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Podcast: The perspective from behind the lens with Geoff Livingston

Updated: Jul 7, 2023

Today on the show we have Geoff Livingston. Geoff is a North Vancouver local Mountain Biker, Photographer, Dad, and Cancer Survivor.


Having been through some incredibly tough circumstances, Geoff sheds an interesting perspective on what it means to be a mountain biker, and what is important in life. We talk about the mental rollercoaster of going from his highest high, completing the Great Divide - a 4350km bike ride, to being diagnosed with cancer and what he has learned along the way.



In his professional life, Geoff is an entrepreneur at heart and is in the process of re-designing his professional career, to align more closely with his passion for Mountain Biking and community. He was recently involved in filming the Raceface pick-a-part video series featuring none other than Wade Simmons, Steve Vanderhoek, and Georgia Astel.


So today, we’re going to gain a look into the perspective behind the lens. What is it like to watch someone who is obviously nervous, hit a sketchy feature with mind-boggling consequences, from behind a camera. You can find Geoff @livingston.geoff on Instagram, and check out his new business, Capable Concepts, which we chat about during the show at capableconcepts.ca




Listen here or by searching for ‘Grit with Wisdom’ on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Youtube. You can find more episodes over on our Podcast page.


Happy trails - Jake Johnstone

 


EPISODE TRANSCRIPT: Jake Johnstone: [00:00:00] Welcome to Grit With Wisdom. This is the podcast that delves deep into the inner psyche of mountain bikers from all aspects of our sport in order to discover the tools and the tactics that can help us have more fun out on the trails more often. Our aim here is to help you understand what it takes to push our own personal boundaries in the sport we love from a mental and emotional perspective.

Today on the show we have Geoff Livingston. Geoff is one of the few North Vancouver locals born and bred. He is a mountain biker photographer. Dad and a cancer survivor. Having been through some incredibly tough life experiences, Geoff is able to shed a really interesting perspective on what it means to be a mountain biker and what is important in life [00:01:00] as a whole.

In his professional life, Jeff is an entrepreneur at heart and is in the process of redesigning his professional career to align more closely with his passions of mountain biking and community. He was recently involved in film in the race space pick apart series with none other than Wade Simmons and.

Steve Vanderhoek. so today we're gonna gain a really interesting look into the perspective of what it's like to be the guy or the girl behind the camera filming some of this stuff. Watching people through a lens potentially risk their life on some really, really cool, really gnarly features. So super stoked to have you here, man.

Thanks. Happy to be here. Thank you so much for joining me. Thank you. Awesome. So we just had a, a really fun ride there out on your local trails here in Mount Seymour. Yeah. Rode down seven D Yep. Um, and some empress bypass there. Fantastic. Um, so why don't we start off here just by going deep right from the start.

Um, I'd love to ask you what is your why when it comes [00:02:00] to mountain biking?

Geoff Livingston: Um, my wife for mountain biking is, it's, it's my release and my escape in a way. Um, My mind gets busy. My mind, yeah. As everyone I'm sure has a lot of things that they're always thinking about, but it's, it's always my, my outlet to go push myself, get some exercise, get some mental clarity, um, challenge myself, scare myself.

But, uh, often, like some, some of my favorite rides are just like getting out in the rain and being there. By myself and just like stopping and listening to the forest and it's where I can like finally just kind of like settle things down and, and appreciate the forest, my life, kind of everything. It's, it's, uh, yeah, it's.

It's, it's everything for me. Riding..

Jake Johnstone: Fantastic. Mad. Yeah. I can totally relate on so many levels there. It's such a good way to balance out maybe some of the stuff you're doing in your professional life. Just go out, let go of all of that. Have some fun. [00:03:00] Absolutely. Fantastic. So I'd love to start off here maybe with a bit more of like your background in the industry.

I gave you a really brief intro there. Um, but I'd love if you can tell the listeners a little bit more about what you're doing with the photography side of things and mountain biking. Yeah.

Geoff Livingston: Um, my. The kinda history in the industry. It goes, goes back quite a ways. I grew up filming friends like skiing, mountain biking on gross, Andro and Seymour and I had a, a clothing company and video production company in high school called Battlecat and made t-shirts.

I think one person bought one gave him away to a bunch of people, and uh, yeah, it got connected into the industry through that way. Filming with like Cam McCray and the Air apprentice for nsmb.com. Um, went and filmed Crank Works, kind of got introduced to a few other like filmmakers, uh, Ambrose and Cory Le Claire doing back in the saddle that series.

And yeah, just filmed and was [00:04:00] creating and, and was loving it. And, um, it was, industry was still very small back then, so it was difficult to, to find money or, or resources to create it in that sort of capacity or that sort of way. Totally. So I, uh, Ended up, I, I was going, going to school, like at that time I went to Cap College at the time for a couple years to an interactive design.

Um, that was web branding, all that. I was told that I had the worst business card that my teacher had ever seen. I had decided I was out of that. Okay. I was often, um, yeah, I did the video projects for friends. They helped me with web stuff and I just knew that, yeah, I loved, loved creating content and. Um, after that ended up working for a company called RIP tv.

I'm not sure if any of you guys remember it, but, uh, it was kind of when YouTube was coming out. At the time, we were developing our own flash player and video player to host our own content, and we had a TV show and brought in [00:05:00] athletes to kind of have like a late night talk show type thing. And it was, it was really, really fun.

It was just a little bit, I think, ahead of its time and looking back now, it's like you can't. Compete with YouTube and it's like, it's, uh, it's everything for, for content these days, along with other social platforms that didn't even exist when we were, when we were creating RIP tv. But, uh, it ended up running outta funds.

I got interested in business in that way and, uh, went to B C A T, did my business degree there and right after that or through that time, film weddings and just made some money and decided didn't wanna do weddings anymore and started my own company working. More in the corporate production, commercial space, um, for the last 10 years.

