In our Sponsor Sprints blog mini-series, we’re profiling some of this year’s race sponsors via personal interviews. In today’s feature, we’re chatting with Ian Schon, a longtime friend and teammate of B2C2, and an entrepreneur who launched Schon DSGN to follow his design ambitions. Schon DSGN is best known for their expert-designed and manufactured pens, which we will be showcasing in primes, raffles, and prizes throughout race day. Check out Schon DSGN’s beautiful images and craftmanship on twitter and instagram @schon_dsgn
What is your role at Schon DSGN and how long have you been at it?
I started making pens in 2010 in my parents garage and officially launched Schon DSGN in 2011. I run the company as a sole proprietor wearing hats from design, manufacturing, finishing, logistics, marketing, you name it, i do it :) Chief everything officer.
Tell us about your evolution as a designer and small-scale manufacturer. You had a humble start, launched a super successful campaign with the Pen Project to build a following, and have since launched a watch company. How has your style, expertise, experience, etc. changed since you got going?
My style from the design standpoint has always been to marry clean designs with manufacturer geometries. A tricky dance, but it continues to yield success since all my products make it to market. I was always bummed as a design consultant (when I had a dayjob ) when product designs didn’t make it! The goal of this work is to design and ship. My new studio in Philadelphia contains all the necessary equipment to transform raw stock into the products I sell. This is a big shift from contracting out some of my larger run manufacturing and allows me complete control over my process and outcomes. This required me to train in the art of swiss style turning. I call it an art and not a trade since its really nuanced and there are so many ways this manufacturing process can be done. As my experience grows in this space, the harmony between the machine and the design grows. I love being at the center of that tension and making decisions that span the whole product to production.
You recently moved your shop from Boston, MA to Philadelphia, PA. Can you walk us through that decision and tell us what you're hoping to do with the new space?
I needed more space!!! Boston is great, but there were many spaces I could rent for manufacturing. Easy outside of Boston, but I wasn’t super pumped about being far away from my community. here in philly I am in a great neighborhood with a studio near fishtown. This means its easy to take people for a tour and grab a bite to eat in a really cool neighborhood. Its definitely a big lifestyle shift, but this place rocks. definitely come visit. ill give you a tour and well eat some good stuff.
What is the next big idea coming out of the Schon workshop? You're known for being hyper-focused on everyday carry items. Is there a new product on your horizon that you're working on?
Fountain pens. I am sprinting for some deadlines around these. Big launch later this year :)
You're currently hand-crafting special pens for primes at the Greenfield Crit. Can you share with us a little bit about what people can expect if they're lucky enough to snag a prime?
I did some custom engraving on these pens. A new process I am getting into. Go check them out at registration. If you like them, consider commissioning some as gifts with a name, monogram or your logo :)
Finally, what is the accomplishment you're most proud of with regard to Schon DSGN? I can think of a million ways you've impressed us all with your attention to detail and commitment to design, but I'm curious what you feel most personally proud of.
I am proud of being a first generation manufacturing company. Its really hard to start up a manufacturing company because of all the money it takes to get these machines and ready a space for the type of work I do. Its epic to walk into my facility and think... once upon a time, i was in my parents garage making pens one at a time. Who knew this is where I would end up. Super proud of all the hard work I have put in these past 8 years. Cant wait to push this even further. :)
In our Sponsor Sprints blog mini-series, we’re profiling some of this year’s race sponsors via personal interviews. After retiring from the World Tour stage, Ted King co-founded the all-natural athletic fuel company, UnTapped. We were thrilled to grab a bit of time from Ted to catch up on how New England-based UnTapped has evolved from the early days to now. Follow Untapped for all the maple goodness you can handle on the internets @untappedmaple.
What is your role at UntTapped and how long have you been with them?
First and foremost, I maintain a healthy, lifelong obsession of maple syrup. Fast-forward to a few years ago, I’m a cofounder of UnTapped. We started the company in 2013 and really got momentum going while I raced the 2014 Tour de France and used that platform to gain momentum with a successful crowd funding campaign on the international stage. I handle a large portion of the marketing, athlete and team relationships, social media and communications, and still answer plenty of customer service questions.
UnTapped is a New England-grown company. How has the company evolved since it got its start in Vermont and how has the New England racing community played a role in that evolution?
