The Quic Disc Story
My younger brother thought up the idea of a tabletized energy product back in 1995 after doing the Hawaii Ironman and becoming very dehydrated and energy deficient in the race. He bonked and went from 80th overall off the bike to 126th by the end of the run, and almost did a Julie Moss. After the race he was certain that he could create a product that would be easy to use and travel with him wherever he trained or raced. Something he could take to never bonk again: his idea was a tabletized sports drink.
He spent months working on his ideas and driving his beat-up Hyundai to a manufacturing company in New Hampshire to try them out. He had to find a way to create a tablet that didn’t have insoluble tableting-press lubricants. He did not want to use sodium bicarbonate (another lubricant) because it created fizz and tasted terrible. The tablets needed to break apart quickly in water and taste great. But creating a carbohydrate tablet without insoluble tableting lubricants hadn’t been done before. Magnesium Stearate, the principal tableting press lubricant, was used in most every tablet, but it was insoluble and created a metallic sheen on the top of the water. Without it, the friction of the tablet presses created heat, which made the mixture sticky, and the tablets would break apart on the press. He tried idea after idea, including electrifying the tableting press positively and the lubricant negatively to coat the press versus including it in the mixture, but he gave up on that idea after he got a huge electric shock. Every time he seemed defeated, he would think up something else to try. Finally he figured out a way to make it work and he was able to produce the first fully water soluble carbohydrate tablet that broke apart quickly in water without fizz. He filed for a patent on his process in 1999, which was granted in 2001.
Quic Disc Sports Drink Tablets came out in 1999: the first of their kind. It was given four stars by Bicycling Magazine and found to be a great product by other reviewers of the day: Outside Magazine,Backpacker Magazine and the Seattle Times to name but a few. Quic Disc had one flavor, all natural grape, made by an independent flavor house. But after all the hard work and effort the dream came to an early end. The flavor house couldn't replicate the flavor it had provided and sent a terrible tasting flavor that was used in what turned out to be the last production run. My brother didn’t like the way it tasted and he couldn’t bring himself to get behind a product he didn’t think was great. He was out of money and decided to “delay” any further production of Quic Disc until he had the financial ability to do it right. The original Quic Disc product had lots of followers and the tabletized sports drinks you see today are directly attributed, in many cases, to the original Quic Disc product. He was told that when one Quic Disc user could no longer get the product, he created his own “first” non-carbohydrate, fizzy, electrolyte sports drink tablet that is all the rage still today.
Our Beginnings and Relationship Rebirth
My brother and I grew up as kids in Knoxville Tennessee, but in high school my brother moved to Boston with my father and I stayed in Knoxville with our mom. We both grew up as swimmers and when I watched Julie Moss crawl across the Ironman finish line in 1982 I knew that I could do that. The next year my brother and I did the Baystate Triathlon; our first triathlon. I then did the Cape Cod ironman distance triathlon and six weeks later I competed in the 1983 Hawaii Ironman, a year after watching Julie Moss craw across the finish line.
Bay State Triathlon 1983
My Brother on left, me on right
The Trip Back
As the years passed, my brother and I grew further and further apart; living our lives in different parts of the country. Then in August of 2012 our mother died suddenly. It was a shock to both of us. We came together for her funeral and, as she had wished, after the funeral we started talking more often, eventually every day.
My brother had for years tried to get back to Hawaii through the lottery, but after our mother’s death, he was driven to earn his way back to the Hawaii Ironman. In 2013 I travelled with him to St. Croix for his first half-ironman in 18 years, and while he had mishap after mishap and did not qualify for Hawaii, we had a lot of time together. One of the things we talked about was the fact that Quic Disc was a great product, there was still years left on the patent and there still was no product in the market like it. As much as my brother wanted to revive Quic Disc, he didn’t have the time with his family and job. I had the time, and it was our first discussion about my bringing it back. The seed had been planted.
Later that year I decided it was my time to get back into the sport. Over the next 10 months I would drop 18 pounds and be ready to race the 2014 St. Croix half-Ironman alongside my brother. St. Croix 2014 was a momentous occasion. I completed my first triathlon since Hawaii 1983 and my brother qualified for Hawaii 2014 by taking third in our age group. It was also the real beginning of the new Quic Disc. Instead of talking, we decided it was time to take action to bring it back.
The Rebirth of Quic Disc
I started slowly, first working on the flavors. We knew that without incredible flavors, recreating Quic Disc wasn’t worth doing. I sampled over 100 different flavors from 29 different flavor houses. It took seven months to get through them all and by the end we had selected four terrific flavors. We went back to the same manufacturing company that had helped create the original Quic Disc just north of the White Mountains in New Hampshire. We found the same wonderful people still there, and they were willing to help revive the product. We ran test run after test run to get the components of the new Quic Disc just right. The turning point was when we reevaluated the concept of Quic Disc as a sports drink and decided that we should focus on how everyone, including my brother, used the original product. He would say “we just ate them, they were great!” From those conversations the concept of Quic Disc Simply Carbs was born. A carbohydrate sports tablet that you would eat. Smaller than the original to make it easier to eat, but packing 70 calories per four tablets and delivered in tubes to make it easier to open and use.
Where are we today?
We finished the first production run and signed an agreement to offer samples in all 41 North American Ironman and Half Ironman races in 2015 and in many marathons and half-marathons in North America. We decided the best way to tell people about the new Quic Disc Simply Carbs was to give out 1.8 million tablets (180,000 tubes) across the country in race packet goodie bags. We believe that if you try Quic Disc Simply Carbs, you will understand why we have brought it back. It proves its usefulness in every run or ride we go on. Our only challenge to you is to go for a run or ride, bring a tube of Quic Disc Simply Carbs with you, and eat the tablets as you go. You will not bonk. That is our promise to you. We hope you will give it a try. You can think of it like having a life preserve in your pocket for when you simply need carbs.
Our first race this year was Ironman Texas in May. It was a hot, humid and tough race. I finished in 14:03:01, beating my Hawaii Ironman time from 1983 by over a half hour, and my brother finished in 10:09:01, fifth in his age group and got a slot for Hawaii.
Last, we are very excited about the response to Quic Disc Simply Carbs. With little exception everyone that tries them likes them and we couldn't be more happy with the result. So our next race is Mont Tremblant Ironman August 16th and then off to Hawaii to support my brother Oct 10th. See you all out there, and thank you very much for the support.
President Quic Disc