Jake Johnstone: Fantastic man. Such an interesting ride there. Yeah. Um, in getting into the entrepreneurial space and it's so cool to hear the story there with coming up with like video players and potentially like competing with YouTube now it's almost come full circle. You're making content that is ending up on YouTube.

Yeah, for sure. Um, so really cool to [00:06:00] hear you're still involved in that space. Um, We'll kind of dive, you know, back and forth during this conversation. but it really leads me into a topic I wanted to touch on in this podcast. Um, we chatted a lot in a couple of rides we've had about you taking on some new work with race space, with riders like Wade.

Yeah. and kind of like the, the personal journey behind that. I'd love to dive in if you can speak a little bit on Sure. You know, taking on that first project. Yeah. It's,

Geoff Livingston: uh, it is a scary but exciting kind of project at that time. Um, I was, yeah, going through tough couple years, um, last couple of years, um, just running my own agency, working more in the corporate space, just really doing that for 10 years.

Needed to, felt I needed to make a change. Didn't quite know how to do that, but, um, yeah, that finally all came to. I came to fruition or whatever last, last fall and within a month of, of of finally selling, selling my company, I ended up doing a [00:07:00] project with Seed Cycles and through that got introduced to Matt Holin at at Race Face.

And he talked about wanting to do this project with, uh, do the pick apart series with Wade. And it's like grew up watching Wade. He was in idol of mine. He is big reason why I do what I do and totally. Um, yeah, I was. Really hesitant and not feeling capable to, to kinda take that on. And it really, really scared me to, to do it.

But I told him that I, I'd think about it and spent about a day and slept on it. And I was just like, I have to do this, this, yeah. Why would I say no to this right now? And, um, and I'm saying yes. And then we, we filmed, filmed the first one with, with Wade and, and Steve for, for the e-bikes. And yeah, just really it all came together and it was.

Really allowed me to find my passion and my stoke for creating content again, and just learning and like developing new skills or relearning the skills that I hadn't been able to work on for the [00:08:00] last six, seven years when more just running an agency versus actually creating. So it was, uh, it was neat,

Jake Johnstone: dude.

It's, it's so cool to talk to you now and just see the passion in your face and see the stoke now that you're on the other side of that challenge and you're like, I'm so glad I said yes. Absolutely. It's, uh, fantastic vibe. Do you draw any parallels, uh, to that experience? To like mountain biking, like trying something new on a mountain bike?

Geoff Livingston: Absolutely. It's like, that's the thing I love about riding is it, it's the interesting thing about riding that it is a dangerous sport and like there are very high consequences if things go wrong.

Mm. Um, so I'm always like cautious to take things. On that I know that I can do, but also you want that element and aspect of things to put yourself and often going riding with better riders than you or riders that are more confident in other skill areas than you to watch them do something or ask some questions or do things.

In that way, it's, [00:09:00] it's the best feeling in the world. It's, it's doing something that you're unsure of totally. You think you can do it. You aren't sure. You accomplish it and it's like, yeah. It makes you feel, I don't wanna say invincible in a way, cuz we are, that's the wrong word to use with mountain biking.

Gives you lots

Jake Johnstone: of confidence, right? Gives lots of confidence taking a step into the unknown and being like, wow, that went really well. Absolutely.

Geoff Livingston: Yeah. And it's, you're always, it, it gives you that, like, that high and that excitement and that adrenaline rush that I think we all kind of live for and totally, I think is a real important aspect that we need in our lives to.

To scare ourselves a little bit and remind us that it's like, yeah, life. Life can be scary, life can be exciting, and it, it's what it's all about. You don't coasting is, yeah, it, it gets boring

Jake Johnstone: pretty quick. Totally. Yeah. Just doing the same thing over and over again. Yeah. Definitely gets old. So I'm curious, do you have any advice for someone maybe feeling like they're lacking that that little bit of self-belief they need to, to take a step, whether it be in business, in [00:10:00] life, or out there on the bike?

Cool hunter. That's a big part for sure. Yeah, that's a deep one. Um, that's what I see at the core of, you know, a lot of your, your challenges that you've faced in the last couple of years. You're like, Hey, like I got asked to do this awesome thing. Like, I really wanna do it, but I'm just not sure. Yeah. It's not necessarily a, a culmin thing, but it's like a self-belief thing to, to take that step into the ring and do it, and then afterwards that burst of confidence comes and you're like, Hey, freaking stoked I did

Geoff Livingston: it.

It's, it is a. It's a thing that I'm still constantly dealing with and I think most people are dealing with on a regular basis, but I definitely struggle in having that self-confidence to do things. Um, and it's, I don't like, there's, there's a saying of like, you fake it till you make it, and I, there's some belief or like some truth in that.

Mm. But it's also my take on that saying is that you actually do have the ability or confidence to do things if someone's asking you to, or if someone says that you can like, They see you from a different [00:11:00] light and have the belief that you can take that on, and it's just deep down believing in yourself that you can do it and or, or figuring it out as you go.

Totally. Um, you like putting together the pick apart or doing some, like riding it? It's, I have all these skills and different areas and I have things in the past that I just need to bring together for that like finite moment in time to. Put all the pieces together to have the outcome that I'm after or points after,

Jake Johnstone: or Totally.

Yeah. It's almost like using skills or experience that you already have just in a slightly different way. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Relating that to biking, like often I think too, like when I try something new, like I might, I feel like I know like 98% or like 98%. Got it. And there's that 2% that's always gonna be unknown, cuz every feature's gonna be slightly different.

We're not exactly sure how it's gonna feel on the bike. Yeah. But if you can get to like that 98% sure. It's like, it's probably gonna work. I probably have the skills required to put this together and for sure, you know, try [00:12:00] out fake it till you make it just the other 2%. Yeah. Whereas if I'm faking, you know, 50%, chances are it's gonna go bad, whether that be in business or life.

