Au Mont Ventiel: a race for the good cause

Au Mont Ventiel

Bram Lesaffer has been a consultant for ALTEN Belgium since 2021! Discover his story with Au Mont Ventiel and how ALTEN accompanied him in his initiative.  Can you present us the initiative Au Mont Ventiel?

This summer, I cycled with four friends from Kortrijk (Belgium) to the top of the Mont Ventoux (Southern France) in 10 days to raise money for “Het Ventiel”, an organization that organizes activities for people with young dementia. In total, we cycled 1080 km and conquered over 12500 altitude meters. During the trip, we were lucky enough to count on our support team, which consisted of 3 friends riding in a big van.

After one crash, two broken spokes, five punctured tires, many liters of isotonic drinks, and multiple snacks, we climbed the Mont Ventoux from Bédoin on the 18 th of July and we all managed to reach the top in under 2 hours.

On the top of the Ventoux, we were awaited by family, friends, our support team, and people from “Het Ventiel”. That is where we were able to announce that we raised €13 762,25. Due to some late deposits and an auction of one of our cycling kits, the total amount ended up close to €20 000.

What is the story behind this adventure? 

For the past few years, we started cycling with a group of friends, and eventually, the idea to do a big cycling trip came up. Our first idea was to cycle to Budapest as one of our members is doing his PhD there. After some research, we found out that cycling routes to Budapest weren’t ideal. We kept on thinking and came up with the idea to couple a good cause to our challenge. As we chose “Het Ventiel” and that the idea to start the association occurred on the Top of the Mont Ventoux, we decided to cycle there.

Why did you and your teammates choose this foundation?

We wanted to support a local good cause and started to look around. Emiel, one of the cyclists, came up with the idea to support “Het Ventiel” as his father is a member of the board. He put us in touch with them so we could present our idea, and they were very enthusiastic about it!

What did this challenge provide you, personally and professionally?

Personally, this challenge provided me with a great experience. By struggling together, you really get to know, support, and respect each other. During Au Mont Ventiel, we created memories for a lifetime.

Professionally, the challenge taught me that people appreciate when young people want to support a good cause. I learned how to present an initiative to companies. I was surprised by the level of support and sponsorship most companies were willing to offer us, and by how enthusiastically Au Mont Ventiel was welcomed.

  How did ALTEN support this initiative? Why is it important for you to work in a company that supports its employees’ initiative?

ALTEN supported Au Mont Ventiel by donating and by presenting the challenge through LinkedIn and the company’s newsletter. It is nice to see that ALTEN doesn’t only focus on its employee’s performances but is also willing to support their initiatives. This is the kind of example that makes you proud to be an ALTEN employee.

Do you have any tips for someone who would like to take on this kind of challenge? 

When in doubt concerning a new challenge or adventure, my advice would be to go for it. Taking initiative leads you to learn a lot and experience great things. When we first talked about Au Mont Ventiel, none of us could have imagined that we would raise such an amount and get such a level of support. It was great to see how an idea can grow into a real project and a great adventure in which so many people contribute.

If you want to go on a long cycling adventure, I do have one very specific tip: use chamois cream every day, it is very helpful to avoid saddle pain, your butt will thank you.

Have you and your team planned to reiterate this adventure? 

There are currently no concrete plans. We are still enjoying the fact that we were able to complete this challenge and were all able to arrive safely on the top of Mont Ventoux. But as we all enjoyed the adventure, we might take on a new challenge in the future.

> > > Discover the interview of Emmanuel , validation engineer at ALTEN.