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‘The Flow State is being so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter: Every action, movement and thought flows inevitably from the previous one. Your whole being is involved, you're using your skills to the utmost and the result is a feeling of spontaneous joy.’ - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Live2Flow is the concept of a man trapped in an unfulfilling career who decided to pursue a life of Flow.  This blog is documents the activities of a man who swapped a desk for the great outdoors, dedicating himself to better his personal performance in his chosen sports and to pursue his passion of coaching and training others; the objective is to literally Live2Flow.  This is not a selfish obsession, Live2Flow aims to take these experiences to others and through passionate coaching and guiding help them experience Flow for themselves.

Highs, Lows and Fast Flows - Live2Flow's 2012

New Year Day on the East Lyn, preparing for 5 Star Assessment
New Year Day on the East Lyn, preparing for 5 Star Assessment Perfect winter conditions for the Winter Welsh 3000ers Enjoying a paddle between courses on the Moriston in Scotland The Dub sure racked up some miles in the spring... The Alps are a great training ground on the bike, here on the Col D Izoard An image from the glorious 2 weeks paddling in the Alps Keep your eyes on the singletrack!  Fabulous scenery around Jasper The new Canyon 29er on a trip to the Peak District, I predict many miles will pass under its wheels

2012 was an incredible year for Live2Flow: some great achievements, some huge disappointments, great times with friends, focused times alone and a literally life changing summer.

Testing, Testing…

Years of gaining experience without seeking many awards meant my capabilities were much higher than my qualifications suggested and this needed to be redressed if Live2Flow was to be successful.  The early part of the year was therefore utterly dominated by the quest to achieve NGB accreditation and this meant training courses and assessments, lots of them.

In all I spent over 18 days on various courses between Jan and Apr, 5 of those under assessment conditions, fitting them between my remaining military commitments.  On the weekends I wasn't becoming very familiar with Plas y Brenin and Glenmore Lodge, I was out trying to put into practice what I had learnt or build up specific experience requirements for the next course, always trying to move forward and keep developing.

I gained a great deal from the courses and enjoyed all of the experiences but it wasn’t all plain sailing.  The law of sod demanded that conditions on each course were always perfect... for one of the other courses!  Too little water in the rivers then too much water, an unseasonably low snow line, dry for kayaking, wet for biking…  However, the lowest point had to be wrapped up in the van in a campsite in Fort William suffering from food poisoning when I should have been on the river for a 5 Star Assessment – damn those fish and chips!!!  It was a long way to drive to be ill in a camper van for 2 days and then drive home...

However, adversity was overcome and the rewards were great.  I was delighted to pass all of the assessments, being particularly proud to finally achieve my BCU 5 Star WW Leader and MBLA Mountain Bike Leader awards.  I was also very lucky to have a perfect week of winter conditions allowing me to complete the Wales Winter 15 Peaks Challenge in 5 days, memories I will not forget easily.

Should Training be this much fun?

Whilst all this was going on I was also steadily training for the summer’s two main goals; the TransRockies (T-R) and TransProvence (T-P) mountain bike stage races.  This meant riding bikes, lots and lots, which was awful as I just hate having to ride my bike…

We had set up a number of test protocols and delighted in watching our performances on these tests steadily improve.  I say ‘we’ because TR is a team event and poor Long Suffering Wife (LSW) had been roped into joining Team Live2Flow for the event, a true test of the strength of our relationship…

Our training culminated in an early season trip to the Alps to test ourselves against some proper hills.  And what a test it turned out to be as LSW and I found that none of the uplifts in the area operate in early June so every metre of alpine descending had to be earned the hard way.  Accepting this was, after all, exactly what XC is all about, we had a superb series of rides racking up over 10,000m of ascent and feeling confident about the challenges ahead.

Summer of the DNF

By this point my military career had effectively ended and Live2Flow was going live so I stayed on in the Alps for a couple of weeks whilst LSW headed home.  The weeks were filled with paddling the awesome rivers of the Alps in mostly perfect conditions – bliss.  It really is one of my favourite places in the world and I paddled with friends from University Clubs, old Military colleagues and finally Chichester Canoe Club travelled out to join me and I led their annual Alps trip.  Wake, paddle, pizza, beer, sleep, repeat…

I returned to the UK at the end of June and the following day I officially became a civilian!  However, there was no time for ceremony as all too quickly the training and planning was over and two of the most famous mountain bike stage races were around the corner.  Continents apart and with contrasting styles of racing, I was looking forward to both but neither turned out as I had hoped.  The full stories can be found in the previous blogs on the T-R and T-P.  The short, simple versions are that I suffered from illness related dehydration which ended our T-R attempt on Stage 3 and I had a bad fall off the bike in Stage 2 of the T-P breaking a rib and ending that race prematurely too.  All in all, not a very successful summer and a sad end to all the time and money invested in preparing for the two events.

Still, there were a lot of positives in the margins.  I did some fabulous riding in Canada, exploring a beautiful country, I completed the South Downs Way in a single ride (something that had been on my ‘to do’ list for some time) and I got to experience being part of two truly brilliant events.  Still gutted though…

Final Fling

The period after T-P was a difficult one which I discussed in the blog here, but I came out of it raring to go and ready to extract as much fun as possible from the last few weeks of the year.  It was great to start feeling the benefit of the ‘Olympic Legacy’ in my first trip to the Lee Valley whitewater course and this was followed by weekends paddling in North Wales and a final paddle of the year in Devon, where the heavy rainfalls led to exciting runs down the Upper Upper Plym and Middle Tavy at high levels.  Fit again, it was great to get out on my new Canyon 29er mountain bike with friends and take my first tentative steps into cyclocross riding on my new Cotic X – skinny tyres and drop bars offroad, whatever next?!?!

And 2013?

This year promises to be exciting but in a slightly different way.  The fun will not stop but I am hoping to redirect the focus from my personal experience and learning to me coaching and leading others.  That is, after all, one of the key objectives of Live2Flow, what I set upon this path to do, my new mission to help others find their Flow.

That said, I have a few challenges in mind, a few qualifications that I want to progress towards and a number of personal targets to achieve.  If you are not moving forward you are falling behind…

There is much more to come in 2013 I promise.

Follow Live2Flow on Facebook here.

A more comprehensive selection of images is here and my videos from the year are here.

Created on 04-Jan-2013 at 21:35