Given that I was the only World Tour professional from New England and known for a fondness of maple syrup I would literally step off the team bus and be handed syrup by generous fans from the maple homeland. I’d take it home after races and use it for training, pour some in my water bottles, and just immediately found that it was cleaner, tastier, and much more pure than everything else out there. I knew Andrew Gardner from the New England cycling community and he introduced me to the Cochran family of alpine ski fame — they're recently started producing maple syrup under the header of Slopeside Syrup. We all understood the benefit of maple syrup for athletic performance and the idea was instantly a hit among our group. From there we brought the idea to the public; the New England cycling community and beyond took to it and the rest is history.
UnTapped started out with a simple lineup of delicious, natural maple syrup packets. Now we have waffles and drink mixes, too. What kinds of nutrition innovations can we look forward to from Untapped in the future?
We don’t want to let any cats out of the bag, but you’ll always recognize UnTapped for a very simple ingredient list and purity. We don’t use natural flavors, additives, or mysterious “agents.” Our products taste like what they’re called — maple, coffee, raspberry, lemon, ginger — because we use the real ingredient. At the end of the day, we’re selling real nutrition derived from real ingredients.
Finally, what is your personal favorite UnTapped product? For our friends who haven't tried any UnTapped products yet, what is the must-try item?
Is it too cheeky to say Whatever it is I’m eating at the time? Honestly it just shocks me how tasty our lineup of products are. Our new Chai Waffle is freaking delicious! I eat a few of those every week. Our Mapleaid drink mixes are as fresh and refreshing as any drink I’ve ever had, and that extends well beyond the sports nutrition aisle. And the original Maple UnTapped is still the foundation and best selling product we have. It’s all so so good!
In our Sponsor Sprints blog mini-series, we’re profiling some of this year’s race sponsors via personal interviews. First up, we had a chance to catch up with Roni Vetter, owner and chef at Jake’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream. Roni will not only be racing in our pro women’s event on Sunday, but will be on site serving up delicious ice cream all day, in addition to providing the fresh-baked pies for our race winners. Give Jake’s Ice Cream a follow @jakesicecreamnh.
What is your role at Jake's and how long have you been involved?
I am the chef/owner of Jake's Ice Cream. Our main focus is wholesale ice cream products for retailers. We make and manufacture super premium ice cream and sorbet in a variety of container sizes. Anything from a single serve container (which will be present at Greenfield Crit) up to a 2.5 gallon tub. Our most popular pack size is a pint.
I do everything from manage the business, hands-on ice cream production, make and design bakery/ice cream/wedding cakes, answer phones, emails, social media, etc. And in my spare time I race bikes! I have owned Jake's about 16 years.
Tell us about the origins of Jake's - how did you get started, what made you get in the business, and how have you seen Jake's grow and evolve?
Jake's was an ice cream shop, originally of Milford NH, started in 1988. The business came up for sale at the end of the season in 2003. I had been in the food service industry for many years, and was being downsized from the Ritz-Carlton corporate entity. So I made the leap from corporate pastry chef life to small business ownership.
Jake's location has shifted from Milford to Amherst, where I had a retail shop for 8 years, to it's current location in Nashua, NH. The retail shop not only served ice cream, but we had bakery items, candy, lunch, an ice cream truck for events, and wholesale ice cream accounts. Now, the main focus of the business is servicing wholesale accounts, such as grocers, convenience stores, restaurants, farm stands, scoop shops, etc. We also take specialty and custom cake orders and can be hired for private catered events.
Who is Jake? Where does the name come from?
Jake was the original owner. His full name was Ralph Jakubowski, but all his friends called him Jake. He was retired from the military and decided to open a local ice cream shop with his wife and daughter. They owned the shop about 10 years. It was a well loved local institution, so I decided to keep the name upon acquiring the company.
What gives Jake's ice cream that perfect, creamy consistency? It's honestly some of the most incredible ice cream I've ever had.
Awwww, thanks! We use only the best and purest ingredients, without artificial flavors or additives. We make most of the additions for the ice cream in house (cookie d'oh, brownie pieces, caramel, etc). We produce our ice cream in small batches (under 5 gallons at a time). Our recipe and process uses a combination of high butterfat, low overrun (which is the air content in ice cream) and is frozen very quickly to create smaller ice crystals. All resulting in a creamier consistency and better product. (science) lol
This is your second year coming to the Greenfield Crit. What other kinds of events do you do and what are your favorites?
