Way back when this event was a barely started, I posted my semi-coherent meanderings on who would likely win. One racer, the Grey Ghost, wanted to actually bet on the odds, but everyone else seemed to take it all with a helping of sea salt and skepticism. Now we’re at 10 years, so let’s pile on a full helping of bullshit, hype, and insanity to see who might do what this year, with 17 GC racers:
Let’s start with the road cheese (all odds at the end):
before we do, though, the usual disclaimers and explanations on scoring this 5-event triathlon: soccer doesn’t count. Rock-climbing is based on who does the hardest climb, cleanest, first, repeatedly. Golf is a scramble, with one team winning (and the best golfer among them wearing the green jacket) (additional scoring rules on that septel). Mountain biking is a time-trial, with no handicap on the guy setting the course. Basketball is a team event. Overall 1st, 2nd, and 3rd based on combined scores, as weighted and judged by The Commissioner and her counselors.
Owen Lovell: high draft pick in hoops, with flashes of potential on the rocks and bikes. Rookies traditionally don’t do well and Owen will have the benefit of competing against an over-confident Leo, an untested Drew, and two rookies. And Max. And the older, wiser racers. And JP. Yeah, so, good luck. Of course, being the spoiler has its own rewards.
Tom Lovell: a dangerous racer in the 2017 ELLT. Experienced, hungry, rugby-mindset, and high hurdles to overcome (his hoops team captain, for starters). Tom will be casual, seemingly laid back, just having a good time, and competing intensely, suddenly medaling on the rocks and the bikes and threatening a huge upset win.
JP: How do you bet against this guy? Younger than the Erics, equally as intense as Gary, and far more competitive than pretty much everyone else. Only two-time champion for good reason. He beats himself, which is the only way anyone else wins. Or someone puts on Journey. Or the Eagles. Or Hansen.
Shimp: How do you bet against this guy? Younger than the other Erics and wiser than JP and the youngsters. Training non-stop with an actual triathlete. Best court vision of anyone not named “Jason.” Best golf ‘skills’ of anyone not named “Lapham.” Longest rock-climbing reach of them all. Looking to join the ranks of two-time champion and going to be very tough to beat.
Graf: Along with JP, one of only two racers who have done every event, every year. A handful of individual event awards and a podium finish two years ago. Many times the last to head to sleep on Thursday and the last to leave on Sunday, making the most of the weekend. And every single year, Maeve’s favorite to win it all.
Golden: A rookie, and later-in-life to be among the rookie racers. And a wild card. Golden could be a scratch golfer. And he has the height to be a presence in hoops. Bikes and rocks, who the hell knows. His true handicap is that we’re beyond expectations in the triathlon. He would’ve slipped past Steve Ball in the first year and maybe a couple years after that. But now he needs to prove his own against a tough field.
Chris and William Doyle: unfortunately not in the overall competition, but expect to play huge roles in basketball. Golf, maybe not so much, although William is a wild card, unknown, true rookie.
Chris Roy: Recovering from an injury and not racing at 100%, but still 95% ahead of most of us. The Book includes far too many years with “DNP” for Chris, so hoping this year works out well — and if he competes in all five stages, highly likely a podium finish. Unless injuries slow him down, only one person has ever beaten him on the bikes….
Mitchell Roy: rookie, truly unknown on rocks and golf, likely decent at hoops (although his team is questionable) and likely a solid rider. He faces a tough young class, with three non-rookie under-21s, so he will need a stand-out performance to medal. With a baseball background (first real baseball player I think we’ve ever had…no, softball doesn’t count, Otto), could see a new trend starting (with Tommy Lapham and Travis Madden coming next year).
and now the locals:
Danno: founder, overall champion, undisputed mountain biking title holder. Always thinks he’s better than he is at golf – and this year’s format favors him. No more handicap on the bikes and should medal on the rocks, but falling asleep before the basketball draft may have hurt him.
Eric Lapham: one-time overall champion and multiple first place stage wins, including one last year (basketball was a shockah). While he is hoping he doesn’t come up short again this time, he’s facing a better golfer in his own son and better climbers in JP and Leo, plus a basketball team that….well, has the best non-captain player and the tallest guy, so a hoops repeat could happen. Only way to bet against him is to bet against the red-eye flight back from California.
Drew Lapham: not quite a rookie, although he only saw limited time last year. He’s expected to lead his team to victory in golf, although the new format does force him into a team, rather individual, effort. He’s also rumored to be strong on the bikes and possibly the rocks. He’s got the best chance of any of the rookies, but I think his competition comes from the older racers.
Jason Madden: Like a few others, completing all four stages that count has been Jason’s usual struggle, always due to time conflicts, not actual fatigue or injury. This year he can do all four and has an excellent chance to medal in both basketball and golf. Taking two firsts in team events isn’t a lock on first overall, but that may be Jason’s route to the podium.
Max Madden: Experience, youth, home-field advantage, and a solid basketball team. Plus he scored third overall on the rocks last year. Here is your 2017 sleeper pick.
Gary: Training like crazy and definitely more experienced than anyone else. Also, have to say this, he’s the oldest racer and seems fully completely totally unafraid of the youth movement. No backing out, no scaling back, no worries….to paraphrase Reagan, Gary is not going to hold his opponents youth and inexperience against them. He’s just going to beat them.
Gundrum: Consistently better-than-average on the bikes and on the rocks. And with a decent hoops team. Probably needs to be carried on the golf course, but should be a sentimental favorite for an overall podium finish since he helps with the organization and the keg. And created some cool helmet decals this year.
Gus: Game-day decision on climbing, which could take him out of the overall contention. He’ll need to carry his golf foursome to have any chance of medaling, although he’s been a surprise on the bikes in previous years. If he completes the full race, he’s got a solid chance of…well, winning at golf.
Leo: returning champion, with three or four actual bike races already completed this summer, plus a year of training with Haj. A little too sure of himself and definitely in for a rude awakening on the basketball court. But he can climb and ride, so he could repeat. Medal medal medal.
2017 ELLT Overall Champion Odds