As the Crow Flies: My Journey to Ironman World Champion


When he became just the fourth man to win three Ironman® World Championships, Craig “Crowie” Alexander joined triathlon’s most elite inner circle of champions.

In As the Crow Flies, the five-time world champion reveals his approach, his training, and the relationships that delivered the record-breaking race performance he says was a decade in the making. In his own words and through striking photographs from acclaimed sports photographer Paul K. Robbins, Crowie shows what it ...

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When he became just the fourth man to win three Ironman® World Championships, Craig “Crowie” Alexander joined triathlon’s most elite inner circle of champions.

In As the Crow Flies, the five-time world champion reveals his approach, his training, and the relationships that delivered the record-breaking race performance he says was a decade in the making. In his own words and through striking photographs from acclaimed sports photographer Paul K. Robbins, Crowie shows what it takes to race at the elite level—and how he balances the work of triathlon with his first priority, his wife Neri and their young kids Lucy and Austin.

Alexander reflects on influential moments of his early career and his entire 2011 and early 2012 season, bringing triathletes inside his head during key workouts, training blocks, and pivotal moments in big races. Crowie struggles through injury, illness, and changing sponsorships, revealing the delicate balance between elite performance and disaster. Yet hardship on the road to Kona yielded to Crowie’s hard work and determination as he won both the Ironman and Ironman 70.3® world championships, making him the first person to win both championships in the same year.

Epic workouts, grueling travel, record-setting race performance, giving back to sponsors and the sport—these are the tools of Crowie’s trade, not to mention sleek wetsuits, cutting-edge time trial bikes, and technical footwear. And while those who know the sport of triathlon intimately will say that performance is determined by how triathletes put the three disciplines together, As the Crow Flies shows that winning major races comes from working toward excellence in every aspect of the triathlon way of life.

As the Crow Flies offers triathletes and sports enthusiasts a beautiful, intimate, and honest portrait of the life and work of professional triathlete Craig “Crowie” Alexander, five-time triathlon world champion and one of the sport’s most successful athletes.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
As the Crow Flies makes truth of the adage, ‘a picture says a thousand words.’ [As the Crow Flies is] a must for any triathlete, or indeed any sports fan, to have on their reading list and coffee table!” — Chrissie Wellington, 4-time Ironman World Champion and author of A Life Without Limits: A World Champion’s Journey

“As the Crow Flies invites readers into Craig Alexander's private life for a never-before-seen glimpse of what it really takes to be world champion. Paul Robbins' photography captures Craig's life in intimate, revealing detail and offers a rare perspective on his legendary work ethic. Paired with Craig's veteran insights, advice and storytelling, this book is a must-have for every fan of the sport.” — Julia Beeson Polloreno, Triathlete magazine editor-in-chief
“In his new book, Craig Alexander reveals the approach that took his triathlon career to new heights. As the Crow Flies is an intimate look into how Alexander balances his training, traveling, racing and family life.” — Inside Triathlon magazine
“As you will discover in reading this book, it’s no wonder Craig is one of the greatest triathletes ever. As the Crow Flies is filled with riveting stories of commitment, setbacks, focus, and keeping it old school. He is ready for what’s thrown at him, whether in training, racing, or life itself.” — From the foreword by Greg Welch, 5-time triathlon world champion

“In his book As the Crow Flies, Crowie has done something different. His simple and direct dialog about a period of time when the pressure was highest and the spotlight shone brightest on him gives a solid sense of who he is and what the public already senses about his solid moral compass in every part of his life surrounding his sport. Crowie’s book will not disappear into bookshelves once it is read—the magnificent photography helps narrate the story and makes it come to life and seem more real. I read about his workouts, races, or circumstances, then looked with new eyes at the photographs again and again. As the Crow Flies is a spectacular avenue in which he has chosen to share himself and his achievements.” — Paula Newby-Fraser, 8-time Ironman World Champion
“I saw Craig for the first time competing in an Olympic-distance race in Pacific Grove, California and, without forecasting his destiny, I recognized his uncanny and innate ability to draw on his internal will and passion to excel…His incredible journey is captured in this brilliant book As the Crow Flies. Not only does it cover his Ironman world record in Kona at the 2011 Championships but it pictorially  captures the true essence of the highs and lows of an incredible person and a phenomenal champion.” — Dave Scott, 6-time Ironman World Champion

“Being a true champion is recognizing that it takes a team to be great. Crowie has done a great job at illustrating this in As the Crow Flies.” — Laura Bennett, 2-time Olympian, 4-time triathlon world championship medalist, 2-time U.S. national champion

“Now everyone—not just the stratospheric elite of triathlon—can get to know Crowie.” — Bob Roll, Tour de France television commentator
“There is a lot more to Crowie than what we see on the outside…Photographer Paul K. Robbins has been able to go in deep and beyond that surface…It is the photography in As the Crow Flies that for me truly captures the essence of all those quick, fleeting personal moments that make up Crowie's sporting world and family home each and every day.” — Delly Carr, award-winning sports photographer, World Photography Academy Inductee, Nikon Sports Photography Ambassador
“Craig Alexander fans will read about the skill, dedication and passion required to be an Ironman® world champion. In the photography world, Paul K. Robbins is one of our Ironmen…Robbins' body of photographs is a work of art. Simply brilliant.” — Peter Eastway, AIPP Grand Master of Photography, Publisher Better Photography Magazine
“Craig Alexander’s new book As The Crow Flies is a behind-the-scenes look at one of the greatest athletes the sport of triathlon has ever seen…This is a must-read for any fan of the sport of triathlon.” — John Duke, Vice President of Global Sponsorship Sales, Ironman®
As the Crow Flies is a must-read for any athlete to reiterate that it is the days, weeks, months and years of training and sacrifices that make you good.” — Lee Troop, 3-time Australian Olympic marathon runner

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781934030943
  • Publisher: VeloPress
  • Publication date: 10/8/2012
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 295,904
  • Product dimensions: 11.30 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Craig Alexander, known by his fans as “Crowie,” has been named one of the greatest male triathletes of all time by Inside Triathlon magazine. He has found success at every level of the sport and ascended through the triathlon ranks to claim five Ironman and 70.3 world championships in the past five years. Craig’s dedication to triathlon is surpassed only by his devotion to family—his wife, Nerida, and two young children, Lucy and Austin. Triathlon’s first family hails from Sydney, Australia, but spends the race season in Boulder, Colorado.
Paul K. Robbins shadowed Craig Alexander for over a year to capture the passion, craft, and challenges confronting the professional athlete. He has been behind the lens all his life and has worked commercially since 1985. As a former age-group triathlete, Paul knows firsthand where to look for the true beauty of the sport. He lives and works in Sydney, Australia.

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Table of Contents

FOREWORD by Greg Welch
COMMITMENT: Early-season training
FOCUS: A new goal comes into view
SETBACKS: Holding it together when things fall apart
GOING SOLO: Building up to the world championships
FINAL COUNTDOWN: Returning to Kona
BRINGING IT HOME: Where it all started
SUB 8: The road ahead

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