Cheaha Challenge 2014

Riders make their way east on Alabama 204 in Jacksonville at the start of the Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo.

On Sunday, the 26th annual Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo Century & ULTRA, and the ChiefLadiga Cruise family ride, will take place from Jacksonville State University. Hundreds of riders from at least 30 states and 11 countries will toe the start line at Pete Mathews Coliseum and experience a ride of a lifetime.

The Challenge course takes riders to the top of Alabama inside Cheaha State Park to Bunker Tower and climbs almost 10,000 feet up Mount Cheaha, while the ULTRA ride adds on climbs of Bain’s Gap, Cottaquilla and Chimney Peak to tack on almost 13,000 feet of climbing. The 100-mile course is the only U.S. qualifier for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championship in Italy this August. The Cruise ride takes place on the Chief Ladiga Trail.

The Northeast Alabama Bicycle Association is deeply grateful to the local sponsors and volunteers who help make the event happen, especially the city of Jacksonville and JSU as they recover from last month’s tornadoes. What a fantastic opportunity to showcase true southern hospitality and invite others to experience the natural beauty of our area.

As you are out and about this weekend, you may encounter some cyclists. Please take a moment to thank them for coming and ask them to come back next year.

Brooke Nelson, ride director