This is a preview of the British Gravel Championships – you can click here for a full report on how Alistair Brownlee and Ruth Astle both claimed titles on Sunday.
Two-time Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee will continue his off-road bike adventures on Sunday when he competes in the British Gravel Championships.
Brownlee, on his way back to elite competition after ankle surgery during the summer, recently competed in Spain’s iconic Badlands race, a 748km test with 15km of climbing through mountains and deserts.
Alistair finished seventh there after 57 hours and 20 minutes of feeling just about every emotion known to man. Afterwards he admitted: “At times I didn’t want to be anywhere else; the scenery is stunning and the body felt great. At other times the combination of mental fatigue, lack of food and water, and technical problems provided me with, what felt like, enormous challenges.”
Brownlee on gravel again
Sunday’s Gravel Race for the British Championship at the King’s Cup Gravel Festival is unlikely to be quite so testing for the Yorkshireman, with Alistair lined up to compete in the 19-34 Age Group range for Men.
The race distance is a total of 78km over three laps of the circuit – which includes hard-packed gravel, loose chipping gravel, grass, dirt and sand. The track is 100 percent off-road around King’s Forest near Bury St Edmunds.
Brownlee had spent the first half of the year desperately trying to get himself fit to make Team Great Britain for the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The dream of bidding for a ‘threepeat’ in the Japanese capital was eventually scuppered after his ankle problems again plagued him at the Leeds WTCS race in June.
Now, following surgery during the summer, he is looking ahead to a long-distance career and is part of the much-publicised SUB 7 SUB 8 initiative planned for 2022.
With the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona cancelled until February 2022 at the earliest, Brownlee has more time to prepare for his return to elite triathlon action.