Meet Rebecca Fahringer
After several years of racing for the Amy D. Foundation, Rebecca Fahringer joined the Stan’s NoTubes pb Maxxis Team for the 2017-2018 cyclocross season as both a rider and team manager. The 28-year-old pro lives in Concord, New Hampshire and races among the elites in both the U.S. and Europe.
Stan’s NoTubes: What’s it been like to switch teams?
Rebecca Fahringer: The transition was a natural progression. Last year, the Stan’s NoTubes ‘Cross Team was a shelter for the Amy D. Foundation which means that they were supporting me as an Amy D. Foundation rider onsite at races. When the previous Stan’s team manager stepped back after last season, Stan’s needed a new one. I got to step up from a development team to the pro level, and NoTubes continues to support this year’s Amy D. Foundation riders.
NT: How has your new double role as team manager and racer change things?
RF: What is different and interesting is the need to not just plan my schedule selfishly but to plan it so that I can accommodate the other riders on the team. I have to think about what races are best for all of us to attend and not just what’s best for me. I have to think big picture.
NT: How has your season been going so far this year?
RF: I’ve been calling it a year of learning. It’s been strong, but my results haven’t progressed from years past. Taking on team management and the mental stress of taking care of other riders’ needs and sponsorship requirements while juggling the minutia that matters at this elite level of racing are hard.
NT: How do you juggle it all?
RF: The trick is to write everything down. Also, every time I work with someone - a rider, sponsor or fellow manager, the first thing I say is that I’m a fan of open communication. Tell me what’s going well and what isn’t. I think we’ve all had an experience where something’s gone wrong and no one was honest in talking about it and everything went downhill.
NT: Do you race any other disciplines?
RF: I’m mostly focused on ‘cross, but I’ve raced road at the local level, and I did the pro national road race. I’d race more road in the future at a higher level if I got the opportunity.
I also want to do more local mountain bike races. I’m starting to enjoy mountain bike racing more although I don’t know if I could ever race at the level that I’d like to in it. Mountain bike racing is a great skill builder.
NT: What Stan’s NoTubes wheels are you riding?
RF: I race and train for ‘cross on the carbon Valors. I also have Grails and will ride those if I’m going on a road ride since I usually keep road tires on them.
NT: What do you like about your wheels?
RF: My Valors are responsive, and I like how they feel and are super light. My Grails are bombproof. But what I love about all of Stan’s wheels is that I can trust the bead. You have to be able to trust that your wheel is going to hold the tire on. I wouldn’t ride any other wheels because Stan’s wheels are so tried, trued and tested. Pun intended.
I’ve sure been through a few things riding on my Valors, and I’ve never broken anything. I think some people would cry to see what I put those carbon wheels through.
NT: How often do you check your NoTubes sealant?
RF: Well to be honest, I don’t, but my mechanic does. For ‘cross, I have two wheelsets and two bikes. I have a third wheelset for the pits. I might change tires two, three, four times in a weekend depending on what I want to test ride and the course and the weather and how conditions are changing. When you swap your tires so often, you don’t really have to check your sealant because you’re always putting fresh, new sealant in with every tire install. It’s awfully nice to be sponsored by the company that makes your sealant.
NT: What’s left to go in your season?
RF: I've had a few weeks off, then it's onto the last half of the U.S. Cup Sho-Air series including Cincy Louisville and the Continental Championships. There is also a UCI category C2 race in Northampton, and after that, I’ll do the World Cups in Denmark and Germany in November.
In between those World Cups and U.S. Nationals, I don’t know what my domestic season will be like, but I want to come into Nationals in January fresh. After Nationals, I will go to Europe to do the last few World Cups in Europe. Then, no matter whether or not I make the Worlds team, I will finish out the season with some races in Belgium.
NT: Speaking of U.S. Nationals, how do you feel about USA Cycling shifting them back to December from January?
RF: I like the idea and voted for it. It’ll be better for the Masters since we combine our Pro and Masters Nationals. The change should also help all of us pros with international aspirations. U.S. racing is pretty much done in December, and it’s been hard to keep training for Worlds when there are no races. There is the huge block of races over Christmas in Belgium, and when Nationals are after those in January, it's hard to come into Nationals and not be too tired.
NT: What’s your favorite ‘cross event of the year?
RF: That’s harder question to answer with each year. I have my own reasons to like any given event. For example, I like the Cincinnati race at Devou Park - it was the Continental Championship race in previous years. The course is fun, and I’m from Dayton which is not far away in Ohio.
Last year, I liked the Valkenburg course in the Netherlands. It will be the world championship course this year. When I crossed the line last year, I knew I couldn’t wait to come back and crush the course this year.
NT: How do you see ‘cross changing over time?
RF: I don’t know if it is due to change in the sport or just my perception of it, but I feel like it’s getting more serious. Maybe that’s because when I started, I wasn’t as serious.
I’m trying to take a bigger part in the fight for women’s equality in the sport. The Trek World Cup this fall was the first time they paid women equally. But it’s not just about the prize money. It’s also things like equal parking rights. In Europe for example, the women are put behind the junior men.
When I can preview the course before my race is also an issue. Some races have finally started to add a second preview window so that women can actually pre-ride for two laps in a row. It’s the little things like that which make you feel like you are as important as the men.
NT: What advice do you have for riders getting into ‘cross and/or trying to take it to the next level?
RF: It’s the same whether you’re getting into it or stepping it up: Never take anything too seriously! I laughed multiple times during a recent race in Charm City. I was relaxed, and it was fun. If it’s too stressful, it’s not worth it. If you’re not laughing, you’ll crash and get frustrated and get into a terrible cycle.
NT: What do you like to do when you’re not riding, training or racing?
RF: When I get to that moment in my life, I’ll tell you!
Back when I had a job, I was always working on catching up on housework and traveling and racing. Now, I’m looking forward to finding out what else there is.