Interview with Rebecca Fahringer, only female finisher, ever

There's no discounting how hard IRR is, no matter who you are, or if you've ridden in world championships or not.

In the history of IRR we have only had one woman complete the entire route, so we thought we would track her down and get her take on the whole thing. Rebecca Fahringer everyone...



1) Rumor has that you're the only female finisher of IRR, ever? If True, do you think you could beat Rebecca Rusch in an arm wrestling match?

Technically that is true. And I think there is a finesse to arm wrestling that does not translate from the brute force method I used to finish IRR, so I doubt I could even contend.  


2) You made it through last year, what bike/set-up were you riding since it clearly seemed to work?

Last year I ran a Raleigh RXC cross bike with some Stan's NoTubes Carbon Valor wheels and IRC tubeless mid-tread Serac tires. NO TUBES MEANS NO FLATS.  


3) Did you make an special modifications for the ride?

I wore a camelback, which leaked through the mouthpiece all over me, so I had to knot the drinking tube. Thank god I preserved that water from that leak, because I needed it!! But I learned, it is better to go thirsty than be the loser with a leaky camelback all knotted up. 


4) I think there's a picture of you mid-ride with a camelbak on, anything in there besides water? A compass? Emergency shelter? Cash to bribe a farmer for a ride?

Oh Shit, I already kind of addressed this! FUN FACT. I forgot my wallet so I had no money or cards to buy any provisions along the route, AND when I helped someone fix a flat I left my saddle bag unzipped and LOST MY MULTI-TOOL! IN ADDITION, my attempt at uploading the route to my Garmin FAILED and in the first 5 miles I lost my cue sheet out of my packet. I was literally the least prepared person out there. So really, I finished only because that group I ended up riding with was my only lifeline to anything.


5) Favorite and least favorite part about the ride?

My favorite part was thinking I was going to die. My leave favorite part was thinking I was going to die. 


6) History shows that there is only one single individual in the history of ever that has completed the route more than once, do you think you can do it again?

Is it the same route? I am navigationaly challenged, I feel I need to practice following Garmin cues and cue sheets and learning to find North from where the sun is in the sky at high noon. 


7) Some reports say that this year you will have to ride a cow through a pasture to make it to the finish line, do you have cow riding experience?

FUN FACT I TOTALLY DO! I think I have experience riding all farm animals except for chickens, which I have only chased with mild success. The cow was more of a calf, and the ride was more of an one on side and off the other, but I could make this tactic work. 


8) The exact figures of the cash payout for finishing IRR have never been disclosed, can you shine any light on this secret?

Well, when it was all said and done, I had a ruined camelbak, lost multi tool, lost cell phone, got none of the advertised donuts (and I think we all know how much I prize donuts) and I still came out ahead.  


9) How excited were you for the ice cream truck stop half way through? 

I am pretty sure that any event without a dedicated ice-cream stop is not worth going to. An obvious necessity to provide.


Photo: Carl Ring

Photo: Carl Ring