And

Geoff Livingston: that's the important thing with writing is that if it, if it's really not feeling right, it's like, Walk it or like come back another day or just don't take it on. It's, it's, yeah, there's no point in pushing it too hard and hurt yourself. Cause then you're set back exactly six, six weeks, two months, and then you have the recovery time to, to get back to where you were.

And it's sure, mentally a very, very difficult thing to do. So it's, I'm always, especially with two little girls now, it's like, I wanna be very confident in the things that I'm doing and I'm very confident in myself to just say, Hey, this isn't for me today. Yeah,

Jake Johnstone: that's good Risk management. Yeah. So you're thinking about being able to ride another day and another day.

Yeah. Absolutely. And I, I wanted to ask like, what was it like for you, or what is it like being the photographer behind the lens and watching these super high level riders, these people we grew up riding, people we look up to out there riding in terrain that we can only ever dream of. What is it like for you?

It

Geoff Livingston: is a weird feeling cuz it's [00:13:00] like, It scares me thinking about riding those things and then they just do it. It's like so easy and it's like, Hey, maybe I can do that. And then you get back there with your bike and you're just like, no, maybe I can't, maybe. Um, but it's, it's an interesting thing being behind the lens filming these riders.

It's. Super neat experience for me to be creating content for people to watch and learn and develop these skills where I'm, I get to learn and develop these skills firsthand. I'm just behind the camera, but I actually get to interact with, with Wade and these other riders and see the progression firsthand.

Yeah. Um, so that's a really, I feel very privileged to be able to, to be a part of that. Um, But it, it definitely puts the pressure on to, to capture it properly the first time. Mm. If they are doing something that is like outta their comfort zone or is a sketchy kind of feature or, or stunt that they're doing, you don't want to be the one [00:14:00] that's like, Hey, can you do that again and mess that up?

It's like totally. The, the stuff that we're filming is not crazy extreme. It's like compared to other things that they've done. Totally. So I don't feel that. They have the pressure on them to do something that they're not comfortable with where it is. If I go out filming or taking photos with a little bit more of an amateur rider, there is more of that like dance and balance of like, Hey, Let's not push this too much.

Totally. Some,

Jake Johnstone: because I'm here with the camera. Yeah. You might be back on like a, just a regular black trail, but then all of a sudden, if that's at the peak of their comfort zone or just above it Yeah. They're actually taking on more risk than say, weight when he is riding down a, a double black trailer.

Sure. Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. It's a crazy dynamic and yeah, it's such an interesting like pair of shoes or, or lens to find yourself wearing. Yeah. To be like, you know, you almost have more pressure, I think, on yourself to get your job 100% than they do as a rider. Yeah. And is it cool for you kind of seeing them go through that process and maybe [00:15:00] realizing that, hey, like Wade and Steve are out here and they're facing some of the same challenges that we face in our own riding

Geoff Livingston: yeah, it's, um, talking with, with them like off, kind of off camera, behind the scenes, it's like, not necessarily stuff that we're filming, but other aspects or elements of writing too. They're, they're definitely. Are dealing with stuff and like know that it's like, yeah, not for today. Or we all have different like things going on in our lives that it's like puts our heads in a different space to go at something that we know we can do on a different day.

But it's, yeah. Yeah.

Jake Johnstone: It must be today's not the day. Yeah. Really cool for you saying like, Not only how the professionals ride, but also how they operate and how they make decisions mentally as well. For sure. so I'm curious, like you mentioned there, sometimes, you know, you're taking a shot, you've gotta get it right the first time, especially if they're riding in something that's on the edge of their comfort zone or you can see that they're nervous about that feature.

Yeah. How does that make you feel when you are down the bottom and you're like, Hey, I can see this guy, or this girl's like, They're on [00:16:00] the edge here. They're not quite sure about this, but they're about to do it. Yeah. How do you feel like I'd be struggling not to be shaky with the camera freaking out myself.

Geoff Livingston: Luckily, my camera lens both has builtin image stabilization. It's a professor right now, but, um, no, it's, it's definitely, yeah, it's an, it's an in video is tricky compared to photos. I love doing both, like photography. It's about capturing that like split second of magic to, to have that moment last forever.

Yep. But with video, it's like you're filming the entire thing and if there's a bump or something in the middle of the take, then it's a useless take. Yeah. So it's, you have to really be on it the entire time when, when filming to, yeah. Have that smooth. Smooth shot or that plan of, okay, they're coming down this way.

What am I doing with the camera? Am am I gonna just let them come in a frame, come in and ride out a frame? Am I gonna follow them? And then if, if I'm gonna follow them, what does that next shot link [00:17:00] into to get them coming into frame again? Mm-hmm. So it all feels like a natural flow of trail and filming pickup parts versus a like rider like, Hype segment or whatever you, you may want to call it, it's like, it's much more story based of like, you're just filming, you're, you're trying to capture as much as possible within a day or two to put these 15, 20, 25 minute pieces together versus, okay, we're gonna shoot this section of trail four times because I want a wide, a tight, a slow motion.

And that way, and just knowing that like, Okay. You hike up, we'll do it again. Versus the pickup parts are more, I need to capture it in not, not necessarily the most like exciting angle, I guess. Yeah. Because it's like you don't have the time to be able to do it, just like the tire hitting the berm as, as much as you would get in these other, these other edits.

Yep. So it's an interesting, um, [00:18:00] Yeah, just it's, it's interesting how you have to think different ways about what is the outcome of this project and how am I gonna go about capturing that? Totally.

Jake Johnstone: And for those listening that haven't seen the Race Face Pick Apart series, I definitely recommend to go in and watching.

I'll put some links down in the show notes. But like, what is the concept of a pick apart for those that haven't seen one

Geoff Livingston: before? Uh, the pick apart series is Wade Simmons essentially picking apart different skill sets or different trails or different aspects of riding. And a how to go about doing them in a safe and confident way.

