Kicking off the handcapping season with the 2010 Overall Champion, Eric Shimp, because he likes his motivation to start early
- in the words of the kids: “he is really good at getting up early in the morning”
- height and a heightened appreciation for the wisdom of staying within his own game
- under the basket hoop skills (but see below)
- vastly improved mountain biking skills
- questionable math skills (useful when trying to count golf strokes and forgetting how to add 3+3)
- Reach/freakish wing-span, which certainly makes rock-climbing easier
- Iowa work ethic, as reflected in a commitment to actually train for the ELLT
- Coaching smarts — for two years, Eric used a few fleeting moments between Thursday night and Saturday afternoon to teach just enough fundamentals to help his hoops-challenged teammates. In the following years, he had more of the old coach mentatlity, leading with his own calmness before storming the court.
- well-developed appreciation for the golf-improving qualities of a 3rd tee bloody mary
- best Chinese curses
- in the words of the kids: “he isn’t very good at soccer. Well, yeah, not good.”
- outside the arc hoop skills…and the persistent belief in his own outside shot (kills me that this remains a weakness) — (ok, have to admit, he has won at hoops more than he has lost, but still)
- according to Shimp, “I’m injured a lot, but that’s because I train more”
- slowing down a touch with age
- will not have Amit to rely on for long-winded and many-tangented esoteric discussions that turn the other racers into dead-by-boredom zombies
- much too easily swayed by Steve Ball into having “one more martini” or “just one more bourbon”
- In 2009, Eric Shimp’s only medal was in basketball, where he coasted on the mad skillz of his teammates Chris Roy and Mark Olson. In golf, Olson and Steve Otto ran away from the field, including Eric.
- 2010 was a completely different year. Eric took 1st in rock climbing and repeated in basketball (credit to Chris Sousa and Chris Roy). His 2nd place golf finish remains disputed, but its in the books. And he scored an “honorable mention” in mountain biking, which just means he sucked except when he was riding the right bike, and then he sucked less. Based on hoops and rocks, Eric squeaked past the second place overall finisher, Eric Lapham.
- 2011 was the year when expectations caught up to him. The 2011 handicapping read as follows: His rock climbing needs to be Danno-esque. He needs to beat Lapham head-to-head at golf (and hope Olson crushes them both, slipping Lapham out of the medals for golf). He has to out-ride Tom McParland, even when he (Shimp) is on the TankTrek. And he has to win at hoops, which is almost a given if The Commissioner doesn’t break up the teams. He climbed well, but Ben Moeling shocked the field. He did not outplay Otto in golf. His mountain biking was lame (14th of 15 racers in the time trial). But he won again at hoops (thanks to Tom McParland’s .990 shooting). Overall, a solid weekend, but expectations, even more than a questionable bike, felled him like an old oak.
- in 2012, Eric faced high expectations again, overcoming them only at basketball. Teamed with the hoops-challenged Ben Moeling and ball-hogging Race Director, Eric still shot and blocked and rebounded his way to first. On the rocks, Eric was a steady belaying hand, but had no stand out climbs. On the links, Eric failed to crack the top three. On the mountain bikes, Eric came in 8th, comfortably middle-of-the-pack and in the group of four riders all in the 5-minute range.
- in 2013, Eric took an honorable mention in mountain biking by finishing with the exact same time as the year before (a respectable 5:13, good enough for 6th)
- in 2014, Eric found his wingspan again and took 3rd on the rocks and somehow managed a 3rd at golf (against a ridiculously stacked field). Capping off the triathlon with a win at hoops, in which he carried both the Race Director and the always-hoops-ready Steve Ball, led to a podium finish, coming in second overall.
Expectations for 2015
As noted, expectations were a thing of the past, opening the race up wide for all the past winners (and first losers). Leading up to 2013, I saw this: “More than any other year and probably more than any other racer, this is going to come down to one event for Eric — mountain biking.” Curiously, in 2014, that was the one event Eric didn’t medal in and he still managed to make the podium. But he has been training on the bike, he will have more control than usual over his basketball teammates, and — if his golf game is likely everyone else in that it improves with age — he should be a contender for the overall again this year.