Big challenges don’t scare PRA high school PE, fitness and health teacher Dr. Florence Bocquet, aka Dr. Flo. In fact, she seeks them out. Last summer she ran a 5K terrain race with her two kids, ages 12 and 10, and biked from Echo Lake to Mount Evans with the total trip being 30 miles. In February, she plans to complete a 14K fat-tire bike race and later this year will do a three week bikepacking trip through Canada. These physical challenges provide more than just bragging rights for Dr. Flo; she finds them essential for her mental and physical health.
“Life is about learning and discovering the world around us, as well as discovering who you are and who you can be,” she said. “I love to surpass myself and find my limits, both physically and mentally. I find those activities thrilling, with usually a positive outcome.”
A native of France who moved to Montreal during college, Dr. Flo originally relocated to Boulder to pursue her PhD in atmospheric sciences. In 2014, she switched from being a research scientist to teaching science and math in informal settings, such as being a tutor, an indoor skydiving physics instructor, and a roller-skating STEM instructor. But it was while covering a PE class as a substitute teacher in 2021 that she found her calling. Talking about her fitness challenges is one way that she teaches her students about a variety of topics relating to health and fitness.
“In health classes we talk about risk-taking, physical health, mental health, coping skills, addiction, fitness and nutrition, just to name a few, and all of these topics apply 120 percent to the kind of accomplishments I strive for, like running races and climbing mountains,” Dr. Flo said.
Dr. Flo doesn’t only look for challenges that are close to her home in Colorado, but also searches for opportunities that will allow her and her family to experience different cultures. She has traveled to 25 countries and five continents thus far with those trips including everything from solo backpacking trips to family adventures. For the last two years, they have explored the world through bikepacking.
“We travel around the world to discover and experience other cultures and go beyond our comfort zones,” she said.
It was a childhood of physical activity and exploring with her mom and siblings that laid the foundation for the active life she now leads. Her family would ski, swim, and travel through Europe in a campervan during the summers. Then, as teen worries about body image set in, she learned about nutrition and fitness. Her love of sports expanded at university as she was exposed to more sports through the recreation center on campus.
“I worked out every day and took healthy risks, like canyoneering and paragliding, which are two thrilling activities I discovered as a young adult,” she said. “Good memories! There is so much to discover and try out in this world. This is my life!”
Now she shares her adventurous life with her children. She said they have accompanied her on 99 percent of her challenges and trips around the world. They learned to ski and swim at age 1. At ages 6 and 4, they biked with her around Dillon Lake and the following year they climbed Mt. Bierstadt, a Fourteener.
“They learned to be goal-driven, reach farther, and when we accomplished our goals -which does not always happen- they experienced the feeling of success,” she said. “The feeling of accomplishing something big cannot be described with words! Life is full of rewards! I believe my kids are strong both physically and mentally and that is going to serve them well for their lives ahead.”
Amy G. Partain
PRA Communications Manager