Yep. And it's, uh, It, it was taken on, it started a couple years back, um, started Wade self filming himself with GoPros, and it's kind of evolved from there. I'm now working on a second one, which will likely be out by the, by the time this you guys see this. Fantastic. Um, and, and the e-bike one and it's just Yeah.

About how to, how to ride your bike, how to enjoy it more, and how to. Again, push and challenge yourself with different [00:19:00] skills. How to, how to pick, pick it apart.

Jake Johnstone: Yeah. It's a cool idea. And I think it like has that, that perfect balance of like entertainment, but also like informative as well. Yeah. Like I'll learn something out of it, but it's not just like a dry how-to video.

Yeah. That's the goal. Fantastic, man. I love it. Um, I wanted to ask one more question, uh, about kind of your time behind the camera. Have you heard of the term camera Courage? I have, you have, what's your perspective of the, you know, on that idea of camera courage? Do you think it's a real thing? Do you experience it?

Absolutely. The writers you work with, experience it.

Geoff Livingston: Um, I, I think everyone does. It's like, even like us riding today, it's like, Knowing, I, I always try to just like, add some flare, have some fun, see what I can do with my bike. But knowing that you're riding behind me with, with the GoPro camera, I want to try and style it out a little bit more.

I got a little fancy. You did a good job. Thanks. It's like, why not? And um, I think with like most riders, if you're in front of the camera, you want to, [00:20:00] you wanna look at your best. So you have this captured or like, You see all these like photos and videos of other riders and athletes. Yeah. And you don't get that ability to be in front of the camera all that much, especially working with a professional, um, photographer or cinematographer.

I almost said videographer, but I don't like that term very much. Okay. Um, I don't know if I could classify myself as a cinematographer, but we'll do with it. Own it. Um, yeah. You don't, you don't get that ability or like that opportunity all that often. Yeah. So, I think people want to be that like image that they see in a magazine or online or whatever that is.

So they push it a little bit more than they may sometimes. Totally. Yeah. Which can result in, in some crashes or, or injuries. But it's uh, yeah, we always wanna be that person that we. Want to believe that we can and totally, I think the camera [00:21:00] helps, helps push us to, to do that.

Jake Johnstone: So how do you navigate focusing on the writing the task at hand when you know that there's a GoPro right behind you and you do wanna add a little bit of flare and make sure we get a cool video out of this?

How do you make sure you stay focused on the right and not on the outcome of looking cool on Instagram in four weeks time? Yeah.

Geoff Livingston: Um, I, I just think I know that I have enough like experience on the bike to be able to manage both. Like, and I try, I know like as you mentioned, like I would slow down a little bit or try to time it so we can capture the right things.

But as soon as I feel that you're on the right way, it's like, okay, mentally, like back into riding, writing time. And it's just about thinking what am I doing with my body and how am I maneuvering things? So it is just, Focusing on the ride. And um, it's so important with riding to be mentally there the, the entire time.

Cause totally, as soon as you have that like fraction of a second mind thinking about something else, that's when all of a sudden you're on the ground and. [00:22:00]

Jake Johnstone: It hurts for sure man. Yeah. Really, really wise, grounded approach there. I love it. And I could see it in your writing today. It's like we're on a flat, easy bit of trail.

You're popping around all over the place, doing, doing manuals, whatever. And then as soon as we got into the steep, it was like, right, let's just ride. So that's fun. Fantastic to see that. So kind of getting into the, uh, some of your mental tools for mountain biking, and you've been riding for a long time.

You grew up here. Um, I'm curious, have you got anything that you are like consciously doing when you're going out there for a ride? You're maybe riding some challenging stuff, any tools that you can share with us today?

Geoff Livingston: I don't know about specific tools that I have. Um, it's more just really being aware of where I'm at mentally on that day.

Mm. And having the like 100% confidence that I can do something when I roll into it and trying to stay as focused as I possibly can on the trail in front of me versus thinking. And spacing out on something else. And if I notice that I am tired or I am starting to [00:23:00] think of other things, it's just like, okay, I'm, I've done that jump 50 times, but I'm not gonna do it today.

Right. Cause it's just like, what's the point? Being

really

Jake Johnstone: aware of your mental state that day. Yeah. Yeah. That's fantastic. And when you are like, trying to stay focused and you're like, right, I need to focus on the task at hand, what does your self-talk look like there?

Geoff Livingston: Um, I think I used to get really frustrated with myself.

It's like, oh, come on, you gotta push it harder. You gotta like stay thinking on it and this. But now I've just learned to be a bit like more accepting or just like easy on myself and just say, okay, well like let's just dial it back, slow it down, and just like enjoy the ride versus de to push it. It's like fantastic.

Yeah, we're not like whenever you're riding with other people, you're never trying to like, You're never thinking, oh, come on, hurry up, like let's go faster. It's always just like, Hey, good job. Like, let's totally, it's, it's just fun, right? And you're, you don't want to, you're not putting that pressure on other people, so why put it on

Jake Johnstone: yourself?

Yeah. That's a really good way of putting that. And it's funny, it's something I talk about with a lot of [00:24:00] riders. It's like when you are the one that's the fast one in the group and you get to stop and have a break, usually you're stoked or you just get to have a chat, you know, have a drink, whatever. But whenever you're the slow one, you're like, crap, I've gotta hurry up.

My buddies are waiting. I've gotta hurry up. It's like, so Canadian gets stopped. Yeah, it's

Geoff Livingston: just the, I always had that like, skiing with like fast buddies or like climbing, like my, my fitness is not there compared to. A lot of other, my buddies that I ride with and they've pedaled out, but they've had a break.

And I get there're like, all right, let's go. And just like, come on. So I always, I'm, I try to be, I've been there, so I try to be as aware as possible to give, give my buddies a break if, if they need it as well. Exactly. Yeah. I've, I've got a good, good group of riders that were all like in the very similar capabilities Yeah.

