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Cheaha

Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo

May 17 - May 18 2025
Jacksonville Alabama USA
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Distances: 24, 44, 62, 84, 100, 126 miles
Difficulty: Ultra Distance and Climbing for events well over 100 miles
Limited to: 1,500 Participants

The Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo is a ride for all cyclists, no matter your experience level in the sport.  This ride has a bit of everything from the ULTRA course that features 126 miles of the toughest terrain around, down to the traditional 100, 84, 62, 44 and 24 mile routes on the Challenge course and the 50,25 and 12 mile options for the Chief Ladiga Cruise.  Some of those distances offer the chance to ride up Mount Cheaha, the highest point in the state of Alabama.  

The ride started as a recreational ride that riders would participate in with the goal of racing the course to get a fast time, while others would start with the singular goal of simply finishing.  The ride still offers those opportunities to this day, but they are a bit more defined than it was in 1993.  There is a competitive aspect to the ride with both the UCI Gran Fondo World Series and Gran Fondo National Series affiliations to qualify for the UCI World Championships and USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Championships respectively, as well as the Time Trial held the day before the Gran Fondo for those looking to race and ride as fast as they can.

For riders looking for a tough ride to challenge themselves to complete, but maybe not as concerned about time goals, then you can find it here.  We are blessed with hundreds of riders who participate with the goal of finishing and having a great time among the various distances.  We also have options for new cyclists, or those who just like easier social rides, such as the Chief Ladiga Cruise and the shorter distances of the Cheaha Challenge route.  When it is all done, we gather around at the finish area and have great post-ride meal to tell stories of how the ride went and connect with other riders from all over the US, and the World.

The Cheaha Challenge is now in it's 30th year, where it has grown from the humble roots from that first edition to become the largest annual cycling event in Alabama, and one of the largest in the United States.  We are excited to continue the tradition in 2023 and we look forward to seeing you on the start line!

A Top 10 Event in the State of Alabama as selected by the Alabama Bureau of Tourism & Travel in 2006, 2010, and 2012.

Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo Century & ULTRA

 
Start Located At: Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, Alabama
 
 
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Included

- Pre-Ride Party – Enjoy a phenomenal meal by local favorite – Effina’s – on Saturday evening. Discounted price of $15/head for all.
- Pre-ride breakfast at JSU – Free to all: riders, family, friends, vendors, volunteers, sponsors.
- Pre-ride devotion - By Dunaway Conner, inside Pete Mathews Coliseum (7:00 am).Post-ride party – Buffet by Cooter’s Rib Shack and entertainment.
- Free for all riders.  Discounted price $15 head for non-riders.Fully stocked Rest Stops - Depending on the distance chosen, Challenge and ULTRA riders have access up to 12 Rest Stops (The Chief Ladiga Cruise has 5 Rest Stops.)
- Law enforcement supportMedical support on courses and at Start/Finish by JSU’s College of Nursing Trailer, with support from Highland Health Systems.SAG and technical support.
- On-course communication.Official custom number bibs.Professional Timing – TopView Sports. Chip time – start to finish.}
- Option to order custom event jerseys, bibs, and shorts by Hincapie Sports.Custom ride T-shirts.
- Bragging rights for ULTRA Finishers ONLY, and ULTRA Finishers receive a custom Finisher Shirt (Non-Finishers will receive the ashes of their burned shirts).
- ULTRA Finishers have the option to order the custom ULTRA FINISHER jersey.
- Finisher medals
- Massage Therapy On-Site
- BIKEXPO – At Pete Mathews Coliseum Saturday and Sunday.
- HOT SHOWERS AT THE FINISH!

Prize / Race Categories

Finisher awards include: Challenge/ULTRA/Cruise - Sunday

- UCI World Championship Qualifiers (Century ride) receive UCI Medals, and 1st place in each age group receives UCI jersey

- Century Ride: Overall Top three male/female receive awards

- ULTRA Winners -Overall Top three male/female receive awards

- KOM/QOM - Three segments; top three male/female receive awards

- For Cheaha Challenge/ULTRA riders (and NEW - Cruise riders): Finisher Medals

- Gran Fondo buffet

TimeTrial: Saturday

- UCI Gran Fondo TT Championship - Receive UCI Medals for age groups, and 1st place receives a UCI jersey

 

 
Facilities
Parking
Changing Rooms
Toilets
Registration On the Day
Pre-Packet Pickups
 
Support for Participants
Route Signposted
Route Card
First Aid
Emergency Contact No
SAG Wagon
Outriders
Marshalls
Escort / Police Escort
Roving Mechanical Support
Mechanical Support at Rest Stops
 
Community
Volunteers
Bike Festival
Raffle
After Party
Kids Fondo
Free Training Rides
Fundraising
 
Features
KOM/QOM Competition
Category / Race Prizes
Finishing Medals
Results Within 24 Hours
Photos
Personalised Bib (Name and QR Code)
Downloadable GPS files
Post Ride Shower
Finish Line Chute
 
Nutrition
Feed / Aid Stations
Pre Event Meal(s) Provided As Part of Entry
Post Event Meal(s) Provided As Part of Entry
Number of Aid Stations: 17
 
Number of Timed Hill Climbs
3 Hill Climbs
 
cheaha
May 22 2023 - NEWS: Splendid weather for 1,000 riders at the UCI Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo
May 20 2023 - NEWS: Mason and Marcoux fastest at the 2023 UCI Cheaha Challenge Time Trial
Mar 06 2023 - NEWS: Qualify for the 2023 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships at the Cheaha Challenge
Nov 14 2022 - NEWS: Register NOW for the 30th Annual Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo, Century and ULTRA and SAVE!
Dec 27 2022 - NEWS: Lifetime Achievement Awarded to Brooke Nelson
May 19 2022 - NEWS: All Sunshine and Blue Skies for lucky Cheaha Challenge Participants!
Apr 12 2022 - NEWS: Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo Qualifier for UCI and USA Cycling Championships
Nov 24 2021 - NEWS: REGISTRATION for the 29th Annual Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo is NOW OPEN!
Jan 14 2022 - NEWS: Register Now for the E-Fondo Cheaha
Dec 16 2021 - NEWS: Northeast Alabama Bicycle Association (NEABA) Announces Lamp as Cheaha Challenge Ride Director
May 22 2021 - NEWS: America's Finest: Cheaha Challenge draws Record Numbers this Year
May 16 2021 - NEWS: Cheaha Challenge Draws Record Numbers this Year
Mar 11 2021 - NEWS: The 28th Annual Cheaha Challenge is Definitely Happening!
Apr 07 2021 - NEWS: Cheaha Challenge gears up for HUGE Cycling Celebration
Nov 15 2020 - NEWS: Register Now for the 28th Annual Cheaha Challenge
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Apr 12 2017 - NEWS: Cheaha Challenge reveals strong entry for the UCI Gran Fondo World Series Qualifier
Mar 24 2017 - NEWS: 5th Annual Alabama Backroads Century Series Announced
Feb 12 2016 - NEWS: Alabama Backroads Century Series Announces 2016 Events
Jan 04 2015 - NEWS: Alabama Backroads confirms 2015 Century Series
Feb 18 2014 - NEWS: Cheahaa Challenge Grand Fondo Announces New Routes and New Host for 22nd Annual Bicycle Ride in Alabama
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