off and . . . OIL EVERYWHERE. The peanut butter of our dreams has separated. This may be the day that Bonk Butter died, but unexpected obstacles do not stop us! Endurance does not only apply to our athletic pursuits but also to our pursuits for a real food, natural energy gel alternative!  

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