Statement Regarding 2020 Challenge Cancellation
It was to be another epic Cherohala Challenge, the 20th running of the Challenge in the year 2020. The ride is renowned for its difficulty with participants representing 15 + states expected to challenge their stamma each year. The ride’s reputation is known far and wide and always creates unique situations due to the unknown weather. The ride is always held in June, but a summer time date is not a guarantee of summer riding conditions.
Past rides have subjected participants to sideways rain storms, hail, fog and temperatures that had riders being wrapped in survival blankets at upper elevation rest stops. Those conditions were endured as riders neared 10,000 plus feet of vertical climb.The Cherohala Challenge has been the annual signature event of the Smoky Mountain Wheelmen Bike Club, so it is not an easy decision, but event director Tim French and the executive committee officers voted to cancel the Challenge for 2020. There are too many unknowns at this point and the concerns for being able to provide the participants with a sanitary environment at the registration area and rest stops along the route could possibly prove to be a daunting task with no easy solutions.
The safety of the riders has always been at the forefront of the decisions we make as a club when orchestrating the event and without any clear path to assure the level of safety we desire for the riders, we have no choice but to cancel the event this year. We apologize for any inconvenience the cancellations causes anyone and for the disappointment the riders will feel because of the decision, but we feel it was prudent at this time.
The ride will resume in 2021. Stay tuned for details!