This is my second season racing on the road and criteriums on the Bike Reg | Share Coffee squad. But I have been racing CX for almost 8 years now. I love the challenge of training and learning within the road racing scene. But really love CX. I love just about all things bike racing. But would say that it's more of the people of the bike racing community that really stand out as favorites, more than a particular bike race or venue. New England Bicycle Racing Association and NECX rules! :)
All of our winners at the Greenfield Crit this year are going to get a special, baked-with-love pie. Can you tell us a little bit about what people can expect if they're lucky enough to win?
Ahhhh, yes! Everybody loves a fresh baked pie! We are honored and excited to be making podium pies for the Greenfield Crit this year! Top finishers will receive one of our Berry-Cherry Butter Crumb Streusal Pies. It's perfect when shared with friends and served with Jake's Ice Cream!
7. Finally, what is your favorite flavor of Jake's Ice Cream? What flavor must people try this Sunday when they've finished their race and need that post-race treat?
This is truly a difficult question for me to answer. I make almost 100 flavors of ice cream, and would be happy to have almost all of them. But I have to say, my go to is usually Cookies N Cream. It creates a memory from my childhood, that really is unmatched by any other flavor.
This year at Greenfield, we will have an assortment of ice cream & dairy free sorbet in cups, as well as our unique ice cream sandwiches. I'm planning to have flavors such as our Mint Madness (mint chocolate chip with Oreo cookies), NH Deer Trax (vanilla ice cream, fudge & peanut butter cup pieces), Maple Walnut Bacon, and for a dairy free or vegan option, Raspberry Sorbet. Ice Cream sandwiches may also include a Chocolate Chip Brookie with Salted Caramel Ice Cream and a Gluten Free Sugar Cookie with Black Raspberry Ice Cream. They are all delicious, so you really can't go wrong with any of them!
The Greenfield Criterium is thrilled to announce this year’s race sponsors, without whom this amazing little event would not be possible. Time to put on your sprinting legs! We’ve got excellent primes and podium prizes are on deck this year. You won’t want to miss it!
Schon DSGN pens are constructed to provide their owners with an heirloom quality product that will last a lifetime. Manufactured with care in a new workshop in Philadelphia, PA, these solid metal pens come in a variety of materials and finishes, each with a distinct feel and appearance. A handful of lucky Greenfield Crit racers will head home with a custom edition pen this year, handmade by longtime teammate and friend of B2C2, Ian Schon. Learn more about Schon DSGN and check out the selection of pens, including a multicolored limited edition, at https://www.schondsgn.com.
Share Coffee delivers the best coffee, direct to your door. The coffee is roasted to order in Hadley, MA, and shipped out the same day so it arrives in perfect condition. With an unmatched commitment to cup quality, environmental stewardship, and traceability, Share coffee is as tasty as it is responsible. Step up your coffee game: head on over to https://www.sharecoffeeroasters.com.
Jake’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream and Bakery is a wholesale supplier of premium ice cream and sorbet, which they make in-house in Nashua, NH. Jake’s also offers made-to-order cakes, pies, pastries, and cookies. Jake’s will be on-site on race day serving up cold, perfect ice cream out of their ice cream truck. If you’re lucky enough to take the win on race day you’ll be able to taste the literal fruits of your labor with a fresh-baked pie. Learn about Jake’s products and find a local restaurant or shop where you can get them at http://jakesoldfashionedicecream.com.
Born and raised in Vermont, Untapped turns maple syrup into convenient and delicious, all-natural nutrition for training and racing. Products range from gel packets filled with pure syrup to waffles and drink mix, all of which will be up for grabs in primes throughout the day at the Greenfield Crit. Taste all the options at https://untapped.cc.
JRA Cycles is a full-service bicycle shop in Medford, MA and the long-beloved home shop for B2C2. Unmatched service and mechanical skills make JRA the obvious choice for Boston-area cyclists. From choosing a new steed to servicing your neglected shocks, or getting you outfitted with cycling apparel and other gear, JRA has you covered. JRA regularly hosts events like informative talks and demo days, and is committed to being an active member of the New England cycling community. Support your local bike shop, visit https://www.jracycles.com.
Bike racing is serious business. Cat3 Memes creates stiff, lightweight, full-carbon memes for the amateur road cycling community. All original content by a certified semi-pro cat 3 racer. Products, including socks, stickers, and more up for the taking at this year’s race, or for sale at https://cat3memes.bigcartel.com.
