Katie & Taylor, triathletes and founders of Thunderbird EnergeticaBack to Blog
18 September 2014
At Good Fuel Co, it's very important to us that we share products made by people with a story and purpose.
Katie & Taylor founded Thunderbird Energetica when Katie developed a severe and chronic knee injury that defied all medical diagnosis. Through a bit of self-experimentation and road-testing, they evolved their 'portable snack ideas' to Thunderbird Energetica as we know it today.
(Personally, we are very glad that they persevered because we now have bars to look forward to eating during our longer rides!)
Did we also mention that they're the first energy bar company to have a completely compostable wrapper? Pretty handy when rubbish bins are hard to come by out on the road!
Good Fuel Co: How did you guys get into triathlon? What’s your favourite discipline and why?
Taylor: Katie and I got into triathlon because we wanted to spend as much time together as we could. We thought that it would be fun to make dates out of long bike rides or finish long runs in romantic settings. We both enjoy the bike portion of the event the most. Probably because that is our strongest leg of the race and we are also traveling the fastest.
Good Fuel Co: What are some memorable moments from when you first started out? Katie, what was the most memorable thing about Kona 2010?
Katie: The most memorable part about Kona 2010 was the swim start. There were traditional Hawaiian drummers playing intense driving beats as I entered the water. It felt like I was going into battle and likely going to die. Super intense and very epic.
Good Fuel Co: What were you fuelling your training with before you decided to make your own snacks?
Katie & Taylor: Processed healthy food that was nutritionally and ingredient quality equivalent to junk food. Honestly, we would eat anything and everything in sight. I think we tried to repress those memories.
Good Fuel Co: You mentioned you’ve experienced a few fuelling mishaps, you’ve hit the wall, ran out of gas and even once “atomic bombed”! What happened and why?
Katie & Taylor: Usually the culprit was that we did not eat enough food. This was a result of us not enjoy the food options we had at hand. I remember it was often a texture and sweetness issue. I couldn’t bear the thought of eating more soft and sweet energy foods because of the syrups in the products!
Good Fuel Co: We heard you experimented quite a bit before you came up with the Thunderbird range as we know it. What were some wacky “beta” combinations that you came up with in the early days?
Katie & Taylor: Sweet potato bars, pemmican, avocado gels, coconut oil bars.
Good Fuel Co: How did you come up with the name “Thunderbird Energetica”?
Katie & Taylor: We were on a camping trip in West Texas and kept seeing beautiful hawks for days! On the final day we saw a very rare Peregrine Falcon. That was also the day that we decided to start our company. I guess we had powerful birds in our mind and that inspired the “Thunderbird” portion. We never wanted to call them “energy bars” because we felt like that was overused and made our product directly comparable to other “energy bars”. So we created our own word “Energetica”. That way we could talk about how the Thunderbird bars are different.
Good Fuel Co: How do you balance running a company with training? What advice would you give to triathletes who are competing while working full-time?
Katie & Taylor: It’s all about balance. We wake up early and train before work. It’s too easy to bail from a workout at the end of a hard and emotionally draining day at the office. Also training in the morning makes us feel like champions and we take that energy right into the office! You have to have a plan in place to win at both training and work and you have to commit.
Good Fuel Co: In what ways has being endurance athletes shaped you into the people you are today?
Katie & Taylor: Being endurance athletes has added significantly to the characters that we are today. First, we have a passion for competition and working hard to achieve our goals. This has been a driving force to our success as athletes and entrepreneurs. Additionally, being an endurance athlete has granted us a greater appreciation of nature. Since we spent so much time outdoors we constantly get inspired from the places we travel and landscapes we cross.
Good Fuel Co: Who/ what is your biggest inspiration?
Katie & Taylor: Innovators and music makers. We get inspired by people who shape culture and stand for what they believe in.
Good Fuel Co: What are your long-term dreams for Thunderbird Energetica?
Katie & Taylor: We want Thunderbird to be a household name for healthy conveniently packaged whole foods. Ultimately we want to help educate consumers about the health benefits of real food and positively impact the purchasing decisions of health minded consumers.