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United States | Southeast | Virginia >> REGISTRATION for the 29th Annual Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo is NOW OPEN!

REGISTRATION for the 29th Annual Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo & ULTRA, Chief Ladiga Cruise, and Time Trial is NOW OPEN!

“My brain will hurt like an ULTRA rider’s legs after the race!” says new ride director John Moore

"The toughest ride in the South," the Cheaha Challenge has been confirmed to take place on the weekend of May 14-15th, 2022 in Jacksonville, Alabama!

Photo: The stunning Cheaha State Park, Alabama this autumn. Credit: Beth Cowan Drake

The stunning Cheaha State Park, Alabama this autumn.

Newly retired John Moore, a public educator and coach for the past 25 years, takes over the helm as ride director. John started cycling way back in 2004 and completed the Cheaha Challenge in 2005. John has worked on many high profile events including the internationally renowned Woodstock 5K.  John commented “I am really excited about my new role, and to be inviting thousands of people to come experience Alabama the Beautiful, one of the most cycling friendly places in the South with some incredible climbs!”

Since 1992, the annual cycling event challenges riders over Mount Cheaha, the highest point in Alabama.  It’s a huge event for the City of Jacksonville and fully supported by Jacksonville State University with many prominent sponsors to boot.

The 29th Annual Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo Century & ULTRA, with distance options of 24, 44, 62, 84, 100 and the ULTRA course – 126 miles (for experienced riders only), will take place in Jacksonville, AL on Sunday, May 15, 2022. The century ride includes 9,714 feet of climbing including the highest point in Alabama, and the ULTRA encompasses all major climbs in the area including the hardest Category 2 climb in Alabama – Lake Chinnabee to the top of Mount Cheaha, for a total of 13,492 feet of climbing. The ride takes cyclists along the scenic and rugged terrain of the Talladega Mountains, and includes nine rest stop locations for the century and 12 rest stop locations for the ULTRA.  The Century and ULTRA are for riders 16 years old or older.

KOM/QOM – There will be three KOM/QOM competitions on our courses: Three Mile Climb (84, 100 and ULTRA routes), Chinnabee Lake Cat 2 Climb (ULTRA route) and Chimney Peak (ULTRA route). For course and prize money info, please go to the awards page.

The Chief Ladiga Cruise is kinder, gentler family style ride that offers distances of 12, 25 or 50 miles on the Chief Ladiga rails-to-trail. There will be Rest Stops on the course, which is all on the paved bike path through Alabama's countryside with Dugger Mountain as the backdrop.

This huge festival of cycling takes place on the weekend of May 14-15th, 2021 in Jacksonville, Alabama, starting at Jacksonville State University, which also provides inexpensive dormitory accommodation, there’s also RV camping and tent camping with 15-20 minutes of the University.

All rides start and finish on campus at Jacksonville State University, registration has just opened and already over 200 cyclists have signed up with over 1,200 participants expected.

Post-Ride Buffet is FREE for all registered riders as it is included in your registration fee on Sunday, May 15, 2022 from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. at Pete Mathews Coliseum, Jacksonville, AL.

They have a limited number of tickets left for Transport to the Top of Alabama on Sunday (May 15) to Rest Stop #4 inside Cheaha State Park at Bunker Tower. Guests can see the start of the Challenge or ULTRA and hang out at Rest Stop 4 until they see you, ring a cowbell or two, then they will be transported back in waves to the finish at Pete Mathews Coliseum. Guests will receive a goody bag with drink and snacks. Tickets are $10 per adult. Free for guests age 12 or younger. Deadline to purchase tickets is Friday, May 13 at 12 noon, when online registration closes, we would advise everyone to book this now as it will likely sell out in advance.

John’s passion for the Cheaha Challenge oozed, “I’m going to do my very best to meet the high standards of previous ride director Brooke Nelson. I’m really looking forward to getting to know everyone who is involved in organizing the race weekend. No doubt, my brain will hurt like an ULTRA riders legs after the race!”

For the 5th year, the 2022 Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo Century will be qualifier for the 2022 UCI Gran Fondo and Time Trial World Championships that will take place in Trento, Italy from 1st to 4th September 2022, one of only two qualifiers in the USA.  Only the century riders are eligible, and your age group is determined by your age on 12/31/22.

What does this mean for the century riders?

The first three in each age category and the top 25% of each age category will be awarded with guaranteed entry to the UCI Gran Fondo World Championship in September. Only the century riders are eligible. (Note: If there are three in your age group who start the race– everybody qualifies! If there are four who start the race, the top three qualify. If there are 100 in your age group who start the race, 25 will qualify.  Go to the following link for all of the UCI qualification rules.

There are six routes for all abilities of cyclists and their families.

For the 2nd year, the Cheaha Challenge is a Gran Fondo National Series Qualifier. This provides the opportunity for riders who participate in Cheaha Challenge to earn Series Points and qualify for the 2022 USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Championship which is also confirmed be held on July 17th, 2022 in Asheville, NC.

Scoring for Qualification  and Series points at Cheaha Challenge will be determined by adding each riders’ overall Start-to-Finish time with their segment-times. NOTE: for Series Points earned in Age-group, scoring will be matched to GFNS age-groups and may not follow the same primary age-groupings used at Cheaha Challenge.

2022 USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Championship which is also confirmed be held on July 17th, 2022 in Asheville, NC

It is the 100 mile century route that is the qualifier for the 2022 USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Championship and the 2022 UCI Gran Fondo World Championship.

New 2022 "Mountains Are Calling" Kit!

The 2022 "Mountains Are Calling" kits is destined to be very popular! Check out the elevation profile and Longleaf Pines incorporated into the artwork on the front and back, and everyone loves the eye-catching green. (Men's and women's sizing available.)

Merchandise pre-orders will close at midnight on February 21st 2022; however, they will have limited quantities/sizes on site at the event. And we will re-open the merchandise store for two weeks starting on Sunday, May 15, 2022 for sales of our event kits "Mountains Are Calling" and for the coveted "ULTRA Finisher" jerseys/bibs/shorts.

New 2022 "Mountains Are Calling" Kit!

Register NOW and SAVE!

Register now and save before prices rise on January 2nd 2022!

For detailed information and registration, please go to: http://www.cheahachallenge.com

Additional tickets for the Pre-Ride Dinner buffet are $15/each (discounted pricing) for both riders and non-riders, and is catered by Effina’s on Saturday, May 14, 2022 from 5-8 p.m. at Pete Mathews Coliseum, Jacksonville, AL.. Buffet includes a pasta bar with multi-options of pasta, sauces, protein, vegetarian and gluten-free options, salad, bread, and dessert.

Post-Ride Buffet is FREE for all registered riders as it is included in your registration fee on Sunday, May 15, 2022 from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. at Pete Mathews Coliseum, Jacksonville, AL. DO NOT purchase a ticket for yourself if you’re a registered rider, but do purchase for your guests at $15 for non-riders (discounted pricing). Buffet is catered by Cooter Brown's BBQ, and will include barbeque, salad, veggies, vegetarian and gluten-free options, bread and dessert.

Where do you order these? On the registration and event info page, scroll down past the registration categories: https://bit.ly/3rmkIyD