ELLT 2018: Prologue Stage One Week from Today

First racer arrives at Logan airport around 11am one week from today, so a good time to list all of this year’s racers, give the captains some time to consider their draft options.

A few important rules, subject to change:

  • scoring by team by event. Rocks – cumulative; golf – same as last year; Bikes – 3rd man across the line; hoops – same as last year (sub every third point, games likely to be to a higher ##)
  • brothers and fathers-sons can’t be on the same team
  • each team must have two youths and two old men
  • captains will draft their first and second picks ; I will decide their fourth teammate; and
  • draft order is Danno, Leo, Eric, Mike, Jason, me – snaking back after the first round.

So, the racers:

Old men

Gary, Gus, Tom Lovell, Chris Doyle, Greg Ossi (rookie), Chris Roy, Chris Heffernan

Young racers

Owen Lovell, William Doyle, Drew Lapham, Mitchell Roy, Max Madden

Young rookies

Owen Heffernan, Tommy Lapham, Ben Hall, Travis Madden, Gunnar, Hadj, Evan McParland, Nick

Draft will start sometime Thursday evening, with Leo likely calling in his picks from the bus.

Its a race, gentlemen

ELLT Overall Trophy back in Newbury


ELLT 2018: Better Know a Domestique, 2

We’ve previewed some of the rookies, still a few to go, but with this year’s team format we can expect the “domestiques” to make all the difference.

Chris Doyle — Rho Bandit, one of two Best Men at The Commissioner’s wedding, consistent competitor, has done some of those 3-event triathlons.

ELLT 2009 Doyle showing 1st place mountain biking form

Third overall in 2013, the year Team Hickory swept the overall podium, ‘Fes has made most ELLTs, sometimes arriving just in time for the events he likes most. When he arrives on Thursday, he’s always among the last up in the kitchen. And bringing along his son William has not slowed his pace on any stage. He turned 50 this year, which places him in the same racer group as Gary and makes no difference at all in expectations or scoring.

ELLT 2013 Team Hickory

So, solid court sense and previous success in basketball. Checking Strava I can see he’s been training on the bikes. I am guessing his golf game still sucks and he probably likes rock climbing as much as he always has.


So he can be an anchor for two events and has enough solid skills to hold his own at the other two. Team Captain Mike could be tempted to reunite at least two members of the Coop and take his chances with the yutes. Whichever team he lands on, they’re getting a #2 mountain biker, at the least, or a very strong #3, which is what counts most.

Weaknesses? He’s shown no fatherly protection or sympathy for his own son, so no worries there that he could take it easy on whichever team gets William. And he’s not likely to go easy on Ossi or Tom Lovell, either. I can only think he might not manage two decent tee shots in golf, but otherwise a solid glue guy for a winning team.

ELLT 2018: Better Know a Rookie, 7

Planned to debut last year, already drafted this year, possibly the first New York City native in the ELLT – Hadj

Hadj and Leo.jpg

From Springfield Garden, Queens, by way of Mercy College, but not his first trip to Newbury, Hadj knows The Commissioner well, knows Maeve well, and knows Leo’s every weakness. In Paris, he trained to play basketball against ELLT opponents like Chris H and Gus by destroying French softies. A lifetime of competitive sports means he’ll pace himself throughout. With a younger brother who might be better than him at hoops, he’ll both coach his teammates to do more and expect nothing less than the best from himself.

Hadj brings perhaps the best basketball skills evah, sorry, Eric S and JP, but when we get those two back, insha’allah next year, we may need to create an all-star old v young basketball game, with Hadj, Owen, Mitchell, and Leo squaring off against JP, Chris R, Eric S, and Jason. I’ll call the game on PPV while placing my bets on the old men.

Back to Hadj – we can expect hard work at soccer and a strong effort on the rocks, but golf may be more of a challenge. As a teammate — and, yes, he’s on my team in a pre-draft Race Director’s decision — I know I am getting a solid, all-around competitor and someone who will take golf as seriously as I do.

But. Bikes. Everyone has their kryptonite, their own personal Knot, the one event at ELLT at which they suck.

Hadj on the bike.jpg

Don’t let that smile fool you. He was only happy because we were done. Unless he’s spent the last few months riding single track in the woods in Hollis –Hollis, New Hampshire, not Hollis, Queens — he’s going to hate the mountain biking. Will he fight to put up a good showing and tire out his legs for hoops? I hope not. Sweet Abraham Lincoln’s mother, I hope not.

