Words: Christian Meier
Flow is that moment when you’re present while still being disconnected. You’re more present in yourself. You can call it flow or being in the zone. I get it when I ride bikes.
Everything else is secondary in that moment. It’s just you and the pedal strokes. You ride quite hard, you get this momentum going–you’re flowing. The outside world isn’t really there anymore, and you’re very present in that moment and how awesome it feels.
Flow typically comes when you’re feeling good. It’s the feeling I had when I was a professional rider when I was on the front, and that’s what I love about these long rides I do today: long gravel events, lots of climbing, any context for getting in the flow.
Flow is something people need, but a lot of people haven’t found it yet, or don’t recognise it, or don’t even know to look for it–not just bike riders, but people in general.
Flow is something people need… but flow is different for everyone.
Flow is different for everyone. For a friend of mine, it was coding. He lived in San Francisco, did a couple of start-ups and still works in that tech world. For him, he was in that zone while coding: just clicking away, typing stuff out, and flying.
Former pro Daniele Ratto once told me the only thing he missed was the last 200 meters of a race, because that was his moment of flow. Leading out that sprint. It’s that moment when everything is focussed, you’re in complete control, nothing else is around… you’re in slow motion. Unfortunately for him he can’t really do that anymore. There’s so much involved; there’s the dynamic of having other riders around you, spectators, and the adrenaline that only comes from that specific context.
I don’t miss racing. What I loved about it–what was addictive–was being in the zone. It was the flow. That feeling is euphoric. I can still do that easily, I just go for a ride. In a race I was on my own a lot of the time, anyway.
For my wife Amber, flow is a busy day at La Fábrica. She loves it when it’s slammed, everything is going well, orders are going out, it’s flowing. And then at the end of the day she’s like, ‘that was awesome’. We all have it, we all love it, but it’s different for each person. Finding it and understanding it is something we all need to do.
Whenever I have to solve a problem, or process something, or work out a creative endeavour–any time I have to figure something out–I go riding. It’s in order to find the flow.
When we first started thinking about The Service Course, I just went on a three-day bike tour. I went from Girona into France and then into Andorra and down to Barcelona, and figured it all out, by myself. After those three days of being in the flow, I was like, ‘let’s just go for it’.