Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo Rider Times 2013
First, let me say wow...the Lord blessed us with the nicest weekend of weather than any of us could remember in our 21 years of the ride. On behalf of the Team Cheaha Committee (listed above), thank you for traveling to our communities in Calhoun County to ride your bike and for allowing us to serve you during the weekend. I think the spirit of our community is best demonstrated by an email I received a couple of weeks before the ride from a local banker. His church sits on Hwy 9 and the church members wanted to know how they could show all of you that they "love and care about you and want you to have a safe and fun ride and to always come back each year." I think you all saw a little of that on Hwy 9 and I think you'll see an expanded showing next year. For 21 years this community has embraced this Cheaha event and it seems that no matter who we call on for help--Red Diamond, Eastman, Alabama Dept of Transportation, State Troopers, Volunteer Fire Depts, HAM Radio Operators, regular folks--they always over-deliver to make sure you, our riders, are taken care of. Many of these folks will read the "Rider Comments" when we post them in a few days. So please go to that link on the home page and provide that feedback. We'd also like to know areas where we can improve.
This is already a long report, so I don't have the space to thank everyone in detail. But I do want to especially mention Anna Nicholls as a volunteer that goes beyond the call of duty. You probably have communicated with Anna via email or in person because she "touches" almost every one of you in the registration process, jersey ordering, or anything in general related to "customer service" for our ride. She does so much more that I dare not try to make the list for fear of leaving something out. She is passionate about caring for you guys and we appreciate her. Of course, she is the wife of Dr. Barry Nicholls who also volunteers MANY hours from his busy vet schedule to make the weekend special. Barry has been involved in planning the Cheaha Challenge for all 21 years.
About the Pavement...
Many of you approached me and emailed about the pavement on the Scenic Drive. We have expressed our dismay for several years locally to the DOT and other officials. If you'd like to respectfully express your opinion about the surface and connect it to tourism and showcasing the scenic beauty of our state (this roadway is regarded by most to be the most scenic in Alabama), please group email our local state senators and representatives listed below. A couple of key ones only have phone numbers. Also read the article in today's Anniston Star: http://www.annistonstar.com/view/full_story/22318367/article-Rough-roads-don-t-discourage-cyclists?instance=home_news
We are proud to be on the Alabama Backroads Century Cycling Series (4th stop), which provided custom medals to all who completed the 102- mile route. Check out the Series web site for the rest of the events and plan to keep pedaling across Alabama! http://www.alabama-backroads-cycling.com
Special thanks to Frankie Andreu, our special guest. Frankie has ridden with us before and is a big supporter and promoter of our event. I hope many of you got a chance to talk with Frankie on the bike during the ride.
Photos are now posted at Bird's Eye View. Visit their website www.tricyclephoto.com to view and purchase.
Our "third weekend in April" ride weekend falls on Easter in 2014. We are already trying to decide on the best date and will get that to you asap. To make sure you get our Cheaha blast emails, please subscribe at:https://app.e2ma.net/app2/audience/signup/1425440/1412151/?v=a
Finally...info on the results...
And lastly, this is my final year to be the "front person" for the Cheaha Challenge. I have always said--and it is the truth--I get alot of credit and attention that should absolutely go to the worker bees that put this ride on (listed above and many more). I have been ride director for 14 years and its time for transition in our club www.neaba.net for new leadership. It has been a great run and I have loved every minute of it and have loved getting to know most of you who come back year after year. I will certainly be involved in the background, but my plan is to get back on the bike and to be riding next to you next year when Sweet Home Alabama blares at the Start. Thanks for supporting our ride and we hope you will keep coming back!
Thanks and see you next year!