If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting Geoff Livingston, even the briefest of encounters, you’ll know a few things for certain… Geoff is passionate about people and genuinely cares about their stories – this is reflected in both his personal life and his work at Noravera where he works hard to communicate powerful, engaging stories. Geoff is a fantastic listener and remembers minute details about everyone he meets. He also loves making connections between people with shared interests or common goals. Finally, if you’ve ever met Geoff you know that the guy likes to bike.
In the summer of 2018 Geoff was able to combine all of those special things that make Geoff into one wild adventure when he decided to ride his bike from Banff to Mexico. No big deal.
Joining forces with his lifelong friend, Cam, as well as another go-getter, Jess, they trained through the year and then in the midst of forest fires in August 2018 took off on a 43 day journey that would push them both mentally and physically; growing together and as individuals through a unique shared experience. With the goal of sharing this unique experience with others, Geoff, Cam and Jess filmed many moments of their journey throughout the trip and recently, one of Noravera’s editors, Adam Green, completed editing their story together to share at the Premiere of “Shorten The Divide”.
The Premiere event was hosted by MEC who have been supporters of this journey from day one, providing gear and supplies for their trip. In addition to sharing the story of their trip for the first time, the other important goal of the event was to fundraise and raise awareness for the Take A Hike Foundation, who partner with public school districts to engage vulnerable youth in a full-time mental health and emotional well-being program that is embedded in an alternate education classroom. Take a Hike Foundation engages youth in intensive and continuous clinical counselling, adventure, and community, and empower vulnerable youth to change the trajectory of their lives.
We were proud to gather around 200 members of the community together for this Premiere event and raised over $1000 for the foundation at the event. It was an emotional event for all involved, as the film shares some personal, raw experiences, introspection and growth as they faced challenges, highs and lows throughout their journey. The evening was capped off with a live Q&A with Geoff, Jess and Cam – who joined via skype from Bali.
Overall, it was a huge success and we are so grateful for everyone who came and shared this experience with us in support of Geoff, Cam, Jess and Take A Hike Foundation.
Now to get a bit of Geoff’s personal perspective on the ride and the premiere event, here is a quick interview with Geoff I’d like to share with you as well:
Q: How did the idea of Shorten The Divide begin?
It all started with Cam and I wanting to figure out a way to set a big goal in place that would help me lose some weight, ride my bike as much as possible and help clear my mind from all of life’s stressors while trying to make it something bigger than ourselves to make an impact to help others and to hold ourselves capable or completing the ride.
Q: How did you prepare mentally and physically for the ride? And what surprised you about the reality of taking on this challenge?
This is a tricky question as I feel we weren’t either physically or mentally prepared for the ride once we began. It was a lot of work throughout the year to make sure that our lives were set up here to keep going while we were away. Making time to train outside of work turned into long evening rides and commuting from Port Moody by bike to get the km’s in. To help out with the mind, there was a lot of time spent talking with family and friends and working with the kids at the Take A Hike Foundation and through their challenges they have been through and some of the ways they deal with them on a day to day basis.
Q: How important was your team (Cam, Jess, Asa, etc) and how did your relationships grow throughout the journey?
Having a team to complete the ride was what made it possible. The journey was an emotional roller coaster and having friends there to help throughout the days was everything. It seemed like someone would have something they needed help with on a day to day basis and it varied from day to day. It was a pretty incredible thing that the person struggling the most one day would most likely be the strongest the next.
Q: What day/moment was your favourite?
The best moment would have to be riding next to 40 wild horses about 100km into our longest day of riding which was 215km through the Red Desert in Southern Wyoming.
Q: What day/moment was the most rewarding?
The most rewarding way would have to be the last day. The amount of emotions that ran through us on that day was something I will never forget. The sadness that it was over and the overwhelming happiness and relief that we had just finished the longest mountain bike route in the world.
Q: How did it feel seeing the experience come together on film?
To be honest, I didn’t really know how it would all come together in one 45 minute long film. It is extremely difficult to capture 38 days and the emotion that was invloved in those days within 45 minutes. I didn’t watch any of the footage that we captured until our editors started to put it together. What Adam Green was able to bring out in terms of a storyline and how he capture the emotion, was incredible.
Q: Are there moments you see in the film that stick out to you and why?
The moment that stands out for me in the film would have to be Cam’s reflections on ego and the celebration of others. He is an incredible human being and I am so grateful that I was able to do this ride with him.
Q: How did you feel at the premiere before and after the screening?
It was a bit of a blur to be honest. It was a surreal experience to be able to share with the world what we had achieved. To have a room full of amazing people that have continued to show their support over the last couple of years is so amazing and I can’t thank everyone enough who has helped bring this film to life.
Q: What’s the next big adventure/challenge/journey in your life? (if you’ve set a goal for one yet)
The next big goal for me is to achieve a sustained level of fitness through continuous smaller goals (including BC Bike Race in July), as well as raising our little girl that is arriving in a few weeks now so I can be a happy and healthy roll model for her, for many many years so come.
Thanks for sitting down with us Geoff 🙂