Brownlee had just finished 35th in the World Series Triathlon event in Leeds, a far cry from the second place he had earned two years ago in his home race and the multitude of podium finishes he has garnered at the top end of his sport over the last decade.
The Olympic silver medallist was questioning where he goes from here as he struggled to pinpoint exactly what has gone wrong over the last few months.
But amid it all, the 29-year-old could still appreciate the enormity of the event.
Record numbers of people watched the elite races on Sunday while the weekend as a whole was a huge success, with a host of races for everyone ranging from amateur triathletes to juniors, to the big names of world triathlon.
If it were not for the exploits of Brownlee and his elder brother Alistair over the last decade, such an event that encompasses the majority of the city of Leeds, touches many residents and attracts huge numbers of people into West Yorkshire, would not have been possible.
Which is why, as he contemplated his own shortcomings, Brownlee understood the wider benefits.
“What’s great about the home races is when it goes well it’s an incredible experience,” said the proud Yorkshireman.
“Coming into the town centre with Alistair and myself alone in that second year was unbelievable, one of the best occasions of my sporting career.
“But two of my worst memories have now been here, unfortunately.
“But it still make me incredibly proud. It’s such a good crowd here, the best crowd we get for a World Series.
“We do put amazing events on in Yorkshire and hopefully we can continue to do so.
“If it wasn’t for that crowd I wouldn’t have got round today, so it’s a thank you to them.”
Brownlee will be as pleased as anyone that the World Series is set to return to Leeds for a fifth successive year in 2020, when the city takes its place alongside some of the biggest in the world as a staple of the triathlon calendar. A date is set for the weekend of June 6-7, with entries already open for the multitude of amateur events.