27th Annual

Cheaha Challenge

Gran Fondo Century & ULTRA

(And Chief Ladiga Cruise Family Ride)

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Jacksonville, Alabama



Ride Schedule Pending – Check Back for Updates.


We try to schedule these rides around organized rides and holidays, so once we have an idea of the schedule of other events for the spring we will work around that.


New for 2019 – The Ultra Course will change and a new climb will be added. Riders will now proceed as usual to Adam’s Gap, but on the return will turn off of Highway 281 at the start of the climb up the backside of Cheaha, onto Cheaha Road where they will descend all the way to scenic Lake Chinnabee, and then make a 180 degree turn to climb back up to the top of Cheaha Mountain – a 14 mile round trip and a tough 7 mile long Category 2 climb (arguably the hardest climb in the state!). This extra climb will make the already tough Ultra even tougher. Accordingly, we will introduce this climb into our training rides and include route changes so that we will have the option to capture every climb in the Ultra (except White’s Gap) over a course of 100+ miles. This route has the advantage of running concurrent with the shorter routes, so we will start with all ride groups together and share the same route for the first 50 or so miles. Riders will then decide if they wish to add the extra climbs and miles – or not.


The Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo will again be a qualifier for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championship, held each fall in a different country. For 2019, the event will be held in Poland. The competition for qualification will be tough, and pre-riding the course is a huge factor in preparing for the event. You will learn the nature of the terrain (hilly!), how best to expend and where to save energy, calorie and nutrition demands, and will be able to work out a plan for race day. Many of the training ride participants have gone on to qualify for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships and have made the trip to compete for Team USA in France (2017) and Italy (2018).

The Ultra has been one of the toughest rides you could do, and for 2019 will be even tougher. This ride will require a lot of training and preparation, so put one or more of the training rides on your spring schedule if you can. Pre-riding this course and understanding the unique challenges associated with it will go a long way towards the goal of completing the “Toughest Ride in the South” (and one of the toughest anywhere).


More details will follow soon. Meanwhile, send an e-mail to  dsims@pinnacletrials.com with questions regarding specifics.


We are looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones at this year's training rides.

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The Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo Century & ULTRA is a Top Ten Gran Fondo in the US, as ranked by Gran Fondo Guide!