Elixir – A Film About Nick Geddes

D’Arcy McLeish | CycleCycle

In the mountain environment, we often point to athletic achievement as a form of inspiration. This athlete climbed that peak or that rider won this competition. While physical achievement can be inspiring in its own way, is it truly a measure of character? Too often in the bubble of the mountain culture, athletic achievement is celebrated over true inspiration.

Sure, it takes mad skills, discipline and balls of steel to do some of the things athletes do, but that often has little do to with the depth of someone’s character. Human existence has always been defined by suffering and life occasionally deals all of us bad cards. How we overcome adversity, be it death, illness, addiction, injury, or trauma, is a true measure of character. That’s what inspires me.

Nick Geddes has had his share of suffering. After being diagnosed with Leukemia at an age when most of us are contemplating high school crushes, the local Whistler mountain biker went through something most of us can only imagine in our worst nightmares.

Nick Geddes is a kid who many of us saw come of age in the bike park. Never having known him personally, I nonetheless would see him and his crew of local ninjas rip through the park and make us patrollers look bad on a regular basis. Being an elite athlete, as many of the local kids in Whistler are, is part and parcel with growing up there.

But how many 19-21 year olds are faced with a life threatening illness that makes them question their own existence and what’s truly important in life? I spoke with Nick earlier today and the biggest thing he said about his experience nearly costing him his life was how precious life has become.

‘I don’t take anything for granted anymore. Every day is a new day and I try, to the best of my ability, to live it to the fullest.’

Indeed. As I spoke to him he was between classes at UBC, where he is pursuing a degree in engineering. That was after racing in the Enduro World Series all summer, which is the hottest race circuit in professional mountain biking.

Not many 21 year olds have the wherewithal to pursue school, an athletic career as well as have the wisdom to understand that life is something to be cherished at every moment. When we’re young, we feel invincible and often take things for granted. But as we age, we see that life is something to be lived not gratuitously, but intentionally. Nick seems to be doing just that. And for me, anyone who can keep their head about them, after facing death and coming to a place of gratitude, rather than self glory or entitlement, is a true source of inspiration.

Be safe, ski hard.

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