“And there I was, Alistair Brownlee, in the middle of the desert, trying to repair my seventh or eighth puncture”.
This was not the normal day for an elite triathlete more used to competing in short-course events with Olympic gold medals on the line. Instead Brownlee was in the midst of one of his greatest ever challenges – Spain’s iconic Badlands gravel race.
Brownlee Badlands video
Now, his 57-hour journey through 750km of rugged Spanish terrain has been captured for ever in a short video, and it is available to view (just click on the embed below).
The terrific footage shows Brownlee recount how he went through all the emotions back in September – the sleepless exhaustion, the frustration (punctures) and the joy of cycling alone through the night. One moment, indeed a full night, stood out.
“It had been about 40 hours since I set off, and a whole night of non-stop cycling awaited me. As strange as it might sound, these were some of my favourite hours of the race.
“There’s something special about cycling at night in a place like this – there’s the solitude, the silence, me and my bike under the stars. My thoughts and nothing else.”
When Brownlee finally completed his marathon journey, he was clearly in awe of the challenge and the experience it had provided. He has already talked of taking on more races like this, and his Badlands verdict was honest and reflective.
“The mental fatigue, combined with the technical difficulties, were very challenging. On reflection, I think there are highs and lows in any ultra cycling event. That can’t be any more true of Badlands.”