2018 Cheaha Challenge CENTURY is AGAIN the qualifier for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championship!
We are thrilled that we have again been chosen to host the ONLY USA Qualifier for the 2018 UCI Gran Fondo World Championship, to be held in Varese, Italy from Aug. 30-Sept. 2, 2018. Participants of the Century ride on May 20, 2018 will earn qualification to enter the World Championship if they place 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in their respective age group and/or if they are in the top 25% of their age group. (In other words, if there are three in your age group - everybody qualfies! If there are four in your age group, the top three qualify. If there are 100 in your age group, the top 25 qualify.)
The 26th Annual Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo Century & ULTRA ride begins and ends in Jacksonville, AL. The challenge of this ride is that the participants encounter more than 9,714 feet of cumulative climbing for the century ride, and more than 12, 835 feet for the ULTRA (for experienced riders only). Shorter route options have much less climbing. The Cheaha Challenge/ULTRA is famous for being extremely well organized and supported by local volunteers and businesses.
The course is out-and-back and takes cyclists over Cheaha Mountain, Alabama's highest point at 2,407 feet, and home of Cheaha State Park. Given that the route is out-and-back, cyclists also have a lot FAST downhill! Most of the 100 mile route takes riders through the Talladega National Forest by way of the Talladega Scenic Drive, affording breathtaking vistas of the beautiful mountains and valleys in this foothills region.The ULTRA portion is for experienced riders only, and encompasses all major climbs in our area: Mount Cheaha, Bain's Gap, Cottaquilla, and Chimney Peak.
Chip timing allows us to crown a "King/Queen of the Mountain" (KOM/QOM) rider on the famously steep "3 Mile Climb" leading to the top of Alabama at Cheaha State Park, and allows us to post accurate timing. For the second yer, there will also be a KOM/QOM on the ULTRA course on the route up Chimney Peak (1.6 miles), that includes a 22% grade.
CHIEF LADIGA CRUISE Ride - Looking for a little bit less of a Challenge? Or do you have family or friends looking for something to do while you're out riding the Challenge?
Check out the Chief Ladiga Cruise, a kinder/gentler ride of 12, 25 or 50 (to the state line) miles (or less, if you want) on The Ladiga Trail, with three rest stop locations on the route. Enjoy this paved bike path through north Alabama's countryside with Dugger Mountain as the backdrop. (Start time is 8 a.m., 30 minutes after the 7:30 a.m. start of the Challenge.)
TRANSPORT TO THE TOP: If you have family/friends/spectators/cheerleaders who just want to get a glimpse of you out on the course, we offer a FREE Transport to the Top, inside Cheaha State Park at Rest Stop #4. We do not allow crews on our course, as we have 11 Rest Stops, depending on the distance chosen, and any vehicles outside of our safety team and SAG are highly discouraged due to safety issues. So, choose the safe option and register your peeps to ride the transport. (Transport will leave from the Start/Finish venue at Pete Mathews Coliseum, Jacksonville State University at 8 a.m., and take a back route to the top so as not to impede the cyclists. They will be returned to the Start/Finish after the cutoff time from Cheaha State Park at 12 noon. Questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
CUSTOM MERCHANDISE: The Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo Century & ULTRA (And Chief Ladiga Cruise rides have some of the coolest merchandise at any event. Custom jerseys (sleeved and sleeveless/bibs/shorts/socks). But don't miss the pre-order deadline: Feb. 14, 2018
ULTRA FINISHERS receive a coveted Finishers T-Shirt and are allowed to order the coveted ULTRA FINISHER JERSEY the day after the event. All ULTRA registrants who don't finish, have their FINISHER T-Shirt burned and the ashes mailed to them post-event. If you don't earn it, Brooke Nelson will burn it.
CHEAHA CHALLENGE CENTURY AND ULTRA RIDE (Online only through May 17, 2018)
Oct. 1 - Nov. 1 $50.00
Nov. 2 - Dec. 15 $60.00
Dec. 16 - Jan. 15 $65.00
Jan. 16 - Mar. 15 $70.00
Mar. 16 - Apr. 15 $75.00
Apr. 16 - May 17 $80.00
May 18-20 $90.00
CHIEF LADIGA CRUISE RIDE (Family Ride)
Oct. 1 - Dec. 15 $15.00
Dec. 16 - Mar. 15 $20.00
Mar. 16 - May 17 $25.00
May 18-20 $30.00
For all riders:
Thanks to Highland Health Systems - Cash prizes for KOM/QOM, Overall Century and ULTR. And Team Awards have been upgraded, too!
26th Anniversary Celebration!
Goody Bags - drawstring backpacks stuffed full of goodies and info, compliments of Sunny King Automotive
Pre-ride breakfast at ride site
Pre-ride devotion - (7:00 am)
Post-ride party - complete with buffet, beverages, finisher gifts, bands and more!
Fully stocked Rest Stops - Depending on the distance chosen, Challenge and ULTRA riders have access up to 11 Rest Stops. (The Chief Ladiga Cruise has access to 5 Rest Stops.)
Law enforcement support
SAG and technical support
Official custom bibs
Professional Timing - Top View Sports
Option to order custom event jerseys (Hincapie Sports)
Custom ride t-shirts
Bragging rights and special shirts for ULTRA finishers only!
Finisher medal for Cheaha Challenge Century and ULTRA riders - Alabama Backroads Century Series
Finisher gifts - Custom Cycling Cap compliments of Highland Health Systems
Massage Therapy: TBA
Hot showers at the finish
Friday, May 18, 2018
Packet Pickup/Registration: 12 noon - 6 p.m.
1229 Noble Street, Anniston, AL 36201
Phone: (256) 237-9447
Saturday, May 19, 2018
Packet Pickup/Registration: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Pete Mathews Coliseum, Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, AL
Pre-Ride Dinner: 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.
(Cyclists and Non-cyclists: $10/ticket for buffet)
Sunday, May 20, 2018 - Pete Mathews Coliseum
Last Chance to Register/Pickup Packets: 5:30 a.m. - 7 a.m. (Chielf Ladiga Cruise can register until 7:45 a.m.)
Pre-Ride Breakfast: 5:30 a.m. (Free to all)
Pre Ride Devotional: 7 a.m. (Inside the gym at Pete Mathews Coliseum)
CHEAHA CHALLENGE/ULTRA START: 7:30 a.m.
CHIEF LADIGA CRUISE START: 8 a.m.
Post Ride Party: 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Start/Finish venue at Pete Mathews Coliseum: Buffet catered by Cooter's Rib Shack. Music TBA (Free to riders. $10/non-riders)
Awards Ceremony - band stage
GOT SOME TIME ON SATURDAY? Enjoy some other activities in our area:
Coldwater Mountain Bike Trails
Anniston Museum of Natural History
Hike at Cheaha State Park
Finisher awards include:
- For century/ULTRA riders, Alabama Backroads Century Series medal
- Finisher awards
- Gran Fondo buffet