The Cherohala Challenge has been the annual signature event of the Smoky Mountain Wheelmen Bike Club for nearly 20 years. So it is not an easy decision, but the executive committee officers voted to cancel the Challenge for 2021.
There are too many unknowns at this point. The concerns for being able to provide participants and staff with a sanitary environment at the staging area and rest stops could possibly prove to be a daunting task with no easy solutions.
The safety of the riders and staff has always been at the forefront of the decisions we make as a club. Without any clear path to assure the level of safety and access to the facilities required for the event, we had no choice but to cancel the Challenge this year.
The executive committee felt it better to make this decision now after considering the uncertainties in the rollout of the vaccines and infection rates projections. With the ride drawing cyclists from a dozen plus states, the Wheelmen wanted to be respectful of our participant’s investment of training and preparation for the Cherohala Challenge.
This is the second year the Wheelmen officers had to debate the health and financial risks of organizing the Challenge. With the current situation being no better than 2020 it was the most prudent decision to cancel again for 2021.
However the club is optimistic the ride will resume in 2022, and the executive committee is already making plans to make the 20th version special after a two year hiatus.
The date for the next Cherohala Challenge is June 25, 2022.
We will be providing regular updates as we finalize our plans. Please mark your calendars now, we look forward to seeing you in 2022!