Qualify for the 2023 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships at the Cheaha Challenge
The only North American opportunity for cyclists to qualify for UCI Gran Fondo World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland in August 2023
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Can you handle the toughest ride in the South? The 30th Annual Cheaha Challenge takes place on May 20-21 in Jacksonville, Alabama.
For the 6th year, the 100 mile century and the 12.5 mile time trial will be qualifiers for the 2023 UCI Gran Fondo and Time Trial World Championships that will take place in Glasgow, Scotland on August 4th - 7th 2023, the only qualifying event in North America this year.
UCI Time Trial Qualifier
The event hosts a 12 mile Individual Time Trial on Saturday May 20th that allows riders to qualify for the UCI World Time Trial Championship.
The 12 mile course is flat and fast with only 232ft of climbing, held on the Chief Ladiga Trail, a paved rails-to-trail, from Piedmont to Jacksonville, and is the qualifier for all age groups.
The Cheaha Challenge Time Trial starts at the Eubanks Welcome Center, Piedmont, AL and finishes at Jacksonville State University.
You can view the course profile here.
UCI Gran Fondo Qualifier
For the 5th year, the 100 mile century ride will be qualifier for the 2023 UCI Gran Fondo Championships, only the century riders are eligible.
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. 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.
The Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo begins and ends in Jacksonville, AL. The challenge of this ride is that the participants encounter more than 9,700 feet of cumulative climbing for the 100 mile route.
The course goes up and over Cheaha Mountain, the highest point in the state, the top of Alabama!
The 100 mile route takes riders through scenic Cheaha State Park, Alabama’s oldest continually-operating state park that is surrounded by the Talladega National Forest in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, affording breath-taking vistas of the beautiful mountains and valleys in this foothills region. The area is a recreational wonderland with multitudes of hiking trails, gravel routes, and mountain bike paths.
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 of fast downhill too!
The century ride includes 10 rest stops throughout to keep you fed and hydrated.
It features the climbs of White’s Gap, Heflin Mountain, Horseblock Mountain, Not Again, Oh Shift! and the 3-Mile Climb to Bunker Tower in Cheaha State Park, the Top of Alabama the highest point. The route continues with the climb of Adam’s Gap and turns around for the second climb of Bunker Tower and traces the route back to Jacksonville.
Awards are available for 1st/2nd/3rd Place Overall Winners (Male/Female) for the Cheaha Challenge century distance. Overall and Age Group winners of the century distance will be awarded UCI medals, and 1st place winners will receive UCI jerseys.
Only the century riders are eligible, and your age group is determined by your age on 12/31/23.
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. 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.
UCI age groups for men and women are; 19-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79 and 80+, and your age group is determined by your age on 12/31/23.
The ride has consistently been ranked as one of the top Gran Fondo's in the USA by Gran Fondo Guide.
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This huge festival of cycling takes place on the weekend of May 20-21st, 2022 in Jacksonville, Alabama, starting at Jacksonville State University, which also provides inexpensive accommodation, there’s also RV camping and tent camping with 15-20 minutes of the University.
Additional Meal Tickets
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 20, 2023 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 21, 2023 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 Rib Shack, 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://www.bikereg.com/cheahachallenge