Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo Century & ULTRA ride announced
26th Annual event on Sunday, May 20 is the United States UCI qualifying event for the 2018 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships in Italy
The Northeast Alabama Bicycle Association (NEABA) is thrilled that the club’s signature event – the Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo Century – was again chosen as the only USA qualifier for the Union Cycliste International’s Gran Fondo World Championship to be held in Italy in August 2018. Cyclists from all over the world will compete for the qualification to attend the world championship. The century distance was the only qualifier in the USA at the 2017 event, too.
What the heck is a Gran Fondo?
Basically, it’s a huge party after a grueling bike ride. There are three essentials for a good fondo – great ride, great timing, great food and beverages. We have those and more.
In 2017, NEABA hosted riders from 26 states and nine countries, who came to compete in the “Toughest Ride in the South.” As if the original century course was not challenging enough, three years ago the ride organizers added an ULTRA to the event, 124 miles/200K. The ULTRA encompasses all the major climbs in the area totaling more than 12, 835 feet of climbing. The Challenge offers distance options of 24, 44, 62, 84, and 100 miles, plus the ULTRA, with 11 options for Rest Stops on the courses. The Challenge is part of the Alabama Backroads Century Series, and only the century (100 mile) distance is the UCI qualifier.
The 84 and 100 mile options offer a KOM/QOM section – 3-Mile Climb to Bunker Tower, Cheaha State Park. The ULTRA offers two KOM/QOM sections – in addition to the 3-Mile Climb KOM/QOM, there is also a KOM/QOM up to Chimney Peak. Awards are available for all KOM/QOM sections, as well as for the 1st/2nd/3rd Place Overall Winners (Male/Female) for both the Cheaha Challenge century distance and the ULTRA. Overall and Age Group winners of the century distance will be awarded UCI medals, and 1st place winners will receive UCI jerseys.
If riders are not quite up for the challenge of the Challenge, they can opt to do the Chief Ladiga Cruise family ride, a kinder, gentler ride on the paved rails-to-trail, Chief Ladiga Trail. The Cruise has distance options of 12, 25, and 50.
Event venue: Pete Mathews Coliseum, Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, AL
Challenge/ULTRA start at 7:30 a.m.
Chief Ladiga Cruise starts at 8 a.m.
For more information, please visit: cheahachallenge.com