16 Feb Motivational Monday with Rebecca Fahringer
Motivational Monday is an on going series highlighting stories of women like you and me.
Rebecca Fahringer is a 25 year-old cyclocross racer for the Jam Fund.
A little about myself
I am actually having an identity crisis. I am an unemployed, ex-student cyclocross racer. I started doing collegiate triathlon in 2010, and that is when I bought my first bike. I didn’t start cycling consistently until meeting some cyclists in grad school in 2012.
What initially motivated you to race bikes?
I was riding recreationally with the Brown Cycling Team and the Providence Velo Club. After promising me I wouldn’t make a fool of myself, they convinced me to try the race promoted by Brown and the Rhode Island School of Design.
What were (if any) your concerns/fears with bike racing?
I didn’t know much about it, so my first concern was having no idea what to do. I wasn’t even sure what to wear. I was also afraid of crashes, and I still am.
When did you start racing?
I started racing road in spring of 2013, and tried cyclocross that fall. I am addicted to cyclocross!
What went through your mind during your first race?
“Why are we going so slow?” “Why didn’t I dress warmer?” “How long until we are done?” I was so confused I didn’t even know when we had crossed the finish line.
Who/what influenced you the most when you started? Why?
My support network in the Brown/RISD cycling teams, and the local riders in the Providence Velo Club. They helped me decide what to race. They were the people I rode with, and they really helped me discover myself.
How has bike racing influenced your life?
I quit grad school to race my bike. Okay, so I wasn’t in LOVE with grad school to begin with; bikes just gave me a great excuse to try something new.
What are your race-related goals?
I am not sure what I want to do with road, but I want to be the best I can be at cyclocross. After every race I find myself looking forward to the next one, and hopefully correcting the mistakes I made.
What are the biggest struggles we face as female racers, and how do you think we can promote women’s cycling to beginners?
Low entry numbers lead to noncompetitive fields. Many races don’t offer a wide variety of women’s fields because of low registration. This leaves a lot of us feeling shorted. Unequal payouts. On the elite level, it’s tough to find a team to take you on as a professional bike racer without having a part-time job. Frankly, I think most of the problems women face starting out in the sport are the same problems men face. I think cycling is an intimidating sport to just go out and try, and you need a bike to actually ride bikes! There are already a lot of men in the sport, and most group rides I see are male-dominated. I am not for women’s specific rides, but I know firsthand the intimidation of riding with a group of men, especially when you are younger and new to the sport. I was so lucky to have a group of very supportive men to ride with, and they were always willing to hang back so I didn’t get dropped.
We must also continue to support and promote junior cycling!
How do we get more women into racing? I think we need to promote women’s involvement at the club level. We need to provide support networks and clubs should be willing to answer questions to foster growth and motivation. That exactly what got me into racing.
You can learn more about Rebecca at www.gofahr.com. Photo provided by Rebecca!