We asked Ted King former pro cyclist and co-founder of Untapped, about his journey from cycling to global maple syrup ambassador. Here's what he told us.
Under the section “Where do you see yourself in 20 years?” I explain in my sixth grade yearbook that I’ll be wrapping up a professional hockey career, I’ll own a restaurant, and be some sort of entrepreneur. Fast forward to the present, I’m impressively on track with that career estimation; I opted for pro cycling over hockey, the culinary world still fascinates me, (although I haven’t gone full bore into that arena… yet). And I helped launch a company, UnTapped, which combines those two passions — food and athletics.
I chose to call it a career at the end of the 2015. I feel I might have continued racing for many more years at the highest level, but needing to be true to myself I recognized my passion for professional racing beginning to wane. I stepped away from professional cycling having competed in everything I first dreamed to in the sport — the world championships, spring classics, one-day races and week long tours, plus grand tours, the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France. I continue, though, to have a strong love for the general sport of cycling which is seen in how much I continue to ride. I’m staying very busy both on and off the bike, and launching a company consumed a lot of time.
I’m staying very busy both on and off the bike, and launching a company consumed a lot of time. UnTapped was born on the bike. Riding around rural New England, sugar shacks dot windy wooded roads where maple syrup is made. A simple process, organic maple sap is drawn from a tree, collected in these cabins, and boiled down to the naturally sweet maple syrup. The simple process of boiling concentrates the inherent benefits found in the New England forest so the maple syrup contains vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and is bursting with amino acids and antioxidants. During sporadic visits back home to the northeast, I would buy mini-novelty glasses of maple syrup and slip them in my jersey pocket for fuel throughout the rest of my ride. Glass in my pocket, safe? No. Deliciously worth it? Without a doubt.
Maple syrup has always stirred a fire in me. I visited sugar shacks belonging to family and friends for as long as I can remember. There’s a wistfulness to seeing the enormous boilers produce clouds of steam, the swirling air rich with the unctuous smell of pure maple knowing that I’ll be given a small taste of the golden hot liquid, not quite fully boiled down to syrup. It’s with that nostalgia — plus a little time working as a maple syrup business owner— that I realized not all sugars are created equally.
Maple syrup is an organic superfood far exceeding honey, agave, molasses, and maltodextrin in regards to its wholesome, natural benefits. As a single organic ingredient, it contains all the benefits of the sports gels that we as athletes mindless choke down hour after hour, day after day, season after season. Hence there’s a timelessness that maple offers that I keep coming back to: its continuity, built from the literal change in the seasons, marks for me a trip towards nostalgia and history. But it’s the progressive nature, the simple take on nutrition that makes me most excited. (There are few fuels easy enough to justify ten servings in a single race, which is exactly what I did in the Dirty Kanza two weeks ago.)
To that end, maple syrup is a fuel for today, a perfect pick for the here and now, a fuel for a better experience which is exactly what I’m chasing along with the masses of cyclists, trail runners and so forth. Were I able to reach back, to chat with the kid in that sixth grade yearbook, I’d explain to him simply. “Things get sweet, man. Trust me.”
Suggested Use: UnTapped is best to use 10 minutes before a 20 to 30 minute workout or all the time during exercise. UnTapped syrup packs can be consumed in higher quantities without stomach duress...if needed.
Benefits: All natural and organic, this delicious syrup’s low glycemic index provides prolonged energy rather than the traditional spike and crash. Water soluble and easy to digest, this real Vermont maple syrup is perfect for any endurance workout. AND a great compliment to your morning oatmeal and coffee, that will keep you fueled and energized for any and every kind of day. Untapped maple packets are currently featured in our 2016 Tour De France Box, a mix of our favorite products, available for $39.99. Order today and get a FREE Camelbak podium bottle!