A big change in the evolution of our team started this past season in Rochester, NY when we decided we would close each weekend of racing with an F1 style debriefing. An opportunity to air concerns, give kudos, offer suggestions and just get better as a team.
As Brannan Fix truly “graduates ” our program we sat down for one final interview in the hopes that it helps other young athletes, our team and Brannan himself reflect on what it takes to improve as an athlete and a young adult.
US National Championships 2019 – Photo: Bruce Buckley
Adam at Alpha: It’s been a hell of a ride man. What is your favorite memory of your time on the team?
Brannan: When you spend 5 years with a program, its very very hard to pinpoint a favorite memory. Driving across the country with a van full of kids and Adam at the helm the first year of the program was something I’ll never forget and super formative for the experience the next four years. But boiling it down to a favorite memory is too hard for me since I’ve spent nearly 1/4 of my life with the program, so I’ll take the easy way out and pinpoint the 2018/19 season as my favorite memory on the team. It was a year not without its difficulties but everything was just clicking and the team won something like 13 UCI races, not that its about the winning but it certainly made swallowing the difficult parts easier. I really grew a lot that year and being the underdog team was just the most fun experience.
Ontario, CA 2018 – Photo: Bo Bickerstaff
Alpha: Ha! All that time in the van was something else. What would you say your “breakout” performance was?
BF: I continue to think about the race in had in Rochester 2018, both days were fabulous for me and I wouldn’t say that it was “breakout” but it was incredibly confirming in both a short term and long term way. For the short term it meant that I was in shape for an incredible season ahead, and in the long term I proved to myself that it doesn’t matter what the course is, that I can be competitive regardless of the conditions. I stopped doubting myself for that time period and I will always carry that feeling, and now know what it takes for me to get to that point physically and mentally.
UCI Cyclocross World Championships 2018 – Photo: Bill Schieken
Alpha: What’s your biggest takeaway in your time with Alpha Bicycle Co. – Groove Subaru CX?
BF: Anyone that has watched this program grow over the past 5 years has noticed a difference in the professionalism, equipment, and staff that we bring to every race. But having more infrastructure hasn’t been the biggest takeaway in terms of what I will carry with me into the future. My biggest takeaway happened this last season, when after nearly every race, starting with Rochester, we would sit down as a team and discuss what we could do even incrementally better, or something we could try, and have a discussion about that. Having those sometimes difficult conversations and taking the opportunities to reflect and synthesize what happened during the weekend is really what improvement is about.
Alpha: For sure. Dialed equipment makes our jobs easier, but there is so much more that goes in to development. What do you think young riders need the most in order to grow and succeed?
BF: It would be really easy to say that young riders need only equipment and personal motivation to succeed, but that doesn’t help anyone grow, and only a select few are in that vein of rider. The more I reflect on this question, the more I realize that it isn’t just those two pieces of the puzzle that a young rider needs, what really helped me grow and what I think young riders need is someone who they can discuss with, disagree with, and bounce ideas off of, without any animosity. Being able to develop your own opinions and discuss them with people who have a different thought process allows growth and I think longer term development. In short, young riders need people who help make them think, not just people who tell them yes or no.
World Cup Iowa City, IA – Photo: Bill Schieken
Alpha: If you could change one thing about your time with the team what would is be?
BF: Of course there are always small things like nutrition, organizational aspects, etc, that can always be improved, but those are small and remedied through practice and conversation. The largest thing that has changed since I joined the program, and that I would suggest for any program looking to grow and be at this level, is to find a trusted person like we have had in Jake Wells to be a part of the team. Through his intimate knowledge of racing, coaching, and nutrition he has been yet another part of that team that you can bounce ideas off of, and is an incredible asset to the young riders in the program. If Jake wasn’t already involved at such a high level, it would be the single biggest change and advantage to the program.
Alpha: Yeah, having someone with Jake’s experience and knowledge has been huge. We definitely should have done that from the beginning. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
BF: My time on the team has been frankly incredible. I’ve learned more than can be truly put into a single interview, I’ve made some of my best friends on the team, and I learned about myself, my beliefs, my strengths, my weaknesses, and how to make lasting connections that aren’t focused on surface level things like product and results. Working with Adam has been an incredible experience and I want to thank everyone, the various amazing staff over the years, the sponsors who have believed in the vision of the program, my teammates and the bonds I’ve created with them, and supporters of the program who have been a part of my journey every step of the way on Alpha. This team is my family and I am forever grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given through this amazing program.
Thank You, Brannan. You have been a huge part of what makes this team something special. Thanks for your professionalism, all the hard work and belief in what we do. We know you’ll continue to be successful and can’t wait to see what you do in the future. Cheers to family.