Choosing the North American Rider of the Year was a very tough decision. When we first wrote down names, we came up with six riders. This included three men and three women. The first two riders that jump out are Kerry Werner and Curtis White. Those two riders dominated the North American scene from start to finish. Then there’s the two US National Champions, Gage Hecht and Clara Honsinger. Hecht rode nearly wore-to-wire and Honsinger ended Katie Compton’s infamous streak. We also looked at Maghalie Rochette, who had an amazing season in North America and put up some good results in Europe. When all was said and done, one rider kept moving up on our list: Rebecca Fahringer.
Besides great results, Fahringer and her teammate, Werner, were the only two North American riders to race a truly full season. Both riders began their season in August with Virginia’s Blue Ridge GO Cross and ended their season in February with Vestingcross Hulst. The Kona riders have found a sweet spot in their schedule where they race a full domestic season and then after Nationals, in mid-December, they head to Europe and race until the season ends in February. It makes for an incredibly long season, but the long stretches in Europe are clearly paying off for both riders.
North American season
Fahringer started her season off with the first North American UCI weekend in Virginia. Under hot, dry conditions, she won on Saturday and was second on Sunday. In hindsight, Fahringer was putting the North American women on notice. She then headed to Rochester for the first C1 of the year, finishing fourth. She would back that up with a second in Sunday’s C2 race. From there, she undoubtedly was the woman to beat in North America.
She racked up ten wins and had another five podium finishes on North American soul. While she was overshadowed by other North American riders, she finished inside the top-ten at the first two rounds of the World Cup. Outside of that her “worst” result was a seventh place finish on day one of Cincy CX. While Fahringer did not walk away with an Elite jersey – she was third at Pan-Am and second at Nationals – she was incredibly consistent and always in the lead group.
One final factor that made her our Rider of the Year was her improvement from what was a good 2018/19 season. She had one victory in 2018 and eight other podium finishes. She was also outside the top-20 at the first two rounds of the World Cup. Needless to say, she moved from an outside podium contender to a bonafide contender for the win.
Following the same schedule as last season, Fahringer headed to Europe for the Kerstperiode immediately following the US National Championships. Unlike most riders who end their season after Worlds, Fahringer stayed until the penultimate weekend of the season in February.
She started off her European trip with an eighth place at Namur, where conditions were absolutely brutal. Not to mention the course changes that basically made it a death march. She slipped a little bit a Zolder before bouncing back with another top-ten finish at Anzencross. The rest of her European campaign was solid. She had two podium appearances and another two top-ten finishes.
The only down part of her season unfortunately came at the World Championships. Despite finishing 13th, it was clear that she was capable of much more. She was sick heading into Worlds and we had her pegged as a top-ten and possible top-five finisher. With that said, it was still a great performance and part of a solid European campaign.
- 1st Overall Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross Series
- 2nd US National Championships
- 3rd Pan-American Championships
- 10 Wins
- 17 Podium appearances
- 3 World Cup top-ten finishes
- 4 UCI weekend sweeps (Charm City Cross, DCCX, Supercross, NBX GP of Cross)
- Winner of the Kona team competition (sorry Kerry)