Finally, the sponsor that needs no introduction: As far as we’re concered, BikeReg is the only online event registration service for cycling events. Built by racers and race promoters, the elegant Bike Reg platform provides a seamless registration process for event directors and participants alike. For race directors, there is nothing more calming than knowing your registration process is handled by the pros. See the magic in action: https://www.bikereg.com/greenfield
Hello and WELCOME to the 2019 Greenfield Crit. We’re pretty #hyped about the summer of racing ahead, and hope you are too! In case you didn’t know, registration is OPEN. The first 50 people to register for the race get a nice little discount on registration, so head on over to BikeReg to save enough money to buy at least one hipster-priced pour over coffee.
We want to first thank everyone who has participated in the previous editions of the Greenfield Crit, and especially those who took the time to complete the post-race surveys. Every year since 2016, we pour over the responses of the post-race survey and have a team chat about how we can improve the race based on your feedback. In this post, we’re highlighting five changes we’re making in 2019:
2. Second, you may have noticed our race is now in July! We moved around Crit Week this year to try to avoid making our racers choose between great, local racing and some of the best racing elsewhere in the country. We didn’t want to make people choose between Dairlylands and NE Crit Week, so we up and moved. We hope you can join us on Sunday, July 14th!
3. By popular demand, the Men’s Masters 40+ race will be extended to 50 minutes this year. Adjust your training accordingly.
4. Our junior’s race is becoming more… junior. After reviewing survey responses and talking with parents and team directors, we decided to trade the 14-18 race of years passed with a 9-14 race to give some of our youngest racing friends their own time in the spotlight.
5. We’re trying to make beginner-level racing more beginner-friendly for both men and women. After doing some schedule Tetris, we were able to squeeze in a men’s category 5 field for what has historically been a combined men’s category 4/5 field. We’re hoping this makes for a lot less lapping on course, and a much better racing experience for some of our newcomers to the sport. Similarly, we have tried to make the beginner women’s field a bit more beginner friendly. Though it was a tough decision, we decided to change the Women’s 3/4/5 race to a 4/5 race, aiming to provide a better experience for our newest racers, and especially those who are coming straight from the intro racer clinic into what may be their first ever race. All category 3 women will of course still be welcomed into the Women’s 1/2/3 race. At the end of the day, the experience for our sports newest racers is going to be what keeps them in the sport or sends them away. We’d like to make sure we’re contributing to growing the sport by providing positive experiences for all categories, but especially our most novice ones.
This may sound like a lot of change, but we’re feeling confident it’s all for the better. Everything else you have always loved about the Greenfield Crit will return in 2019, including the free intro clinic and intro race, super-soft and locally-designed race tees, and hot takes by Ryan Kelly on the mic. It promises to be another stellar day of bike racing in New England. All aboard the #hypetrain!
Pens and watches? Two things you don’t often connect to bike racing, but this unlikely connection has brought a new title sponsor to the 2018 Greenfield Crit. Entering its third year in 2018, the Greenfield Criterium will be titled by Schon DSGN and Schon Horology, two companies with one thing in common: Ian Schon. Ian started making his machined metal pens under his brand Schon DSGN in 2012 and launched his handmade watches late last year as Schon Horology. Longtime team member of B2C2 and a fixture of the New England racing scene, Ian approaches sponsorship of this event from a unique vantage point. “B2C2 and the New England racing community have been really supportive of me over the years. Giving back to this team and the Greenfield Crit feels right, even if it’s a bit untraditional since my work is not really related to cycling.”
In 2009, Ian Schon was a second-year engineering student at Boston University trying to find a way to keep bike racing in his life. It was at this moment that a local club - B2C2 - took in 19-year old Ian as a new addition to the team, supporting Ian financially with race registrations and chauffeuring him to races throughout the region. For several years, the support of a local community and close-knit team to help keep Ian rolling was the difference between staying in the sport and leaving it behind. Now - nearly a decade later - Ian is an entrepreneur with two budding businesses, and he is eager to give back to the community that helped him find success in his formative years. “So many members of this community have mentored me and purchased my products in my early moments as an entrepreneur. When the team was scouting for new sponsors, I said, hey why not. I feel inspired by past sponsors and seeing what a little money in the hands of such talented and motivated community organizers can do to grow the sport and make an impact!”
Schon DSGN Pens will be available for sale on-site on June 24th at the Greenfield Crit. Stop by to see and feel what Massachusetts-made feels like.