Of riding. So it,

Jake Johnstone: it's fun. Fantastic, man. I love it. And I wanted to get back there. You're talking about like, if you're having a, a bit of an off day, you're, you know, not focused on the ride, you'll dial it down a little bit, you'll release some [00:25:00] pressure. Do you find that taking the pressure off yourself actually helps you get back to a focus state and then maybe later on in the ride you're, you're feeling a little bit more on?

Yeah,

Geoff Livingston: it, it definitely does that. It's um, some days it does, some days it doesn't. Some days it's just like, I'm just not feeling it. So let's just. Yeah, let's go. Luckily that doesn't happen like too often, which is great. But yeah, it's just like dialing it back and then Yeah, not, I find that that often slows the mind down enough to get back into that like almost meditative state in a way.

Totally. It's just like acceptance of, of your thoughts and that you're not there at that, that state to be able to push it. But then it's just like, That acceptance of that Yeah, you're right. Might almost trigger that. And then you're just like, all right, let's, let's go again.

Jake Johnstone: Calms everything down. Yeah.

Yeah. Whenever we put pressure on ourself to like be in a certain state or write a certain way, it's like it's a gap between where we are and where we want to bely and it's like anxiety goes up and it's almost like we go backwards. Yeah. [00:26:00] Yeah. It's a really, really solid approach there.

I wanted to talk a little bit here. You mentioned at the start of this conversation that, uh, you know, the last few years you've had some, you know, really tough challenges in life. You've been through a hell of a lot. Um, you're a cancer survivor, which is. Just amazing, man. I can't imagine what it's been like to go through what you've been through and then to be on the other side of that now.

Yeah. Um, but I'd love if you're comfortable to, to talk a little bit about that and maybe how that's, how that's shaped your mindset now towards writing and just your outlook on life in general. Yeah, I,

Geoff Livingston: yeah, the cancer thing scary. That is for sure. It's, um, it kind of, I got very lucky with how, how I found it and.

I ended up, I was, did a ride, the great divide from BA to Mexico in 2018

Jake Johnstone: and a gigantic ride for anyone who's not aware. I put a link to the, the rider, uh, in the show notes as well.

Geoff Livingston: Um, yeah, it was 4,350 kilometers and we did it [00:27:00] and had a goal of doing it in 30 days. Ended up doing it in 38 days. Wow.

Started in all the forest fires. I developed a bad cough. We had a sharp shooting pain in my lower left side, uh, at the finish. Ended up booking an ultrasound when I got back home just to see if I had a hernia or what was kind of going on. Mm. When we stopped riding, the coughing stopped. The pain stopped.

Likely had a spazzed AB or something like that. Um, I wasn't. I was like, oh, maybe I don't need to get an ultrasound. I'm doing better now. My wife's just like, just go. You have it booked. And they did a scan and complete fluke other side of my body, found a tumor in my kidney, which I had for probably four and a half years.

And it was told I had kidney cancer. And um, yeah, your mind definitely goes to some really dark places and I just, Accomplished the biggest thing I've ever done in my life and had never felt more capable in my life. And, um, everything was awesome. And then all of a sudden it's just like full pause on everything and it's just [00:28:00] like, work doesn't matter.

Like nothing really matters. It's just like, let's just figure this out. Um, and it's the biggest, I think, takeaway from that was just trying not to get stressed or have anxiety over things of the unknown of what's going on, but. More, just take it day by day, step by step and find out information, and then set an action plan.

And then once you've done, all you can do is just like, just try to enjoy as much as possible and then get more information and then set up an action plan. And I was insanely lucky with, um, I'm getting referred to a doctor at, uh, at V G H through my mom walking dogs with a friend, and she is head of nephrology in bc and it's just, it's, I feel, yeah, very fortunate to Wow.

That's a lot of life. It is like who you know and Yeah. And it's

Jake Johnstone: amazing how these connections come about. Like

Geoff Livingston: so I was supposed to get my whole kidney [00:29:00] taken out in Royal Columbian and I was able to go to VGH and get half my kidney taken out. Okay. So now if anything happens with my other kidney, then I'm still okay to go.

I don't need to live on dialysis or anything like that. And my blood work shows that I'm still like fully good to go. There hasn't been any change in anything. And tomorrow, actually, I go for my five year scan to. See if I'm still good, and if I am, then I have the same likeliness of getting cancer as anyone else, so it'll be fantastic, especially cancer free, potentially.

Such an

Jake Johnstone: incredible journey and like in the span of a lifetime, incredibly like short amount of time to go from like your highest high, like finishing the great divide, the biggest bike ride you've ever done to like maybe your lower slope, having cancer then to be back here on the other side of it now.

Absolutely. Riding bikes fit healthy. You just rode every day in May. Yep. So congrats on that. Thank you. That's fantastic. And now it's the 2nd of June and you still haven't had a day off.

Geoff Livingston: Okay. I like bikes, so it's uh, it's a fun challenge every year and. Yeah, it was definitely [00:30:00] a challenging couple years.

It feels so surreal that it all happened in the span of like a few months. So it just like almost is like, feels like such a blip and I feel so fortunate that I didn't need chemo, radiation or anything that all lot and so many have to deal with. Um, yeah, I feel very grateful. Yeah,

Jake Johnstone: man, it's just, yeah. An insane journey.

I struggled to like, comprehend it and know what to say, but Right. I, yeah. So happy for you that you're, you're here. Um, and how has that changed your perspective? Like both like life in general and then in like in your bike riding and maybe some of the risks you're

Geoff Livingston: taking on out there? Yeah, it's, um, it definitely made me feel much less in invincible.

Mm-hmm. Um, and made me appreciate. Life more, uh, I think, and just made me want to pursue things that I'm truly passionate about. And, um, yeah, it [00:31:00] took, it, it took some time to kind of really, I think, process that and understand that and have getting outta that situation. And then my wife and I been trying to have a.

A, a child for three and a half years and we were really struggling with that. And then after all that happened, it just ended up, we were about to start in vitro and two weeks before we started, it just happened naturally and kinda led into that. And then Global Pandemic happened and Life Co completely changed for the entire planet.

