Always (Strate) Forward

Matt Tanner on February 5, 2024

Since meeting Chris, my life has been a journey of dreams pursued, successes celebrated, and lessons learned. She’s been my compass, urging me to venture into the business world, explore new events, and push my fitness limits.

In 2012, Chris’s encouragement led to the creation of Rollfast, initially envisioned as a hub for cycling tee shirt designs. Over time, it evolved into a thriving club with over 100 members across the nation, centered around the mental fitness discovered through cycling.

Our next endeavor, the Recover Fast Spa, opened its doors a few years later. Offering a range of recovery solutions, from hyperbaric oxygen chambers to infrared saunas, it was a vision ahead of its time. Unfortunately, despite our efforts, educating people about these cutting-edge recovery methods proved to be more challenging than anticipated. Within a year, we made the tough call to close its doors.

The boldest step was the creation of the Rollfast Gran Fondo in 2013. Fueled by the idea of hosting the first gran fondo in Indiana, we marketed it as the “World’s Fastest Gran Fondo,” utilizing the flat roads to our advantage. We introduced special awards for those completing the 100-mile course in under 4 hours, attracting international pros, Indy Car celebrities, and the attention of cycling industry giants.

While the Gran Fondo garnered praise and love from riders, financial success remained elusive. After the 2019 event, I knew it was time for a new adventure.

2019 Rollfast Gran Fondo

The spark for that adventure came during the 6hr World Time Trial Championships. The challenge of fueling on a TT bike prompted a search for alternatives. After experimenting with various options, I discovered “Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin.” With the help of Chris and a Georgia-based lab, Strate Fuel was born—a formula that not only matched other superfuels but also reduced inflammation and enhanced glycogen storage.

Strate Fuel became a hit not only with cyclists but also with martial artists, water skiers, and cross fitters. We received incredible testimonials, and two teams endorsed our product for the 2023 season.

However, challenges persisted. Our insistence on using high-quality ingredients made production expensive. Despite having passionate fans, we needed a larger customer base to reduce costs. Scaling the business became a formidable task. After giving it my all, I made the tough decision to close Strate Fuel on February 1, 2024.

As I reflect on these ventures, I don’t see them as failures. Each one has been a chapter in my life, filled with incredible people and invaluable lessons. Chris has been my anchor throughout, and as I look forward to the next adventure, I know she’ll be by my side.

The future is uncertain, but the journey continues—always forward.

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