Despite admitting that she was intimidated by the competition, Rebecca Fahringer peeled away from the pack and rode to victory at the Gorge Gravel Grinder, coming across the line almost ten minutes ahead of second place finisher Clara Honsinger.
The nearly 100-mile-long race took place Sunday in Dufur, Oregon, which sits northeast of Mount Hood. While there was still snow on the looming mountain, a blue sky and rolling, dry gravel roads greeted riders on race day.
Even though Honsinger, the current US cyclo-cross National Champion, was the stronger 'cross rider this season, Fahringer may have an edge in longer, multi-hour gravel events.
“Racing against Clara on the World Cup Cyclocross stage this year, she clearly bested me every time," Fahringer told Bike Perfect. "Being at a regional level gravel race, of course I was still intimidated by her, but I think gravel is a bit more in my wheelhouse and where I suffer the best. I am not sure if I out-suffered her today or just wanted the win more, but it did feel good to finally get a win against her this year.”
For the race, Fahringer used a Kona Major Jake frame, which is technically a cyclo-cross frame but can clearly do the job for gravel racing too. The frame is made from carbon and paired with a carbon fork from Kona as well.
A wide range of gears was available for Fahringer to choose from, as she was running a double 46/36 crankset with an 11-32T cassette. The drivetrain used was a mix of Shimano Ultegra for the crankset, while the front and rear shifting was handled by Shimano GRX Di2. Pedals were also from Shimano, with Fahringer choosing the top-spec XTR models.
A WTB Silverado saddle provided a comfortable ride, while Maxxis Velocita tires gripped the ground. Set up tubeless, traction and puncture protection was improved by the addition of Cush Core tire inserts, which are common in mountain biking, and could become more popular in gravel and even road.
This setup was successful for Fahringer, but she will soon turn her focus on the 2021/22 cyclo-cross season.
Tech specs: Rebecca Fahringer's Kona Major Jake
- Frame: Kona Major Jake
- Rear derailleur: Shimano GRX
- Crankset: Shimano Uletegra 46/36
- Crankarm: Ultegra 170mm
- Cassette: Simano 11-32
- Pedals: Shimano XTR
- Saddle: WTB Silverado
- Wheels: Astral Outback
- Tires: Maxxis Velocita 40c with Cush Core