Yeah. And it's, um, yeah, just, it was such a shift in terms of just like coasting and the trajectory that, that I had going and there was so much change and I just, I think I had, I think I struggled with the pandemic more than I thought I was doing at, at the time. I, I loved so many elements of it and we had a new daughter to hang out with.

I gotta work from home the entire time, so I gotta see her grow. And it was like such a [00:32:00] incredible, amazing time. But I did, I think, lose that connection with people, which I loved and I thrived on totally. Um, when, when running my agency. And I think it just, through all of that, I, I kind of lost my drive and passion for what we had been working on, or at least the role that I had built myself into with the work that I was doing.

It was more just like sitting down at emails and trying to do business development and at the computer all day, every day. And me having adhd, I struggle with that and I just was not happy. Mm-hmm. And I needed to, I knew I needed to make a change.

Jake Johnstone: Fantastic man.

Geoff Livingston: so yeah, getting outta that, I just, I, I knew that I wanted to make some change and as you mentioned, like shifting up my career and just getting it back into mountain biking in the industry and using the skills that I'd now developed doing other things to be able to bring it all together, to use my abilities on my light to get me places with my camera to.

[00:33:00] Then capturing, create and tell stories and create projects that hopefully inspire people to, to do better and learn and, and just enjoy and give them something to, to smile about if, if they watch it. So it's, um, yeah, totally feeling like I'm in a, in a pretty good spot. All of

Jake Johnstone: these pretty good spot. Yeah.

Like crazy events over the last two or three years have certainly, brought you to a really cool place, a really exciting place. So super stoked for you, to be here now. and I wanted to talk a little bit here throughout our ride, you were talking about this idea of like, you know, being capable and the fact that like, we're all capable, but sometimes like we need to, to have that belief in ourself to, to bring some of those concepts to fruition.

Whether it be like trusting ourselves to, to ride that thing we know we can ride, we've been thinking about for a while, or whether it be, you know, outside of that in life and using bikes as a tool. To learn about ourselves or self exploration. Can you

Geoff Livingston: talk on that? Yeah. Um, yeah, when, when my friend Cam and I finished the divide, my [00:34:00] wife, she flew down for the last five days of it and she asked like, how does it feel?

How do you feel to be done? And Cam said, capable. And I was just like, wow, that is like exactly. The way to, to describe this feeling and sensation of doing something that is way bigger and way beyond the expectations of what I ever thought I'd be capable of doing. Mm. Um, and I just, after going through the cancer and having the setback and just needing surgery and not being able to do anything for like 3, 4, 5 months, it was just like really started to, I put on weight again and it is just really like, felt like a setback and I wanted to be able to.

To get back to feeling as capable as I can as a human. And I know for me that riding my bike and pushing myself, challenging myself, like with fitness, with riding technical features, scaring myself on the bike, that's where I feel more capable then real. Any, any other aspect and element I have, [00:35:00] feel like I have the most control when I'm on my bike than anywhere else sometimes.

And it's. Been such a powerful, strong tool for me to give me confidence on the bike, doing what I love, to be a confident, capable dad person, human, whatever that may be off the bike. And, um, I really just wanna explore that more and use my abilities. On the bike to help take people out and maybe teach and coach them how to improve their skills and give them the confidence, again, on the trails or off the at home or do that through, through film and story as well.

So that's totally the things that I'm

Jake Johnstone: exploring in the, in the year head. I love, I love all of that, and I think it's kind of a, a natural, uh, next step for you after having all of these. You know, incredible. Yeah. Incredibly tough experiences is then to like, share all these great learnings with others and, and help others flourish and grow.

So I appreciate that. I love it, man. That's fantastic. And [00:36:00] talking about challenging yourself on the bike, I'm curious like what's one of the biggest challenges been for you over the years on the

Geoff Livingston: bike? Um, biggest challenge for me on the bike is probably keeping my fitness up. Okay. Um, I've always struggled with.

With my weight and just food choices and um, all those aspects of things. So it just, it, I struggle to maintain the fitness level throughout the year to be able to push and climb and then not being at my peak and my prime of where I know that I have been, it muddles the mind a bit to when I'm riding down as well, to be like, oh, I don't know if I should do that because of, I'm heavier than, than I wanna be.

And I don't feel as strong as I. I feel like I should be. Um, so that's definitely the physical aspect of things has been the most challenging element of, of my riding and doing every day in May. It's kind of, I've done it three years in a row now. It's kind of like a reset for me [00:37:00] every year almost. Um, I have some, some fun plans and ideas for next year that, uh, I think will force me to ride all winter to be physically fit, cuz I really wanna push it, push it for next year.

Yeah. Um, Yeah. But um, yeah, just, just maintaining that fitness level to have the confidence in my abilities and my strength and my mindset to be able to ride at the level that I want to be riding whenever I have my bike. Yeah,

that's

Jake Johnstone: a really common one. You know, I face myself and a lot of my clients face is like, I want to be here like I used to be here.

But right now, whether it be a physical setback or a physical fitness, isn't there mentality isn't there? They're not there. Yeah. But they want to be, and it could be really frustrating. Like how do you navigate that mentally?

Geoff Livingston: Um, again, I think it's just being kind to yourself and thinking through what have you done over the last few months that is making you feel this way, and what can I do in my life, like both on and off the bike to get to that [00:38:00] point.

I'm not gonna be there tomorrow, but let's set a goal for two or three months from now of like, okay, if this, if I feel this shitty, I don't. I dunno if you can swear on this podcast, but fair, fair enough. It's mountain by this podcast and I feel this shitty right now, like on my bike and I want to be here.

How important is that to me to work around other aspects in life? Mm-hmm. Or removing things or. Not drinking or not going out on weekends or whatever like that may be to put the right pieces in place to be able to get back to that state in as short a period as time. Because for me, I know that when I am riding my best on my bike, that's when I'm the happiest person, both on the trail and at home.

