28th Annual

Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo

Century, ULTRA, & Time Trial

(And Chief Ladiga Cruise Family Ride)

Saturday & Sunday

May 16 & 17, 2020

Jacksonville, Alabama



Ride Schedule


Saturday, February 16th, 8:00 am

Saturday, March 2nd, 8:00 am

Saturday, March 23rd, 8:00 am

Saturday, April 20th, 8:00 am


The Training Rides Will Have Routes of 30, 60, 80, and 90+ miles:


All rides/groups depart from 3 Robertson Road, Anniston, AL 36207 (Golden Springs Baptist Church) and will head directly to the Scenic Parkway leading to Cheaha State Park and the "Cima Coppi" of the event (and the State of Alabama). The ride will continue down the backside of Cheaha to the turnaround at Adam's Gap, then back to the summit - unless you add the new Ultra climb by taking Cheaha Road to Lake Chinnabee and back. The climb from Lake Chinnabee to the top of Cheaha is a 7 mile, 1600' leg breaker - one of the toughest in the state. The return to the start/finish may reflect the same route out, or (if there is life left in you) may divert to capture the additional miles and (horrific) climbs of the Ultra, including Cotaquilla, Bain's Gap, and Chimney Peak.


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).


For more information contact: dsims@pinnacletrials.com.


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!