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The ULTRA was created with two goals, to highlight the natural beauty of our area and to add to the challenge of the Challenge, so that finishers would know they’d completed something extraordinary. This ride is so tough that you get a finisher shirt as you cross the finish line to go with the finisher medal. You have to finish though, or you will receive your shirt in a bag of ashes in the mail if you don't!
Brooke Nelson had this to say about how the ULTRA took root, "Our ULTRA course design team consisted of local riders who knew all aspects of Cheaha Mountain and the surrounding area’s climbs. We asked for input and data as to what the course should entail, and it became clear that the course had to include certain climbs besides Cheaha Mountain: Bain’s Gap, Cottaquilla, Chimney Peak. The plan was always to add Chinnabee to the top, the hardest category 2 climb in the state, which we did a couple of years in.". The first year saw a sizable number of takers to this challenge, with about a 50% finish rate of all starters. Brooke took the idea of burning the remaining shirts and sending ashes to non-finishers and created the ultimate motivation for anyone who did not complete to come back and overcome the following year.
We have always been proud of the Cheaha Challenge, but the ULTRA ratcheted up the misery level that separated those who could thrive while suffering and those who could not. You can add your name to the list of finishers in 2023 and meet the challenge that only the ULTRA can provide. Your mission is to get to the top of the climb in the video at mile 122, as it is all downhill from there.