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One Month to Go-- Cyclists Prepare for More Climbing at Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo

03/18/2014

Event organizers have announced the new course details for the 22nd Annual Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo sponsored by Wells Fargo Advisors, which will continue as “The Toughest Ride in the South” on Sunday, April 6. With one month to go, hundreds of registrations have been confirmed for the one-day cycling event, with five ride options for all levels of cyclists – 23, 44, 62, 84 and 104 miles.
The Southern Bicycle League (SBL) and the Northeast Alabama Bicycle Association (NEABA) have partnered to produce the 2014 Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo, sponsored by Wells Fargo Advisors. Jacksonville, Ala. and Jacksonville State University will host the new start/finish for the event on the university campus. Named after the scenic Cheaha State Park, the two longest cycling routes will roll north and traverse through the park. All riders will get to experience the new climb over Whites Gap at the beginning and end of the ride.
 
The ride is scheduled to begin April 6 at the Pete Mathews Coliseum with a mass start for all cyclists at 7:30 a.m. Until March 31, registration will be $45 per person for SBL members and $55 for non-SBL members. From April 1 to April 6, registration will increase by $5 per rider. Online registration is available at the event website, www.cheahachallenge.com. Included in the registration fee are a light breakfast before the ride, fully-equipped rest stops, deluxe post-ride meal, and 100% cotton, commemorative t-shirt. New this year, participants will be permitted to park recreational vehicles  near the start line at the coliseum. Showers and rest room facilities will be accessible at the coliseum for overnight guests, as well as after the event for participants. For more details on camping, contact Cheaha Challenge Ride Director Tony Myers at tony.myers@bikesbl.org.
bamamapThe Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo is the largest bicycle century ride in Alabama and is part of the Alabama Backroads Century Series. This series promotes the growth and development of long-distance cycling in the state by encouraging participation in established century (100-mile) rides. A "Centurion Finisher's Medal" will be awarded to each finisher of the 104-mile route, which boasts a total of 10,263 feet of elevation gain.
 All riders will be provided timing chips to record their times.  For those riding the 84-mile and 104-mile cycling routes, there will be an exclusive time recorded on the famous three-mile climb at Cheaha State Park. Award jerseys will be given to the fastest male and female cyclists on the Cheaha climb, designated King of the Mountain and Queen of the Mountain.
Myers is pleased to have the ride hosted by the “friendliest campus in the South.”  Myers expects more than 700 cyclists to participate in the Cheaha Challenge this year. Last year several hundred riders came from more than 25 states.  “The Cheaha Challenge is for everyone,” Myers added. “With the different route options, people of all ages and skill levels can enjoy a memorable day of cycling.”
Participants are encouraged to arrive on Saturday to enjoy the Noble Street Festival and Sunny King Criterium in nearby Anniston. This annual event features amateur and pro bicycle races, live music, and activities for the entire family, including a Kids Zone.  Cheaha Challenge riders can take advantage of the Taste of Noble restaurant tour on Saturday evening to get a good meal before Sunday’s rides.
Known for its tremendous community support, the Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo benefits the Chief Ladiga Trail, Alabama's longest rail trail and has donated more than $22,000 to this wonderful project so far. Visit www.cheahachallenge.com to learn more about how you can enjoy the excitement and spirit that comes with the toughest ride in the South. For more information about the city of Jacksonville and Jacksonville State University visit www.jacksonville-al.org and www.jsu.edu.
courseAbout SBL
Through fun, fitness and friendship, the Southern Bicycle League’s mission is to link the bicycle community together and inspire more people to ride bicycles more often. The purpose of our mission is to facilitate the building of bicycle friendly communities and greater health and fitness through bicycling. We achieve our goals and objectives with our members, our SBL Chapters, SBL Affiliations, bikeSBL.org website, SBL E-Newsletter, Southern Bicycle League Magazine, SBL Ride Calendar and many fun events, including the Cheaha Challenge Gran Fondo, Wilson 100 and the Covington Century Ride.
 
About NEABA
The Northeast Alabama Bicycle Association (NEABA) exists to promote safe road and mountain biking. We strive to promote the healthy benefits of cycling by planning and sponsoring quality cycling-related events, and by encouraging both recreational cycling and cycling as a viable means of transportation. Events include Cheaha Century Gran Fondo, Sunny King Criterium, Noble Street Festival, and Foothills Road Race. Visit the web site for more information, www.neaba.net.
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