Craig’s Specialised Shiv
There’s no doubt that hard work and preparation are key components to any winning formula. But when you are on the summit of the triathlon world, every little advantage counts. This is where having equipment (like Craig’s new Specialised Shiv) that is not only the best but is tailored to the way you perform, is vital.
Some have speculated that outdated equipment, specifically the bike setup, was to blame for Craig’s performance in the past. He was criticised for wearing a road helmet and riding an aerodynamically inferior and outdated Orbea Ordu at Kona in 2010, where he finished 4th with a bike split time of 4:39:35. Craig would be the first to tell you he simply lost out to the three best performers of the day, which he pretty much summed up at the post race press conference. Overall, he was happy with his performance but was philosophical about his title defence, telling the press gallery, “You can’t win them all”. Tongue was firmly in the cheek when mentioning another shot next year, “Maybe I’ll come back next year and have another crack. Or leave it to the young guys”. The Ironman world knows what kind of a fierce competitor Craig is, and there was no way he would settle on a 4th place finish and leave it at that. His preparation and mental toughness is second to none. He just needed the equipment to keep up.
Fast forward a year to 2011. We’re back at Kona. History is made. Craig wins. He wins big. Not only does he set a new course record, beating Luc Van Lierde’s 1996 time by twelve seconds, he becomes only the fourth man to win the Ironman World Championships three times. How did he do it?
There’s no doubt we were witnessing a hungrier then ever Craig Alexander facing the disappointment of having the opportunity to win three Ironman World Championships in a row, only to finish up at fourth. 2011 also saw Craig sporting a new Specialised Shiv that was tested and tailored to his racing style and needs, as well as a new helmet that had been wind tunnel tested. Could we attribute the new bike setup with Craig’s victory? The numbers don’t seem to lie. A simple comparison of his 2010 times with his 2011 winning times paint a pretty clear picture. Craig’s 2010 (00:51:32) and 2011 (00:51:56) swim split differences were negligible. His run split saw around a 2 second dip from his 2010 time of 02:41:59, but I think we’re about to see why. Craig managed to improve his 2010 bike split of 04:39:35 by about 15 minutes to 04:24:05. While statistics and numbers can always be manipulated to paint any picture, it’s quite obvious to see where he improved to win the World Championship. Everyone knew Craig had both the desire and ability to regain his title and he did just that. There’s no doubt his new Specialised Shiv helped him get there.