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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.

The Great Glen Paddle Challenge

A rare opportunity to train together on Basingstoke Canal
A rare opportunity to train together on Basingstoke Canal Sunset on a day into night paddle The loneliness of the long distance paddler... The Speeder is not the fastest boat, but it is not slow either...

Roy and I were chatting after a Paddling Fitness session when he stated "I need a challenge, something to motivate me to train, ideally a boat based event, do you know of anything?" I felt the same way but could only think of Devises-Westminster and that meant specialist boats and pretty much giving up the whitewater season which neither of us wanted. Then later that week I found a link to the Great Glen Paddle; it was perfect and within a couple of weeks we were signed up.
This is no easy option as the challenge is a significant one, a non-stop 57 mile paddle from Fort William to Inverness via canal, river and lochs. Starting in the wee hours of the morning we will face paddling in the dark, portages, changing water conditions and whatever the weather throws at us. The course record is just under 10 hours but our best estimates will see us paddling for at least 12 hours, possibly up to 16 hours to complete the course.
Adding to the challenge for us is our conscious effort to take a low tech and low cost approach. We could have thrown thousands of pounds at fast, light boats but instead opted to paddle heavier, slower Pyranha Speeders. I already owned a Speeder as a training/touring boat and Roy picked a used one up for £250 on eBay! After a bit of training and using winged blades, our one concession to racing specific kit, we are able to cruise at about 5mph at sustainable effort levels and really enjoy paddling these versatile boats.
The rest of our kit is largely adopted from our existing whitewater boating equipment. Peak UK have been very supportive and we have found ourselves spending a great deal of time training in various combinations of their excellent thermals, rash vests, pogies and strides.
And we really have spent a lot of time training! Since deciding we would enter the event we have each spent in excess of 50 hours on the water in our Pyranha Speeders, by day and night, in rain, sleet, wind and freezing conditions, putting in the mileage to condition ourselves for the challenge. The struggle was even greater for Roy as he had no experience of paddling long boats or with wings so spent a while bouncing off banks until he could adapt his technique to the new kit! Off the water we have put in countless hours of running, biking and strength training to cross train and improve our overall conditioning for the rigours of the event. It is fair to say that on many nights our wives have suffered the company of tired, irritable, achey men collapsed on the sofa.
We decided early on that we would seek to raise money for charity so that all our efforts should not be for nought.  Both of us, like many others, have lost friends and family to Cancer so it was an easy decision to adopt Cancer Research UK as our charity. We would be grateful for any donations, either in person or via our Just Giving page - it will be great if something good can come from our efforts.
With just under 5 weeks to the event we are entering the most intense period of training. You can follow Roy's training on Strava and mine on Strava and Garmin. Equally, frequent updates and images of training and the event itself can be found on the Live2Flow Facebook feed.

Created on 19-Feb-2014 at 20:26