Fahringer Gets Revenge on Muddy Day Two at Supercross Cup, White Picks Up Sixth Vittoria Series Win

Extremely muddy conditions from snowmelt were on hand for a second day of racing at Rockland County Supercross Cup. It was race number six for the 2018 Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross Series presented by Clif Bar and Cycle-Smart at Rockland Community College, located in the southernmost county of the Empire State  on the west side of the Hudson River. Racers competed for the coveted Verge leader’s jerseys in the Vittoria Series, as well as for UCI Category 2 points in USA Cycling’s Pro Cyclocross Calendar (ProCX).

Rebecca Fahringer (Kona Maxxis Shimano) charged away from the elite women’s field of 23 riders to claim her first UCI win of the 2018 season. Curtis White (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) went two-for-two for weekend in the elite men’s competition and won his sixth consecutive Vittoria Series victory of the season.

There are two races remaining in the Series, taking place Dec. 1-2 at NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross in Warwick, R.I.. The Vittoria Series follows four weekends of competition on classic cyclocross courses in the Northeast, and is the longest standing UCI cyclocross series in the United States.

After a heartbreaking runner-up finish on day one of Supercross Cup, Fahringer called her shot for day two. “So the second place for Rebecca Fahringer still stands as my intro,but it’s ‘on’ tomorrow,” she predicted on Saturday about the final event.

“Coming into today, I think everyone was a bit like, ‘oh crap, we’re out here doing this again,’” said Fahringer with a laugh. “It was pretty chilly, the mud was thicker, there was more running. My heart wasn’t in it, but as soon as the gun goes off, that’s when you start to really find it (gunning for the win). I wasn’t quite sure after a bad start if it was going to happen for me. I just kept trudging through.”

Fahringer would make her winning move on the second lap of the five-lap race. “I passed Ruby, and she was breathing pretty hard,” noted Fahringer about getting a 15-second advantage on that lap. “And I said, ‘this is going to be my day.’ And I just tried to ride smooth and hope that she didn’t charge forward like she did yesterday.”

Fahringer won in a time of 50 minutes, 4 seconds. She would gain time each lap on Ruby West (Specialized - Tenspeed Hero), who would finish more than 4 minutes back for second place., Fahringer will continue her season at NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross, the finale of the Vittoria Series and a C1/C2 weekend, after Thanksgiving. She will then compete at USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships in Louisville, K.Y., which will be held Dec. 11-16, 2018..

West, who won the Saturday race for elite women, felt the fatigue of her winning effort today. “The course was run backwards today. I think there was a little more running. The mud was thicker today. Yesterday was like big puddles of water, and thin mud. Today was just thick mud, and with running, your legs were getting  heavy. I think the wear from yesterday had accumulated.”

West started quickly, leading the race from the start. “I think I was eager after yesterday to kind of get a better first lap, try to pick my own lines and do my own thing first lap. So I tried to get out front and not really worry about what other people were doing. That worked for the first lap. I think Rebecca (Fahringer) and I got a bit of a gap. I had a bit of a gap on her at one point, but I wasn’t attacking to get away. I was just kind of trying to do my own thing.”

When Fahringer put the pressure on two laps into the race, West simply could not respond. “I think she literally just went around me and rode away. I had less than nothing to offer today! So, my legs were totally empty from yesterday. I just did as much as I could, but Rebecca was so strong, and she was gone. I was focused on trying to stay upright and move forward as fast as possible, even though that wasn’t very fast. I did what I could. I am happy with second today. It’s been a good weekend.”

Supercross Cup would prove to be a breakout ride for Jane Rossi (Rhode Island School of Design), who would race to her first UCI podium. She finished 4 minutes, 58 seconds off the winning pace for third. Canadian Magdeleine Vallieres (Quebecor-Stingray), who was third on Saturday, was fourth on Sunday.

“It’s been a learning curve this season, learning how to do starts. I’m still trying to figure it out,” said Rossi, from Newburyport, Mass. “So every first lap has been a struggle. It was a lot of fighting to get back today. You can make up a lot of spots with just one short maneuver. The last couple of laps it was just staying really smooth and trying not to make any mistakes and no mechanicals. So, that was huge.”

While 15 of the 26 women completed all five laps, the elite men’s contest saw more attrition due to the slick, mucky conditions. Just six riders of the 23-person field completed the eight laps on Sunday. A lead group would unfold in a similar fashion to the first day, with White and Kerry Werner (Kona Maxxis Shimano) at the front.

