JACKSONVILLE, ALABAMA May 19, 2019
2018 CHEAHA CHALLENGE & ULTRA RIDE REPORT
With our 4th ride again having an early questionable weather forecast, Saturday’s EXPO was great fun with no rain showers touching us. Riders began pouring in though for the fantastic spread of salad, pasta with a delectable choice of sauces, bread, and tasty desserts by Effina’s Tuscan Grill. First item on the program agenda by Director Brooke Nelson was the Mark Wiltshire Spirit of a Champion Award, recognizing a cyclist who inspires us by cycling despite physical limitations or illness…this year’s award going to BBC 100 Ride Director, Wayne Spooner.
By Sunday morning’s start time, 879 cyclists were signed up for the 100-mile Challenge, 124-mile ULTRA, or one of the four other supported routes, plus the Ladiga Cruise! Friday’s registration at Wig’s Wheels and sign-up at JSU had gone smoothly with Sunday’s first wave roll-out beginning promptly at 7:30 am.
Temps began climbing early in the day and news back at headquarters told us that dehydration and heat exhaustion were taking tolls. Plans can change quickly with 90 degree temps and high humidity and this was the case with many riders having to opt for shorter distances or simply to drop out for their own safety. Others managed to hang in there when attacking the KOM/QOM climbs and in their attempts to qualify for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championship. Check out RIDE RESULTS here.
On-course support included fun and well-stocked rest stops and staff volunteers from area Fire, Sheriffs, State Troopers, Police departments, EMA as well as multiple ham radio operators.
HUGE congratulations and thanks go out to Director Brooke Nelson, Family, and hundreds of volunteers, the City of Jacksonville, Jacksonville State University, and so many individuals and organizations who came together to provide this awesome, safe, and successful event!
And kudos to our Cheaha Challenge and ULTRA Finishers, listed to the right. You succeeded in accomplishing the TOUGHEST RIDE IN THE SOUTH! As always, we are all about recognizing YOU! If you have ANY corrections, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2018 Cheaha Challenge Event – https://ridewithgps.com/events/54431-cheaha-challenge-2018
2018 Cheaha Challenge RSVP – https://ridewithgps.com/auto_approve/Event/54431/WlXMkhbbwPShvlbn
Cheaha Challenge 24.6 – https://ridewithgps.com/routes/21074892
Cheaha Challenge 44 – https://ridewithgps.com/routes/21074886
Cheaha Challenge 62 – https://ridewithgps.com/routes/21074884
Cheaha Challenge 84 – https://ridewithgps.com/routes/21074881
Cheaha Challenge Century – https://ridewithgps.com/routes/21074879
Cheaha Challenge ULTRA – https://ridewithgps.com/routes/20892271
2017 CHEAHA CHALLENGE & ULTRA RIDE REPORT
We can’t possibly give enough credit to Ride Director Brooke Nelson and her team in putting on the impressive weekend Gran Fondo Cheaha Challenge & ULTRA! With a grim weather forecast, Brooke sent out positive vibes across the universe and came up with a perfect day for this extremely tough ride, challenging the century riders with 9,714′ feet of climbing and the ULTRA’s with 12,835′!
Saturday’s first BIKEXPO was a great success and we predict huge growth in the coming years. TREK’s Timothy Wakefield joined the ABCS/Glassner Autumn Challenge booth to display our 2017 Grand Prize, the TREK Emonda ALR5. Folks were also able to check out the YETI cooler provided by State Farm’s Thomas Waters and enjoy an ice cold Aquafina water by Buffalo Rock plus purchase Glassner and ABCS Primal Wear jersey gear. And when the “deluge” began, we sure appreciated the canopies provided by Academy Sports!
The Pre-Ride Party with live music and buffet by Classic on Noble was great fun and the huge tent saved us! One of the awards presented by Director Brooke Nelson was The Spirit of a Champion Award and is a way to recognize a cyclist who inspires us by cycling despite physical limitations and/or illness. This year’s award went to Brian Smith!
With 838 registered cyclists, 550 were signed up for the 100-mile Challenge & ULTRA! The Saturday night rains subsided just in time for the 7:30 roll out of the ULTRA’s on Sunday morning and pretty much left everyone alone throughout the day.
By 8:00, all waves including the Chief Ladiga Cruisers had begun their ride of choice, including ABCS Support Staff Kathy Thornton, Marsha Burt, & Sarah Churchman.
Meanwhile, at JSU Headquarters, preparation had already begun for the cyclists’ return with live music and a fantastic lunch layout by Cooter’s Rib Shack. This event truly had the feeling of a Gran Fondo!
With impressive finish times, Brendan Housler (4:24) and Kat Sweatt (4:57) were the first male and female Century finishers.
First male ULTRA finisher was David Winston (6:03) with Judah Sencenbaugh (7:30) as the first female.
As always, both ULTRA and Century finishers are listed to the right on this page. If you have any corrections, please let us know: email@example.com
Special shout outs go to ALL cyclists who pedaled the 155 miles to support Smile-a-Mile on Saturday and to these Awesome Eight who managed a Cheaha Century or ULTRA on Sunday!
We were very proud to award 14 cyclists with their 4th 2017 Centurion medal and patch!
Congrats to Don Mroczko, winner of the Four Corners Gallery unique and personal framed remembrance he will soon receive with his photo and a Cheaha Challenge finisher’s medal.
A HUGE THANK YOU goes out to the many volunteers who helped over the weekend!! Billy Ritch, you are always there when needed! Tracey White, Marsha Burt, Terrie Hinton…we are big into photos here with the Series and couldn’t recognize everyone the way we do without you! Amy White, Kathy Thornton, Sarah Churchman, Kathy & Althea Yburan…absolutely top notch organization in checking in hundreds of people, awarding medals, patches, ULTRA shirts, Cheaha caps and so much more. YOU ALL ROCK!!!
HIGH FIVES to Robert & Bonnie Traphan who do so much behind-the-scene work in making our sign-in process go so smoothly and for riding the only tandem in the Cheaha Challenge!
We have posted hundreds of photos on our BamaBackroads Facebook Photo page and will be adding to this page too!
PHOTOS OF THE WEEK
HOW IT FEELS TO FINISH THE CHEAHA CHALLENGE ULTRA!
PRE- AND POST-RIDE PHOTOS BY TRACEY WHITE:
ON-ROAD PHOTOS BY TRACEY WHITE
AWARD PHOTOS BY MARSHA BURT:
AWARD PHOTOS BY TERRI HINTON:
RSVP to the Cheaha Challenge Ride with GPS event to enable premium features such as spoken turn-by-turn directions and offline download capabilities.
Comments about the 2015 Cheaha Challenge: