Punishing Hills and Powerful Change
From 10-12 February, 98.5 Sonshine FM Announcer Rod Olsen will be riding in the Great Ocean Road Challenge, a three-day, 300km cycling tour to raise money for children living in poverty. Here, he shares about his preparation tactics, his motivation behind the ride and his iPod favourites.
1. Why are you riding in the Great Ocean Road challenge this year?
Having seen Compassion's work firsthand in Haiti and Dominican Republic, I know what an amazing difference every dollar can make. I know that my efforts will save lives. What better reason could there be to ride in the Great Ocean Road Challenge?
2. Why did you choose to cycle to raise funds, instead of, for example, holding a bake sale or walk-a-thon?
I've been a keen cyclist for many years. I've cycled across Australia five times, as well as cycling in India and Canada.
I love cycling and I've seen the potential of long distance rides to not only raise funds, but raise awareness for a cause. Any kind of fundraiser is a step in the right direction, but I love the visibility of a ride: we get to be seen by thousands of people who might otherwise never know about the work of Compassion.
3. How are you feeling about the ride? Nervous? Excited?!
I'm excited to be part of the ride again. I'm looking forward to meeting friends from last year and new friends who are taking part for the first time. Having done the ride last year, I know I can do the distance; but I’m hoping those hills won't be quite as punishing!
4. How are you training for the big day?
At the moment, my ride to work and back each day forms the basis of my training. But I'll be stepping up my training as the ride gets closer; I’ll be looking for more hills to tackle to get ready for the climbs on the ride.
5. When you’re riding, and your energy wanes, how do you keep yourself motivated?
When I start feeling a little tired on my bike I just keep pushing, knowing that what I'm doing has purpose that goes well beyond any personal or physical challenge. There's also great motivation that comes from riding with a group of people who are there for a similar purpose. Being able to encourage others and being encouraged by them is a great boost on the heavy days.
6. You’re a radio announcer for Sonshine FM in Perth and listen to music all the time—so tell us, what’s on your playlist as you train?
While I'm training I have my iPod on shuffle. I have extremely eclectic tastes in music; I could be listening to anything from Bob Dylan to Newsboys, The Jam, Duffy, Regina Spektor, Diana Krall, The Clash or dozens of other artists.
7. What is it about Compassion that inspires you to actively raise funds for their ministry?
Quite simply, I've seen the difference Compassion can make. I've seen the beaming faces of children singing about Jesus. I've received letters from our family's sponsored child telling me how much of a difference our small contribution is making. There's not too much that melts my heart more quickly than reading that our sponsored child loves me and, even better, loves Jesus.
Compassion’s connection with the local church means that their work is extremely effective. They empower the local body of Christ to use donated funds in the most effective way possible, meeting the specific needs of the local community.