“It was a lot of running today,” said White, who wore a mud-splattered Vittoria Series leader’s jersey to a solo victory.  “(I was) just trying to be as smooth as you can carrying the momentum. The first couple of laps I just tried to see what guys like Kerry (Werner) and Cooper Willsey were doing, learn from their lines. Then I just gave it the diesel and gaps started opening up pretty steadily after that. I just trying to rail every section, focus on exit speed, make sure the running was on point.

“I got a flat tire late in the race, but it didn’t really affect things. It actually felt like I was hooking up better on the off camber, less (tire) pressure. It worked out very well.”

White spent 1 hour, 5 minutes, 43 seconds in the mud to earn another win. After his undefeated Vittoria Series stretch, White will look to lock up the leader’s jersey at NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross and continue on to Nationals. “Things are still on the ups, so I’ll be training over Thanksgiving. I won’t be eating too much turkey, just getting the work in and Stars-and-Stripes is the goal.”

Werner, who would finish second to White just as he had in 2017. Sunday he would finish 2 minutes, 35 seconds back, having spent a large part of the day running the course because of the thick mud.. “I would say if yesterday was a swim meet, today was the Supercross Cup tough mudder. Man, I don’t know what percentage of the course was running today, but it had to be over half.”

Werner was side by side with White in early laps. It was not until the third lap on the course that White created separation and began opening a gap to Werner. “I was able to keep up, maybe the first three laps or so. But then Curtis (White) was just beating me, hard on the running sections. It was all I could do. It was tough conditions out there.”

With some solid training of his running skills, Werner looks forward to a solid performance at NBX in Warwick, R.I. in two weeks, which features its long, iconic, beach run. “I took a good five days off after Pan-Am champs, did some training coming into this race, so I knew my legs were going to be a little shot. And with the running, that didn’t help either. So, this was good training. Rest up and then hit those last three weeks and just really hammer down.”

For the second day in a row, Merwin Davis (Cycle-Smart) finished third, 4 minutes, 18 seconds behind White. He would hold off Sam Noel (UVM Cycling / Cannondale Cyclocross) in the middle laps to maintain his hold on third place. Noel, the U23 leader for men in the Vittoria Series, would finish fourth.

“I approached both days kind of the same - go out strong, hang with Curtis (White) and Kerry (Werner) as long as I could. And then from there just settle in, minimize my mistakes and try to keep Sam (Noel) and Cooper (Willsey) at bay,” exclaimed Davis.

“I had one mechanical, dropped my chain and slid out in one turn the following lap. So that is when he (Noel) probably got the closest to me. Then I knew I had to put a couple of digs in. I chose to do it on the running hill. It seemed to work. I finally broke him, or broke his spirit. I seemed to be opening up a gap a little bit each lap in the woods. That was actually because I was running a portion of it. I’d ride, run, ride out of it.”

The Vittoria Series will conclude at Goddard Memorial State Park with the NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross December 1 and 2. Watch the races unfold in person or by following tweets at @VittoriaSeries. Follow on Facebook and YouTube for race weekend highlights video highlights provided by DirtWireTV.

Ruby West Claims a Muddy Victory At Supercross Cup, Curtis White Remains Undefeated at Vittoria Series

The 2018 Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross Series presented by Clif Bar and Cycle-Smart continued with race number five at the Rockland County Supercross Cup. A significant snow storm dumped more than six inches on Suffern, N.Y. prior to the weekend. Temperatures warming in the 40s created muddy conditions where many riders were forced to run much of the course at Rockland Community College. Racers competed for the coveted Verge leader’s jerseys in the Vittoria Series, as well as for UCI Category 2 points in USA Cycling’s Pro Cyclocross Calendar (ProCX).

Ruby West (Specialized - Tenspeed Hero) fought back in the final lap to take the win on day one for the elite women and Curtis White (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) won the elite men’s competition for his fifth consecutive Vittoria Series victory of the season.

Ellen Noble (Trek Factory Racing) remains in the Vittoria Series leader’s jersey in the elite women’s competition with 150 points. White extends his lead to 250 points after sweeping the first five Series races. There are three races remaining in the Series, including Sunday’s events at Supercross Cup. The Vittoria Series follows four weekends of competition on classic cyclocross courses in the Northeast, which include Gloucester, Mass., Northampton, Mass., Suffern, N.Y., and Warwick, R.I. It is the longest standing UCI cyclocross series in the United States.

