Craig Alexander's 2013 Specialized Shiv

The man is a legend. Craig 'Crowie' Alexander is one of only four men to have 3+ Ironman Hawaii World Titles to his name. Last year he earned his hardest-fought title yet, after being handed a difficult defeat in 2010. This year, he's up against his countryman and long-time rival Chris McCormack. But this year, for the first time, both are riding the same frame, and it's the flagship bike that Specialized has used to dominate this race since 2010. This is Craig Alexander's Specialized Shiv.

The bike you see here is almost identical to the rig he used last year to win the race. There are just a few notable differences, for those counting. First and foremost are the new Dura-Ace wheels, built around a wider platform in line with the current trend. He rode some Shimano prototypes last year, but the C50/C75 tubular set on his bike this year is going to production. He's also added Specialized's new Fuelcell accessory, and will be wearing the new McLaren helmet instead of his old Giro. On the cosmetic side, his frame has a new paint scheme for 2013.

Other than that, this is the exact same rig he used last year, right down to the exposed upper headset bearing used to get him low enough on his Pro Missile Evo bars. Enjoy the gallery below, and get ready for the race of a lifetime! A lot of triathlon pundits are calling this the Crowie vs. Macca showdown. I think it's safe to say that there is a LOT of talent in the men's pro field, and that anything could happen. This is Ironman Hawaii, after all, and it has the ability to humble even the toughest of champions.

But then again, it's definitely fair to pay rapt attention to Crowie and Macca, given that in the last five years, they are the only two men who have won this race. What I find highly interesting is that now that they're on the same bike, any performance gap between their rigs is narrowed down to wheel selection, aerobar selection, fuel storage, and of course position (to say nothing of power output). It's a battle of the Shivs, as it were, and we detailed Macca's rig earlier in the week.