Three-Time Ironman World Champion, Craig Alexander Kicks Off US Book Tour At Oakley World Headquarters

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It’s hard to mention the sport of triathlon and not speak the name “Craig Alexander” in the same breath. “Crowie,” as he’s affectionately known throughout the industry, and the world, is an all around champion and icon of the sport. The Australian power-house has won the Ironman World Championships, in Kona, three times, becoming the oldest male winner in the race’s history, the course record holder and a true ambassador of the event. He has won the Ironman 70.3 World Championship twice, along with a list of other victories too long to mention.

While Crowie is undoubtedly known for his gutsy performances on the Kona highways and triathlon courses around the globe, what stands out equally about this champion is his demeanor outside the sport he loves so much. While he can be outspoken in his thoughts at times, he stands true to his morals. And beyond that, you’d be hard pressed to find a more humble champion, not only in the sport of triathlon, but across athletics in general. Crowie carries himself with pride, but always puts others first. You’ll rarely see him shy away from an opportunity through his countless sponsors to interact with his fans and lovers of the sport of triathlon. His authenticity shines through and his utter respect for the sport of triathlon and its past and future champions is well documented.

Alexander’s new book “As The Crow Flies: My Journey To Ironman World Champion,” is a stunning example of the outstanding human he prides himself so much on being. Not your standard biography, the book uses photographs to depict the life of the Ironman legend. Crowie was followed by photographer Paul K. Robbins for the entire year of 2011, leading up to Alexander’s record breaking Ironman World Championship in Kona. Not only does it exhibit the staggering determination and endless hours of disciplined training that goes into being the world’s best, the book shows a softer side of the grizzled veteran; time with his beloved wife Neri and his two children Lucy and Austin. It is an exquisite depiction of one of the most iconic athletes of our generation, presented in a format typical to Crowie’s style; elegant, dignified and accessible. But most importantly, it is a humble tribute to one of the most deserving champions of undoubtedly the most grueling sport on the planet.

Alexander kicked off a two week US book tour this week and we were honored to host the very first stop. Crowie spent hours in the Oakley lobby signing copies of his book for adoring fans, industry members and triathlon enthusiasts. Our very own 1994 Ironman World Champion, Greg Welch hosted an intimate Q&A session in the theater, where fans got the chance to (literally) sit with and talk to the three-time champion. We were delighted to have the legendary racer begin his book tour at Oakley World Headquarters in Orange County, CA and we believe you will be equally as delighted in the finished product of Crowie’s book. Read further to hear what Alexander had to say about his book, the first tour stop and for information on how to purchase the book.

Oakley: This is the first stop on your two week US book tour. Why Oakley/Orange County first?

Craig Alexander: A couple of things. First of all, it’s a global brand. Second of all, Welchy (Greg Welch – Oakley Sports Marketing Manager for Multisport/Track and Field and 4x Triathlon World Champion) is a good mate. You also fly in from Australia and you touch down in L.A. It was either L.A. or San Fran first and I just thought it would be a nice fit to come here. I’ve been sponsored by Oakley for a while now and Greg’s been trying to get me to HQ for a long time. It was just the logical choice to make it first cab off the rank.

Greg just gave me a tour and its just totally impressive, this whole operation. I was here 10 years ago before I was an Oakley athlete. I was living in San Diego and I was driving up to do the LA Triathlon. I was with Conrad Stoltz actually and we dropped in. The whole facility here just blew my hair back, back then and it’s ten times that now.

From the minute Greg found out that I had a book he got right behind it, so I thought it was a nice logical choice to stop here first.

Oakley: Tell us about the book. What was the motivation behind it? What’s it about?

Craig Alexander: Well, we got approached with a lot of different ideas. I think the main idea people wanted was a biography and that style of book. I wasn’t really interested in doing something like that. And then this idea came up. I guess the genesis of the book was that it was going to be a photographic documentation of a twelve-month period “in the life,” so to speak. I thought it would be great to get a lot of the behind the scenes stuff. People see race day, but what goes into the day-to-day work of family life, training and traveling.

Paul the photographer, he brought a unique perspective because, not only is he a professional photographer, but he used to be a triathlete of quite a high level. He’s raced in Hawaii a few times I liked his vision of what he thought. I thought he’d be able to capture some unique images. Not just sporty, but maybe creative as well

From a logistics standpoint, he lived very close to where we lived in Sydney. Having a young family, I didn’t want it to be too imposing so we just sat down each week and he’d look at the schedule for the next seven or ten days and between he and I and my wife, we’d decide what would be most interesting to shoot and it was very easy. He’d come up whether it was at our house or wherever and he’d be totally unobtrusive. He’d go about his business. I could say that 90% of the shots weren’t pre-planned. He would just scout a location if he knew I trained there or if he had an idea for a shot he’d set up and then he’d capture the image. It was pretty authentic in that regard.

I think Chrissie Wellington had done a book and a few other people had done biography type books and this was something different. I thought it could be a book that hopefully people would be proud of and keep out on the coffee table, sort of that style of a book.

Oakley: You’re about to go downstairs to the Oakley lobby and kick off your 2012 US book tour. Is it exciting? New? Fun? Nerve-wracking? All of the above? What do you hope to get from this experience?

Craig Alexander: Its all of those things. Its exciting. It’s nerve-wracking because I always wonder, “Am I going to walk in and there’s going to be an empty room?” You just wonder. You do a book and they say “It adds to your brand.” And I wonder, “What does that mean?” For me, I just wanted to do something that I was proud of. Neri (Crowie’s wife) and I both really liked the finish product. I think it gives a nice little insight into our life for that twelve-month period.

I am a little nervous though! But I’m excited as well because the initial feedback I’ve gotten is that people enjoyed the book, which was my main hope. Obviously, I enjoy it and I like it, which is the most important thing, and my wife does. But I really hope people do enjoy it. So, I am a little nervous, but we’ll see how it goes. I’m sure opening the tour here will be good. Welchy will be very gentle with me. It should be good fun. I’m just looking forward to it.

At the end of a season, especially a long season, where its all been about training and performance, its nice just to really hang out with the companies who have supported you and the fans and people who love the sport like I do. So, it should be good fun!

For info on how to purchase a copy of “As The Crow Flies: My Journey to Ironman World Champion," visit: As The Crow Flies: My Journey To Ironman World Champion.