In the elite women’s race, West would lead the race early from the start. She would struggle on the course on the middle laps, falling 21 seconds behind Rebecca Fahringer (Kona Maxxis Shimano). “I got the holeshot on lap one,” said West, “and then just as soon as we went into the mud I panicked. The first lap was really rough for me, I was just not riding well. I was freaked out. I dropped my chain up at the top, and Becca (Fahringer) got a gap. I was just losing my mind. Then the second lap I kind of recollected, got into a rhythm, started riding my own race and not worrying about her. As the laps went on, I got more and more comfortable with the course and was able to kind of find my own lines and make up some time with some running sections.”

The thick mud and melting puddles throughout the course provided quite a challenge for the racers. “It was just a crazy day out there,” said West. “The conditions were changing every lap. There were really no lines to follow, just everyone fighting themselves on the course more than each other.”

It wasn’t until the final lap that West was able to close the gap to Fahringer, who is currently second overall in ProCX points and seventh in the Vittoria Series standings. “I didn’t think I would close that gap, but coming into the finish here, I got right on her wheel. I was sprinting as hard as I could. Then I got on (my bike) and rode a section and she got a little ahead. But once I got my momentum back, I was able to pass her, get off, run, then it’s all a blur. That last bit was just instinct and it worked out. I’m really happy,” added West, who finished the four-lap event in 40 minutes, 17 seconds. The Canadian improved from her fifth-place finish from last year to the top step on the podium with a final push in the closing meters.

Fahringer couldn’t hold off the charging 19-year-old and would finish second, seven seconds behind West. She is already focused on day two. “I sort of knew that a smooth race would win,” said Fahringer. “I rode really smooth from the start. Maybe halfway through the first lap I ended up taking the lead. I held a pretty solid gap until the last half of the last lap. Lost the gap to Ruby (West), and she nipped me right at the line. So the second place for Rebecca Fahringer still stands as my intro, but it’s ‘on’ tomorrow!”

Magdeleine Vallieres, who finished second to West at Sherbrooke CX, would come in third, 1 minute, 27 seconds after the winner. “I was trying to catch them since the beginning (West and Fahringer),” said Vallieres, who turned 17 years old in October. “It was like this for all of the race. It was really muddy. I like riding in the mud, so it was fun.”

Of the 28 elite women who started the race, 23 finished. It was a different scenario in the elite men’s race, as the field of 28 dwindled to just eight completing the eight laps, and two riders fighting at the front. White would make the initial selection with Kerry Werner (Kona Maxxis Shimano).

“Kerry and I went back and for the first few laps,” said White. “At one point, I made a mistake and he got a gap. Then he made a mistake and I got the gap back on him. He kept me within arms reach. It seemed like 10 to 15 seconds for a while. Getting two to go, he was right there with me.”

It would come down to the final lap, where Werner’s body would fall apart in the cold and muddy conditions, unable to respond to White’s all-in effort. “With about two laps to go, I managed to kind of make contact,” said Werner, who is currently the top-ranked men’s ProCX rider. “But I spent quite a few matches and by then my appendages turned into frozen nubs. I made contact, and then I kind of just fell apart. I think the effort did me in. And the cold was starting to wear on me, so maybe I’ll dress a little bit more appropriately tomorrow. Or, maybe go harder the whole time.”

White had a 14-second advantage after five laps. It was in the final lap where White would seal the deal in 1 hour, 5 minutes, 16 seconds. Last year it was Werner who won this race and White finished second This year Werner was 1 minute, 32 seconds off he winning pace. “Just before one lap to go,” said White, “he (Werner) was pretty close and then I went all-in on that last lap. I opened the gap and sealed it for the win.”

Coming in for his first UCI podium was Merwin Davis (Cycle-Smart). “You know,” said Davis, “my number one thing today was to just try to minimize any and all mistakes. Everyone’s making mistakes on a day like today, it’s impossible not to. So just being able to minimize that to max, and went out to try to get the best start off the line that I could.”

“I saw myself right there with Curtis and Kerry on the first lap,” continued Davis. “I could tell they were both going to ride away from me eventually. But I just wanted to hang on for as long as I could. I got gapped off by them after a couple of laps. Had a pretty good gap back to Sam (Noel) and Cooper (Willsey) until I dropped my chain about the middle of the race. Sam was able to catch up to me. I could tell he had worked pretty hard to get back to me, so I just made sure to jump back in front in a couple of key spots and open up small gaps here and there. It was enough to break him, I think. I was able to ride in from there.”

Going for his first UCI podium gave Davis the extra gear necessary to overcome the muddy conditions. “This is my first podium in a UCI race, so there might have been a little bit of extra power in the legs when I realized that was happening.”

Racing will continue Sunday in Suffern, N.Y. Watch the races unfold in person or by following tweets at @VittoriaSeries. Follow on Facebook and YouTube for race weekend highlights video highlights provided by DirtWire.TV.