12 September 2012

We love Stacey’s interview with Ben Williams about his Raid Alpine experience.

By Stacey Roberts

In early September, Ben Williams completed the Raid Alpine cycling challenge in just six days. The 740km ride from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean is no easy feat, with 16,300 metres of sheer ascent!

Now that he’s safely off his bike, Ben tells us about his experience and his tips for anyone looking to get involved in charity fundraising.

Ben decided to take action after hearing about JLF CEO Nick Lee’s work spreading bowel cancer awareness. The importance of early detection hit home for Ben after his father-in-law took part in a pilot early bowel cancer detection program run by the NHS. It was discovered that Ben’s father-in-law had the early stages of bowel cancer. After undergoing treatment, he’s since made a full recovery.

So with that motivation behind him and after just 37 hours of training, Ben set off to complete the cycling challenge raising just over $1,500 for the Jodi Lee Bowel Cancer Foundation.

Ben’s biggest challenge wasn’t riding – it was all those European climbs. “We had lots of descents, which were great fun but were over pretty quickly as you would imagine and then we were back climbing,” he explains.

But Ben’s hard work was rewarded with some breathtaking scenery. “Some of the views on the mountains and down through the valleys and gorges will stay with me forever,” he says.

“It was particularly memorable on the first day when we came over the top of Col de la Ramaz to see the magnificent Mt Blanc in the distance.”

After completing the grueling challenge, Ben jumped into the Mediterranean for a well-deserved swim – not a bad way to end a bike ride!

Ben felt a “great sense of achievement” after completing the ride, but he’s happy to retire the bike for now – or at least from the week-long rides.

He hasn’t ruled out another ride just yet, though. “I still have two climbs that I want to do before I’m fifty – Alpe d’Huez and Mont Ventoux,” he says. “No doubt I will start changing my mind in a few months and sign up to something else!”

Are you looking to get involved with charity fundraising but don’t know where to start? Ben says the best way to find motivation and commitment is look to yourself. “I think the main thing is to take on an event that resonates with you personally,” he advises.

Ben says finding that personal connection will not only help you commit to the event or cause, it will help others commit, too. “If you take on the challenge to raise funds for a charity that you have a real attachment to, for whatever reason, I think that genuineness comes through and people are more prepared to donate to your cause.”

To read more about Ben’s incredible journey and see some of his amazing photographs, visit his blog.