UCI Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo keeps on growing
The unique US qualifier event in the series took place in Jacksonville, Alabama last weekend for a typical Century ride through the Cheaha State park with 2,411ft high Mount Cheaha as the hardest difficulty of the day
"The toughest ride in the South," the Cheaha Challenge, part of the Alabama Backroads Century Series, dates back to 1993 and challenges riders over Mount Cheaha, the highest point in Alabama. The 26th annual Cheaha Challenge in Jacksonville Alabama had great weather conditions with nice temperatures and scenic views along the road in Cheaha State park.
The Cheaha Challenge has a lot of specialty additions to the ride. Live bands, buffet food, $3,400 dollars in prizes, Team and Individual Awards, and a family ride. The Rest Stops are amazing, and they hold a contest as to which feed station is the best.
Riders from 30 different US states and 11 different countries (US, Canada, Germany, Iran, Italy, Australia, UK, Belgium, Brazil, Egypt, and Mexico) signed up to try and qualify for the Granfondo World Championships in Varese (ITA). With on the day registrations, over 1,000 riders registered to take part,
The start was be given in four different start waves for the qualifying distance with three race starts split per combined age groups and one non-racers start, all leaving with a three-minute interval.
Apart from the 100 miles qualifier distance, the event also offered a full festival including a Cruise family ride, ULTRA (124 miles/200km) and 84, 62, 44, 24 miles distances.
Aaron Boyleston and Tanya Fredricks take fastest overall times in Cheaha Challenge
The start of the qualifying century ride was given in three different waves with riders under 45 leaving 3 minutes ahead of the 45-54 group, followed by a third group over 50 another three minutes later.
Fastest overall time was for Californian Aaron Boyleston (M35-39), outsprinting Michael Olheiser who won his M40-44 age group while Jacob Tremblay finished 23 seconds later to take second in the M35-39. The fastest time was ridden by the riders in the first start wave.
Overall fastest female on the course was Tanya Fredricks (F50-54), exactly 2 minutes faster than Mary Breed (F40-44) while Jessica Bibza (F45-49) took third overall spot. All three won their own age group.
The Cheaha Challenge and the UCI Gran Fondo World series, removes any doubt that some Gran Fondo’s are full on races at the front of the field. If you finish in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place or in the top 25% of your age group in the Century ride, you will qualify for the 2018 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships in Verese, Italy (Aug 30 – Sep 2) and a shot at the World Champions Rainbow Jersey.
Link to 2018 Results - http://www.topviewsports.com/cheaha-challenge-18