Jake Johnstone: Fantastic answer, man. I love it. Like that whole idea of, okay, like this is an outcome I want to get to. Like, well, how important to me is it, is it worth making other changes? Making other sacrifices in my life to actually get there? Yeah. And if so, what are the [00:39:00] steps so that I can focus on those rather than this outcome that's way out in the future.

Yeah. Fantastic, man. I love it. And I wanted to ask, have you ever had any advice from a mentor or just even any like high level writers you've rode with that's really stuck with you?

Geoff Livingston: Um, I can't think of any like top of mind, but just, yeah, just like riding and enjoying and having this, like just getting out with a bunch of people.

Yeah. And having conversations and yeah. There's Riding with Steve, he's always like super helpful with like talking through little tips and tricks and yeah, just different things, I did riding with, with Endless to do my instructor instructor course I from Darren.

I definitely learned a lot in that program. Totally. Um, so there's, there's elements like that. But I think like the biggest thing that helped me push and my progressing, my riding is just riding with people that are better than I am and just watching and observing and again, seeing that it's possible to do something.

And then just [00:40:00] like trying to believe in yourself as you go to, to push it and. Sure, sure.

Jake Johnstone: I love that. Been okay so far. Yeah. And sometimes it's not always like spoken language advice. Sometimes it's like watching someone and seeing how they do it or when someone's like, Hey, watch this. Yeah. Oh, that's how it works.

I can unlock something for you. Yeah.

So I wanted to shift gears a little bit here and talk about racing. You've recently done your, your first five race here on the shore. How was that experience for you?

Geoff Livingston: It, it was really fun. It's, uh, I've only, I've done one race before in high school, uh, and then this was my like first five race and first like kind of real mountain bike race and it, it was a real interesting. Like element or like real as interesting aspect of riding to be hitting corners and then pedaling and be like pedaling in the air and just like trying to go fast versus just trying to like kind of flow and just like cruise down the trails as, as you do more when you're free riding.

And I, I actually really enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to, to doing some more racing and, [00:41:00] and riding. And it's, I thought it was going super fast. Apparently it wasn't based on the results. So it's, uh, It, it's gotten me interested in, in working with a friend, my friend Jared Connolly, who's on the podcast to get out and learn how to be faster and just figure out bike position.

Is it confidence in the corners or what other other elements and aspects can I add to improve my speed, but also to skill on the bike? And it's, uh, yeah, it was much more fun than I expected and I recommend it to anyone that wants to just get out for a fun night to. You do a

Jake Johnstone: fiber Totally. That, yeah. It's, it's so cool.

Um, really cool experience there. And I think racing is such a good way of, you know, learning stuff about ourself, but also fueling the fire and making us wanna go and get coaching and, and get better and have more fun. So. Totally. That's fantastic. And did you experience race nerves at all?

Geoff Livingston: I didn't, I, I didn't go into it expecting much out of it.

Um, I just [00:42:00] wanted to, yeah, try and be as fast as I can push with what. How comfortable I was and just have some fun. So I didn't, didn't take it too seriously. And yeah, it, it wasn't, uh, it wasn't too bad. I definitely had a few like, okay, here we go, kind of thing. But it never got to the point of like stressing myself felt to.

Yeah, put myself at risk. That's

Jake Johnstone: fantastic, man. Really good mindset going into it. And you mentioned like not being very fast there. I think it's incredibly harsh. Like we've got like this, you were talking about it on the way up on our climb, like we're swimming in a pool of lots of really big fish here.

Lots of really fast guys and girls out there ripping. So when we compare our times, like especially during your first race to them it's never gonna look that pretty, but like were you fast compared to yourself? Like did you compare travel times at all?

Geoff Livingston: Um, I did, I, I think I did pretty good. I had some, some fast times and I, I definitely feel like I've gotten faster over, especially this last month and, and this last year, um, just with, after taking the instructor [00:43:00] course with Endless, um, just working on cornering and different body positions, I, I definitely feel like I'm improving, which is, which is great.

Um, but yeah, you're right. It's like some of these riders are just like, I don't know how, I can be two minutes faster on these trails. It's just absolutely

Jake Johnstone: insane. Yeah. Where the whole rut is five minutes or something like that. It's a big percentage. Exactly. But, uh, really cool to hear you referencing the course of endless there.

I think it really is homage to the fact that even if you've been riding for your entire life, you can still benefit from going and getting a lesson and working on some foundations, like really dialing the train back, turning up the technique.

Um, so I wanted to talk here a little bit about, the times when things don't go to plan, maybe when we have a bit of a crash, bit of a setback, maybe an injury. I'm curious, like, do you have any tips, uh, for the people listening, any ways that you'll kind of minimize like mental blocks around specific features if you've had a crash on them?

Geoff Livingston: Um, I I don't get a [00:44:00] ton of mental blocks when I'm riding. I think, again, as I mentioned, it's like I'm not feeling it today, so I'm not gonna go for it. I don't have that push and that confidence or like the need to like really go for it. But when I do have a crash, I think something that I do is really just like sit in that and think on it after the fact that it's happened.

Mm-hmm. Um, Oh. Often when I'm like going to sleep that night, I'll just like really try to like almost meditate on it or think through, okay, what exactly happened as best to my ability. Like to really think through like, how was my body feeling? What happened? Is it like, did my wheel slip out? Like was I mentally thinking of something else?

And that caused something to then just like fully accept what happened and why I went down. To be able to get past it and get through it. Totally. So I know that it's like, okay, it was me losing concentration. So it's like [00:45:00] next time I'm out and if I'm starting to like, again, have my mind wander or feeling tired, it's like, okay, let's dial it back.

Because last time I went down or was like, did I, did my wheel slip out? Okay? Like how is my body positioned in like when things happened? Okay, can I work on getting stronger or just like. Yeah, improve my riding position or style in certain ways. Yeah. But, um, I haven't like sent something big or really like done something dangerous in quite some time, like sent a big road gap or anything like that and gone down that's like, was above and beyond my abilities.

