Eric Lapham, 2015 overall winner – and the only one to come up just short twice, with two second place overall finishes. Lapham is the most dangerous obvious contender in the field. His strengths in golf and on the bikes have routinely overcome any shortcomings in hoops and climbing. His below-average soccer skills don’t matter in the overall standings. And he’s proven height doesn’t matter as much in 3v3 basketball (something that may change if we lengthen the court to 4v4). One of the best ELLT pictures is Lapham walking towards the camera, green jacket on, muscles flexed and looking ready to attack, trying to stave off disappointment for coming in second. And one of my favorite ELLT traditions is the annual email ritual around flag football and soccer, argued with relentless passion by Lapham.
Expectations for 2017: He will medal in golf and, absent a technical problem or Drew-like GPS error, he likely won’t come up short on the standings on the time trial. He could surprise on the rocks and hoops, which makes him an automatic, absent some strange short-fall, contender for the overall. Weakness: Can he stand losing at golf to Drew? Can he carry a basketball team made up of a skier and a soccer player? (wait, check that, he can). Can he compete with a buckeye stuck in his shoe? Will New England run out of vodka and Red Bull?
Odds: 2-1. No one wants to bridge the gap between second and first more than Lapham. Close, but just short last year. Not likely to be short again this year.