Mesa freshman Fix wins cyclocross national title
It was rainy, muddy, messy and perfect.
It was cyclocross weather.
Colorado Mesa’s Brannan Fix weathered the conditions and the field to win the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships in Hartford, Connecticut on Wednesday.
“It was raining all night, the race was super muddy, conditions were (cyclo)cross-like. It’s what the kids want for cross races,” CMU coach Patric Rostel said.
Fix, a CMU freshman, got off to a good start and was close to the lead as riders approached a big hill. With poor riding conditions and the steep climb, competitors hopped off their bikes and ran up the hill.
Fix emerged with the lead and then increased it the rest of the way.
The second time around the course, Rostel said Fix had a 15-20 second lead. At that time, it’s just a wait and see, and hope that Fix didn’t crash or have mechanical issues.
“You kind of know when he should be coming around, so it was a relief every time he came around,” Rostel said. “The closer you get to the finish, the more worried you are.”
Fix kept up the attack and slowly increased his lead, pulling away from a trio of Fort Lewis riders.
Fix won the race by nearly one minute in a time of 45 minutes, 32 seconds.
Fix is from Fort Collins and wasn’t recruited by Colorado Mesa. Rostel said Fix contacted the school and said he wanted to come to CMU for school and cycling.
The victory wasn’t a huge surprise to Rostel.
“He has been a really good rider for us, we kinda figured he would be in the top three and have a really good chance at winning,” Rostel said.
CMU only took three riders to the cyclocross nationals.
The Mavs’ Earl Liam finished fifth in a time of 47:01.
Ariane Horbach finished 17th in the women’s race.
The Fix victory made for another great showing for the Colorado Mesa men at the Division I level. After struggling last year in their first year at D-I, this was the third individual national champion for the Mavericks.
Back in late October, Eivind Roed won a national mountain biking title, winning the cross-country race at Snowshoe Mountain, West Virginia. The next day, Collin Hudson won a national championship in the dual slalom downhill event.
Rostel said it’s nice to once again show that CMU is a cycling contender. While racing at the Division II level, the Mavericks were a perennial power and won several individual and team national championships.
“It’s changed quite a bit from last year. We added some more firepower and things have changed,” Rostel said. “A lot of people saw what we did in mountain biking and they are not surprised anymore.”
Next up for the CMU cycling team is the BMX season with the national championships scheduled for early March in Monroe, Louisiana.
After that, Gand Junction will welcome the best collegiate road cyclists in the nation for the 2017 USA Cycling Road Nationals on April 27-30.