That really scared me to then go back and, oh, I need to do that again. I haven't had that sort of, um, Mental block in a long time, but more just, yeah, analyzing and assessing and processing what happened after it happened to [00:46:00] move on and get back, uh, into writing. And if it's a broken finger or something like that, then you're five, six weeks out.

Mm-hmm. And then it's just, Getting the hamstring back again or just like improving over time.

Jake Johnstone: Right. Really trusting that process. Yeah. Yeah. And I, I think it's a good thing that you haven't had an experience like when you sent a road gap and you had a really bad mental block. Cause, so it really, really speaks to you listening to your intuition and trusting your skill set as a rider, taking appropriate challenges or appropriate risk, but maybe not step in five notches above that.

Yeah. Yeah.

Geoff Livingston: That's good. I, I wanted to push it and was riding at a pretty decent level 15, 20 years ago and then, Where came call flipped the road gap at Cranks and I was just like, okay, I'll, I'll film stuff. I'm

Jake Johnstone: good. Ok. Yeah, no, that's fantastic. And I love what you're saying there about. You'll analyze maybe what didn't go so well last time, and then you'll go back out next time.

And if you're feeling that happening again, you maybe won't dwell on that. And you're not saying like, you know, don't lean back. Don't lean back. Don't lean back. You're saying, okay. [00:47:00] Like be in a good body position. Be in a good body position or focus. Yeah. So focusing on what you need to do. Yeah. To ride the feature rather than focusing on.

Like what you don't want to happen. Yeah. you're obviously really good at listening to your intuition, your walk things No problem. Whenever you need to. Um, do you find sometimes you'll get into a state where you're like, you walk one feature and then you'll get to the next one.

Oh, just walk this one too and then before you know it, you walking everything even though you Sure. Maybe be riding

Geoff Livingston: it. Yeah, it's you, you definitely have those days where it's just like you've done the trail 15, 20, 30 times and it's just, Today It, it's just not happening. And it's, I remember we were riding up around CBC and we saw some, some girl crashed and like, was quite injured and they were, and waiting for paramedics and things.

And it just like, it just triggered me. I wasn't, my bike was feeling a little off, I was feeling a little off already. And then I was just like, that's, yep, I'm good for the day. I'm just gonna chill. I don't need to go fast. I don't need to ride any, any features or anything that I'm not. Feeling Totally [00:48:00] and just, just kept it chill.

So yeah,

Jake Johnstone: it's a good choice to be able to make and it, it certainly makes things real when you do see another rider unfortunately, you know, experience a crash or something like that. It's like a, yeah, maybe I don't feel like taking any risks today after seeing that. That's okay. Yeah.

Geoff Livingston: I, I'm riding a hundred plus days a year.

That's like, if I take it a day or two to just like not be in my element and just chill. It's like I'm, I'm good with that.

Jake Johnstone: Yeah. That's fantastic. Now we're gonna start winding things down here, but I wanted to ask that you've had the opportunity to ride with some pretty incredible writers. Um, if you had to pick one, who do you look up to in the mountain, black world?

Geoff Livingston: Um, I, I definitely think Wade is, is still up there. Yeah. Um, for him to be doing it for so long, he's 50 this year. And just still to see him send things with the accuracy that he has is just. Like Uncomprehensible. It's just totally, it's, it's incredible. So he, he's definitely up there and just his energy for, for riding and just the love of [00:49:00] bikes is just what I hope to have for next 15, 20, 30 years for sure.

It's just, he loves it. I love it. And it's just he's yeah. All around just. Just an awesome guy. Totally.

Jake Johnstone: Yeah. Yeah. I had someone say it to me, they said, well, he doesn't sell mountain bikes he sells mountain bike in. Exactly. That's the thing. Yeah. Incredible energy. Yeah. Uh, and for you these days, like what does a perfect ride look like and why?

Geoff Livingston: Um, a perfect ride for me is just being out with friends and riding things. When, when you get into that like flow state of just like flowing, doing things that. Are scaring you, challenging you, you, but you feel in control and capable the entire way. Yeah. And everyone gets down, have no crashes, laughs, high fives, smiles.

Like that's, you can't beat that totally enough. Little mix of everything. Some, some ERs and skinnies, some jumps, [00:50:00] some drops. If you can mix it all in there with. With your root choice.

Jake Johnstone: That's a true North Shore rider there now. Yeah, absolutely. Fantastic, dude. I love it. Look, we've talked about so many different things here, um, but if there's one point or one topic that you hope listeners take away with them and maybe think about on their next ride or think about why they're listening to this podcast, what would it be?

Geoff Livingston: Um, I think to just en enjoy the ride and appreciate the ability to be out there riding. Mm. And. Don't be too hard on yourself if you're not riding the way that you, you want to be riding. And if you want to improve, then set a plan, work with someone, get some coaching from, from you, um, and just work on the skills and just, just enjoy, enjoy the process.

Enjoy the journey, and en enjoy life.

Jake Johnstone: Totally man. Such wise words. Look, thank you so much. It's been an incredible conversation. I've really enjoyed it. Uh, where can people find you [00:51:00] online if they wanna follow along your adventures?

Geoff Livingston: Um,

Livingston dot Jeff, um, on Instagram and

Capable concepts.ca

Jake Johnstone: Fantastic man. Sweet. Thanks so much. Thank you.

what's up guys? Just one more thing before you hit the trails. If you enjoyed this podcast, please be sure to subscribe and don't be a stranger. I'd love to hear from you about any topics or any particular episodes that you enjoyed and even about any guests that you'd like to hear me have on the show in the future.

You can find me on Instagram at the underscore mind underscore Mountain. This podcast, mountain biking and mindset are all things that are very close to my heart, so I feel super grateful to be able to share these conversations with you. So much love to you all for taking the time to listen. I'll see you next time.


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