hope your hoop skills are in good shape…
Posted in Triathlon
I wrote this a couple weeks ago and meant to publish it sometime this month…..
Eric Marshall, 2014 overall winner – perennial dark horse contender, looking for a second perfect year. Like most overall winners, Marshall has one strong sport and has punched above his weight in others at the right time to get the overall win. Unlike other winners, Marshall’s one strong sport has shifted over the years, from golf to biking, primarily due to his own training (and a little bit due to new racers with mad golf skillz, please say hello to Amit). Considering the race’s history, with golfers winning more often than non-golfers, kind of crazy that Marshall’s overall win came at the peak of his golf skills and a repeat win for him would come despite his golf game. These days, where Marshall can get sneaky is on the rocks and the court. With a strong effort climbing and some luck (and the right teammates) for hoops, he could medal across three events, possibly four depending on his golf foursome. Expectations for 2017: Simple – a 1st, and 2nd, a 3rd, and just missing for a fourth medal. In contention for the overall, depending on whether the other specialists stymie the overall contenders. Weakness: Late night renditions of “Aqualung.” Simple as that. Odds: 10-1, just needs some breaks and needs to spend every day between now at ELLT 2017 biking from his house to MetroRock.
This gallery contains 6 photos.
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.
Leo Heffernan: 2016 Overall Winner – three words best describe Leo’s 2016 win: “medal medal medal.” As the only racer ever to count his medals (at least aloud) before they hatched, Leo cemented his ELLT reputation forever, joining McParland’s “No Apologizations,” the Grey Ghost’s pink triangle, and Gary’s muddler as in-erasable parts of the race. His 2016 performance was medal-worthy, worthy enough to win overall (in a squeakah over Eric Lapham, truth be told). Leo fits the Danno-mold of ELLT winners – a biker, not a golfer – and his win may start swinging that pendulum back, giving the crap golfers some hope. He’s had the advantage of growing up with the race and home court for three of the four events. What he lacks in common sense (“medal medal medal”) he makes up for with developed biking and climbing skills. Oh, and if you think he’s got an advantage because The Commissioner loves him, you misunderestimate The Commissioner.
Expectations for 2017: he’s trained in two medal (“medal medal medal”) events, basketball and biking, and while he could surprise on the rocks, he has no chance, even in an improved format, of placing in golf. He’s also facing the “year-after” curse of raised expectations and diminished performance. He will likely medal (“medal medal medal”) on the bikes, unless Ben Moeling, Eric Marshall, and Danno all put in peak performances. He picks last for hoops (or maybe not), which means he likely will have me and Steve Ball (in a 3v3 format). And maybe he can pick up a medal (“ “) on the rocks. Weakness: no one likes a repeat winner and everyone knows how hard it is to compete with a hangover.
Odds: 20-1, because if he dunks during basketball, outrides the old men, and climbs moderately well, he could be repeat. Big if on all three.
when you fail to box out, you get beat…the picture below isn’t from the same game, but its a good picture