29th Annual

Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo

Century, ULTRA, & Time Trial

(And Chief Ladiga Cruise Family Ride)

Saturday & Sunday

May 14 & 15, 2022

Jacksonville, Alabama

Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo - Ride Rules

(Rules for UCI Qualifying can be found on our UCI Qualifying Page)



HELMETS - are required at all times.


Century Rider's Cutoff and ULTRA Rider's Cutoff


Century Rider's Cutoff: For the Cheaha Challenge century riders, we are enforcing the 12 noon cut-off at the right turn to Adam's Gap leaving Cheaha State Park (past Rest Stop 4), this is 42+ miles into the ride, and we will require that you turn left coming out of the park after 12 noon and head back towards Jacksonville on your bike, thus completing the 84 mile option.


ULTRA Rider's Cutoff: ULTRA RIDER CUTOFF – For the Cheaha Challenge ULTRA distance riders, besides the 12 noon cutoff above, the ULTRA has two additional cutoffs:

          1.  1:00 p.m.  cutoff to turn off 281 onto Cheaha Road to start the new Chinnabee Lake section. Riders not making the 1 p.m. deadline will be directed to stay on 281 back to the Top of Alabama inside Cheaha State Park, then return to Jacksonville with the century riders.


          2.  4:00 p.m. cutoff as riders turn left off Hwy 9 onto Choccolocco Road. Riders not making the 4 p.m. deadline will be directed to stay straight on Hwy 9 with the century riders.


These cutoffs are to ensure you don't miss the Post-Ride Party, and that you are off the course by dark! But more importantly these strict cutoffs are for your safety and the safety of our volunteers and emergency/law enforcement personnel.


Please abide by these cutoffs. Thank You.




Safety is our utmost concern, so please review this information for your safety and that of your fellow riders. The Cheaha Challenge is not a closed course - there will be vehicular traffic on the roads, with the exception of Bain's Gap and Chimney Peak on the ULTRA course.  Check out Ride Director’s post concerning RULES after the 2019 event (https://www.facebook.com/cheahachallenge/posts/2362890853757872?__tn__=K-R )


  • Riders must show I.D. when picking up rider packets.
  • Helmets are required.
  • Be aware of other vehicles at all times.
  • Watch for bumpy/rough road conditions.
  • Be cautious around curves and on downhills.
  • Obey traffic laws.
  • Stay to the right at all times.
  • Heed course marshal warnings.
  • NO earphones, iPods, etc. are allowed.
  • No private SAGS are allowed on the course.
  • Please ride smart. Be safe. There are some dangerous sections on the course.
  • ULTRA course is for experienced riders only.




We allow you to ride any bike of your choosing for our event. This includes the following types of bikes (note restrictions listed):


  • Road Bike
  • E-bike or Pedal-Assist Bike (NOT ALLOWED ON THE TIME TRIAL COURSE)
  • Recumbent Bike
  • Hand Cycle Bike
  • Tandem Bike
  • Time Trial Bike
  • Mountain Bike
  • Tri Bike
  • Gravel Bike
  • Cross Bike
  • Unicyle
  • Tricycle




For those riders on the equipment listed below on the Century course, per UCI rules, your times will not be eligible for qualification for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships, including overall and age group awards.


  • E-Bike or Pedal-Assist Bike
  • Recumbent Bike
  • Hand Cycle/Bike
  • Tandem Bike
  • Time Trial Bike
  • Bikes With Aero Bars


And for those riders on the equipment listed below on any of the Challenge or ULTRA courses, per our rules, your times will not be eligible for overall or age group awards, KOM/QOM, Team Category based on speed, or ULTRA Finisher status.


  • E-Bike or Pedal-Assist Bike
  • Tandem Bikes





Your individual rider number must be attached to your back or side at all times. You must be wearing your number to access our Rest Stops. You will be disqualified and/or banned if you wear another rider’s number.




Cheaters beware! To keep the integrity of our ride, we go to great lengths to ensure the accuracy of our results. For this reason, we have added tracking measures and mandatory check-ins on the course.


