Two days before the race begins is usually the right time to post odds on every racers chance of winning the overall 1st place champion king trophy award. But since this year has been crazy, I am posting the odds the night before the prologue stage.
- these “odds” are informational only, as the House is not actually taking bets. $25 covers the keg and a shirt, not a bookie fee.
- the “odds” are on winning first place overall, not just reaching the overall podium and/or finishing the race
- The Commissioner has reconfirmed that reaching the overall podium requires completing all four stages of the race. Appeals to The Commissioner can be made at any time
Odds of winning 1st Place Overall in the 2013 East Luray Liars Triathlon
(doing odds only for racers competing in all four scored events) (we have 12 in contention this year)
Reigning Champion Eric Marshall (2014 odds, 3-1): Without recording a 1st place in any event, Eric still won last year because he medaled in two non-team, accurately measured stages. With no golf surprises (unless Peter is the new Amit), Eric should medal in golf. With some effort he could medal on the rocks. He has a new bike and won’t be riding against Ben Moeling or Chris Roy – but Schukraft and Lapham and a Madden could keep him un-medal-ed through the time trial. Back-to-back champion has never happened, so I have to say its 10-1 this year.
Two-time Overall Champion JP (2014 odds, 20-1): After suffering a litany of injuries in the ELLT off-season, JP may have time his recovery and re-training perfectly. He repeated his 1st in rock climbing last year and is a threat to do so again (no Danno, no Ben Moeling). He has a solid basketball team. And should expect to do well in a return to Stratham, where he won the time trial in 2013. Three time champion? I like the odds at 3-1.
2012 Champion Steve Otto (missed 2014): Steve’s chances of repeating come down to two events – golf and basketball. The golf course favors consistency and patience, something every other contender in golf lacks. And his basketball team includes the oldest and youngest racers. The question mark: can he overcome two major obstacles – Stratham and no Steve Ball? That second factor makes Steve Otto a much longer shot than he would be otherwise…have to go 12-1.
2011 3rd Place Overall Steve Schukraft (2014 odds, 6-1): With a 2nd place mountain biking finish in 2014 (behind the unbeatable Chris Roy), Steve makes himself the obvious target for this year’s race at Stratham. He will be on a borrowed bike, but is unlikely to bitch (a little zen goes a long way). The rocks and golf kill him – but his basketball teammates are perennial first or second place finishers. A mountain biking medal and a hoops medal should be enough and gets his odds up to 4-1.
2010 Overall Champion Eric Shimp (2014 odds, 5-1). He says he can’t walk. But that shouldn’t hurt in any medal event and he landed two 3rds and a 1st on the way to an overall silver finish last year. No one trains more (sorry, Lapham, its true). And no one has the same combination of height and Steve Ball-like mixology skillz. The one element lowering his odds this year – the unpredictable Dave Fetter Effect (twin sister to the Ben Moeling Effect; both include delusions around recreating late 1990s drinking demarche-a-thons). For 2015, his odds remain at 5-1.
2013 2nd Overall Mike Graf (2014 odds, 3-1): Always a favorite of the kids and always a favorite of Big Daddy, Mike is one of only two racers to complete every stage every year since 2008. He could return to form on the rocks and he should be in contention for a hoops medal, but his golf game likely still sucks. He’ll need luck on the bikes – living in Pittsburgh now provides tremendous mountain bike training opportunities, so, just saying, he could show up and crush that up-and-down Stratham time trial. The strength of the 2015 field slips him down a bit, but not much, to 4-1.
2012 Rookie of the Year Jason Madden (in Alaska in 2014): In the first ever ELLT basketball draft, Jason Madden was the second overall pick, immediately elevating Eric Marshall’s team’s court sense and odds of winning. Add Gus and that team will be a spoiler, if not the winner. Jason should also medal on the bikes and maybe the rocks. He’ll need some help to reach the overall podium (like the golfers cancelling each other out), but there aren’t many strong climbing/biking racers this year, which makes his odds a respectable 5-1.
2010 2nd Overall Eric Lapham (not in contention in 2014): Hard to imagine a year better suited for Eric Lapham. Return to normal stage sequence. No mountain biking/rock climbing superstars (which favors the golfers). An easy golf course. And, almost goes without saying, he’s still flying high on that USWNT world cup win. But his basketball team has height without basketball skills. And he’s suffering from a bruised/broken/sprained rib. For other racers, I would place plenty of weight on the injury – but I suspect he will RedBull his way through and medal in at least two events, quite possibly a 1st in both. If he avoid the golfers all cancelling each other out, he has the best chance he’s ever had. Putting him at 2-1.
Green Jacket Extraordinaire Tom Gustafson (2014 odds, 20-1). The challenge, every year, for Gus is showing up for every event. If he can get through soccer, find Metro Rock, and hold his own on the bikes and basketball court, he could medal in something other than an almost guaranteed 1st or 2nd in golf. If 20-1 odds last year were too harsh, maybe its overstating his chances to put him at 4-1 this year. So we’ll go with 7-1 and hope he surprises us all.
(not Gus, but that picture makes me laugh)
Rookie David Fetter: Last year’s rookies Amit and Tom Lovell made us all substantially up our game. So Dave, Peter, and Max Madden have some substantial expectations on them. David is the oldest, perhaps even challenging Gary for oldest racer in the triathlon. But he played rugby – in Australia –and we have all seen how well rugby players actually do in this mad weekend. He could medal in four events or medal in none – we have no idea, which makes his odds (these go to) 11-1.
Rookie Peter Zaimes: Lapham’s size. Claims to have Shimp’s basketball skills. Possibly trains harder than either of those two racers. Riding his own bike. Actually plays some golf. Local. Cannot be corrupted by Steve Ball. Have to set his odds at 4-1 (it is still hard to win as a rookie).
(not Peter’s truck, but I like this picture)
Rookie Max Madden: Youth, actual linebacker speed, under 21, competing against his father. On a basketball team with the oldest racer. Not sure he can actually play any golf. And a rookie. The last 18-year-old who raced admitted to being overwhelmed by the relentlessness of the weekend. On paper, one would think a young racer with no beers slowing him down and a football pedigree would be the favorite, but experience lowers his odds to 8-1.
Racing, but not in overall contention: Gary C, Danno, and Chris Heffernan.
Not racing this year for a host of reasons: Steve Ball, Ben Moeling, Tom Lovell, Chris Doyle, Amit Sharma, The Grey Ghost, and Eric Gundrum