A fighting chance to be on the overall winning team? Depends on the 7th pick in the draft and whether the 3rd best rider on my team can actually ride. So, yeah, pretty good chance.

ELLT 2018: Better Know a Domestique, 1

We’ve previewed some of the rookies, still a few to go, but with this year’s team format we can expect the “domestiques” to make all the difference.

Chris Roy – 3rd place overall in 2014 and 2012, his only podium finishes, but always one of the strongest competitors.

ELLT 2012 Hoops Chris Chris Jason rugby

We can expect him to be among the fastest three on the bikes and among the hardest to guard on the basketball court. He’ll do nothing for his teammates on the golf course and was not among climbing leaders last year. He would make an excellent teammate for the one captain who can play golf. Combined with the three biking captains, he could provide a solid 1-2 punch….of course, this year the third fastest time on the team is the only one that counts.

Chris Roy waiting to climb

of course, its too bad soccer doesn’t count

Chris Roy crushing Leo

Weaknesses? Just golf. Ability to carry a team to victory, the very definition of a “domestique”? Very high. Chances he will finally break through the 3rd place overall ceiling? Even higher.


ELLT 2018: Time Trial Preview (2nd take)

Muddy and slow, came off the bike more than I wanted to, but here’s the time trial preview.

13 seconds to 2:31 – easy double track. We rode this slow going out. Coming back, Jason flew and  struggled to keep pace. Yes, you can make up plenty of time here at the start – or waste a bunch of energy, because at the end of the easy double track is the first hill, which will take you to the 2:54 mark.

3:46 starts the first section of single-track, and begins with a slight uphill. At the 4:16 mark you can see where Steve Ball would get lost.

6:27 – rocks that will dislodge most riders.

9:51 – end of the first single-track section. And when you get back to double-track, take a hard left.

10:06 – start of second section, helpfully named “Lollipop”

12:11 — bear left, go left, turn left

12:40 to 14:13 — best section of the entire time trial. If you’re going to make up any time in the single track, it will be here.

15:46 – the little section sucks.

18:08 – end of Lollipop. Yup, 8 solid minutes of single track. Off the bike a couple times. Good stuff. Now go straight go straight go straight across.

18:25 – start of the last section of single track

19:35 — the only right-hand turn on single track – don’t miss this turn.

21:20 – enclosed section followed by absolute crap for the rest of the single track

23:26 – end of the last single track. 5 ugly minutes, with the worst of it at the very end.

24:32 — down the first hill. So going at middling speed and nearly losing my chain, covered that part of double track in a little more than a minute. To win, you need to crush this section.

24:42 to 26:12 — double track sprint finish, which I didn’t sprint.

muddy orange.jpg













ELLT 2018: Better Know a Rookie, 6

The Commissioner’s nephew, a Marine, an athlete — Nick (don’t let the innocent face fool you)

(And, yes, the young lady in that picture will destroy you if you cross her)

Nick comes to the race with two distinct advantages, in addition to being related to The Commissioner: 1) Marine strong and fearless, and 2) relentless chatter. If he’s on your team, you want him next to the team you think you need to beat, you want him talking hockey, you want him talking baseball and Boston, you want him absolutely verbally wearing down the other team.

Like Owen, Nick may be a bit tempered by the presence of two uncles in the race, although he could be teammates with one or both. He will be helped by competing against two cousins and will be unrestrained in mocking them when they fail.

He will do well on the rocks and hold his own on the bikes and basketball court, not likely leading but always being a strong teammate. Weaknesses? Likely plays golf as poorly as his brother, but sharing his brother’s sense of his own skills. He’s slightly older than most of the rookies, but his age should help, makes him maybe the JP of 2018.

And beware of the other kid below – he’s coming after all of us at ELLT 2033.

ELLT 2018: Better Know a Rookie, 5

Your sleeper pick for Rookie of the Year, Travis

Consistently wins. At basketball in younger days. As a center and linebacker for varsity football. As a varsity baseball player (and all through his baseball days) (yeah, I don’t have many pictures of Travis) Unfortunately for him, we play only one of those in this triathlon.

He comes into the race with strong family support in his father and brother, but will have to compete against them. Great work ethic. Excellent court sense and a solid outside shot. Can he play golf? Not likely. Bike? Solid enough he won’t be the fourth on any team. Climbing? Unknown. Weaknesses? Usually being more glue guy than all-star would make it tough to win ELLT overall, but an excellent teammate means he will make any team better. He will need help on the golf course, but he won’t play worse than his brother. Odds of being on the winning team – wicked high….unless I draft him.