TRACKING: There will be timing mats at the following points: Start, 3+ Mile Climb Start, 3+ Mile Climb Finish/Rest Stop 4 (crossed two times - going out to Adam's Gap and coming back from Adam's Gap), Chinnabee, Chimney Peak, and the Finish.


MANDATORY CHECK-IN: Volunteers will record cyclist's bib numbers at the following Rest Stops: Adam's Gap/RS5, Chinnabee, MDA Office/RS6, and Chimney Peak/RS7


Anyone found guilty of fraudulent results will be disqualified (DQ'd) and banned from the event in the future.


SPECTATORS:  Don't Get Your Rider DQ'd!


For the 44, 62, 84, 100 and ULTRA – no spectators are allowed on the course. For the safety of our riders, volunteers, and support crews, we do not want any other vehicles on the course. Riders are not allowed to have outside support during the ride, as we have already arranged for support. DO NOT plan to meet your rider on the course.


Spectators are allowed at pre-authorized areas – Start, Finish, MDA Office parking area (ULTRA course), and via our official Transport.

Transport to the Top – Family and Friends are encouraged to sign up to be transported to Rest Stop 4 – Top of Alabama in Cheaha State Park (Mile 42 for 84, 100, and ULTRA course, and also Mile 57 for 100 and ULTRA as they come into the park a 2nd time). Participants will be transported from the Start at Pete Mathews Coliseum, Jacksonville, AL to the Top after the start of the ride, about 8 a.m. Riders will be transported back to the Start/Finish around 12:30 p.m. Note: The ride takes about 45 minutes.


How to sign up to be transported? During the registration process, riders can sign up their family/friends to go to the top.


Chief Ladiga Cruise: Spectators are welcomed and encouraged to follow their riders by stopping at road crossings along the Chief Ladiga Trail, and at the Eubanks Welcome Center in Piedmont.




Remember, we are all visitors on these roads. Be respectful and stash your trash. Any rider caught littering will be disqualified from the event. There are plentiful Rest Stops along the routes, and they will be happy to take your trash.  NOTE: This includes water bottles. Leave water bottles ONLY at designated REST STOPS on the course. Otherwise, we will be fined by the Forest Service.


Also, Share the Road applies to both vehicles and bikes. Be courteous and careful when cars are on the routes. Please review these common mistakes:


  • No switchbacking - Do not zig-zag when encountering steep climbs. Going into the other lane of on-coming traffic, in order to minimize the pain of the climb, is very dangerous for obvious reasons.


  • No packs - Please ride single file close to the shoulder of the right lane when possible, especially on climbs that are not closed to traffic. Cars not associated with the event will not expect riders to be on the road. Be aware that cars may pass riders, not expecting there to be other riders approaching them in the other lane.

  • No trash - If you throw trash on the course anywhere but at designated Rest Stops, you will be disqualified.

Challenge/ULTRA Distance Option Changes


Once registered, cyclists can switch any distance option except for the ULTRA distance. Once you have signed up for the ULTRA, you can switch the distance achieved at the finish line – only. In other words, if you sign up for the ULTRA, and you decide mid-ride to do the century, you can switch your distance at the finish with the timing company, not before the ride. You will get credit for the century ride and will be listed in the final results as having completed the century. (Why? Because we want the ULTRA riders to commit to the challenge of the ULTRA when they register. It’s all in the training! So be sure you want to commit before you register.)


Age Policy


Your age for our event is determined by your age on December 31st of the year of the event.

For the UCI Qualifiers, the UCI doesn’t recognize riders 18 or younger, so these riders will not receive an official UCI Medal at the Awards Ceremony.


The Century and ULTRA are for riders 16 years old or older. If a 15 year old or younger wants to register for the Century or ULTRA, registration must be cleared and approved through the Race Director, Stuart Lamp: cheahachallenge@neaba.net.


Early Starts / Wave Start


• Early Starts – Cyclists will not be allowed to start ahead of their assigned waves.


• Wave Start – Cyclists must start in their assigned waves or risk being DQ’d.


Wave Start Schedule:  TBA




Please visit our UCI Qualifying Page for specific details.



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