Taking it all in.Brannan Fix's assault on Belgium started out very near perfect last week.  The first race of his 2 week cyclocross stint was the BPost Bank Troffe in Essen.  He started first row and finished an impressive 4th, just 5 seconds out of 3rd, and 24 seconds out of first.  Fix skipped the World Cup race in Namor this past weekend but will again toe the line at the Superprestige race in Diegem on December 28th.

Here is a brief write up from Brannan via- http://cyclingbran.blogspot.com/ 

"We begin the call-ups of Junioren now, first to the line, coming from the United States, Brannan Fix."

Standing on the start line of the BPost Bank Troffe in Essen, looking down the course, seeing, smelling, and hearing the sounds of European Cyclocross. The moment I have dreamt of for so long, was now a real moment and I was living it. The first 5 days in Belgium have been quite the ride, and I have experienced some things that I have been looking forward to for months now.

The trip began with a flawless overseas flight, and being picked up at the airport by Jan-Willem and driven to the house where I am staying for the next 2 weeks. I built up my bikes and went on a quick spin around the area to get my bearings, and that night I slept like a baby. The next day, all of the other racers showed up, built up their bikes and we had the chance to go ride together. Lance, Cameron, Cooper and I got a nice ride in, and fed some gigantic horses while out. We went to a bakery in Grobbendonk, and got delicious Applebol. The next day, Friday, it was raining very hard so we all decided to ride trainers to warm up the legs for the race the next day in Essen. After the ride on the trainers, I went into town with Ksenia and Libby to go shopping. At the carrefour we bought some food necessities and enjoyed grocery shopping in Belgium, and on the way home I got to buy bread out of a vending machine which is awesome to say the least.

Saturday morning, Cooper, Michael, Ksenia and I were all up at the crack of dawn to drive to Essen to do the first race of the trip. Once we got there we checked-in at registration which was in an elementary school of all places. Cooper, Michael and I all proceeded to get on course and check out what we were up against. The course was a true treat. The first half was a total mud bog where at one point, I was running for 1:30 straight, and then after going through pit one, the course became windy through the trees and there was a sweet section with a berm, and then it was back to mud before the finish. It was a true euro course, and I was super excited.

The gun went off and I entered into the mud in about 4th position, and battled with Belgians for the best lines around the corners. I stayed at the front of the race, and was very attentive. A few riders passed me on the running section, something I wasn't used to, and that was my weakest point. I rode with 1 other kid for a while until I upped the pace to try to catch 3rd place. I never caught 3rd place, and I rode into the finish in 4th place, 5 seconds down on 3rd place. It was beyond anything that I could have imagined, and to finish top 5 in my first ever European cyclocross race was very exciting for me.

Huge thank you to USA Cycling for helping all of us at camp achieve our dreams! As well as Dave, Niels, Peter and Kristoff for all of their support on Saturday, I'm excited to see what the next two weeks hold for me!

Until next time ---