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Echoing the last two years, I’ve saved the overall odds for 2 days before the event, giving everyone plenty of time to lobby, but also enough time to adjust, as needed. A few words on “odds” and scoring.
Odds of winning 1st Place Overall in the 2013 East Luray Liars Triathlon
Steve Otto (2012 Champion, 2009 2nd place) — 15-1: Otto flew the race at top speed in 2012, stopped only by a tree on the time trial. In 2011, the field slanted heavily towards the rock climbers and mountain bikers, stages that Otto did well in, but faced crazy steep competition. This year, Otto could medal in climbing, golf, and mountain biking. In hoops, just like last year…well…one of his teammates was on a champion team once. If he repeats his 2012 performance, minus the crash, Otto will be well-positioned for a return to the overall top 3.
JP Ratajczak (2012 2nd place overall, 2008 champion) — 10-1: JP benefits from the rules change eliminating expectations. And his 2nd place finish in 2012 makes him heavily favored this year. If his golf game hasn’t improved, but his basketball teammates continue last year’s success (2nd place in an epic final game), he should be on the podium at the end.
Eric Marshall (2012 3rd overall) — 100-1: In 2012, the odds started like this: “Here is your 2012 Easy-Money-Lock Grey Horse contender, a true mudder” and he finished 3rd, which proves these odds are somewhat based in reality. The real world is keeping Eric off the rocks and away from golf this year, which means his medaling chances are reduced to mountain biking (easily in the top 5, not sure if he’ll crack the top 3) and basketball…where one of his teammates is a 5 time winner.
Dan Moore (2011 champion, 2008 3rd place) — 50-1: Danno remains in contention for rock climbing. His golf game still sucks and he is out of contention for mountain biking. So his chances for the podium rest with with hoops…and his teammates, as it stands now, are both roookies not known for their basketball skills. A first on the rocks, a hole-in-one (resulting in 3rd), and a miracle on the court and Danno could place again.
Eric Shimp (2010 champion) — 12-1: Eric has one weakness — mountain biking. With some luck (meaning mostly bad luck attached to Marshall, Lapham, and Gus) in golf and a solid hoops performance, plus a decent year on the ropes, Eric could very well medal in three events. And, for what its worth — over 5 years of competition, no racer has earned a medal in all four events. If he pulls down three stage medals, its hard to see him missing the podium again in 2013….all depends on golf…
Eric Lapham (2010 2nd place) — 100-1: Eric will miss rock climbing due to injury/real-life, but should expect to medal in golf and mountain biking. If Lapham is sitting on two 1st place finishes and the next two stages produce 6 winners without another stage win…The Commissioner, The Race Director, and the head of the ELLT Competition Committee may need to have a special rules discussion regarding GC qualifications…but only if we’re looking at 2 1st place finishes and a messy rest of the field.
Steve Ball (2008 2nd place) — 25-1: Revisiting last year’s projection: “Steve’s podium finish in 2008 came from the perfect ELLT strategy: low expectations, a strong liver, and good luck.” With expectations no longer a factor, Steve’s training and actual atheltic execution become the key difference. His basketball team is intact from last year, so a little more experience may help. Cardio and strength training should help on the rocks. He will, once again, get a decent mountain bike and should be able to cut his time trial time by 75%. He will suck at golf…but medals on the rocks and bikes…and mixology skills that reduce the other racers’ skills…and maybe possibly he could be that dark horse surprise winner.
Steve Schukraft (2011 3rd Place) — 35-1: Steve illustrates perfectly the bias built into the stages and why the golf-and-basketball players are more heavily favored over time against the rock-climbers-and-mountain-bikers. In short, you can get better at biking and climbing more quickly than you can get better at golf (and, to a lesser degree, hoops). So if you have a decent golf game, you’re always in contention, provided you put a little time in working on cardio and some basic rock/ride techniques. Of course, the competition in golf is a bit more intense, with the elite players all very closed matched. All of which makes me think we need to consider a true golf handicap approach for 2014. But for now we have Steve Schukraft, sneaky good at rock climbing and mountain biking, but hobbled by limited golf skills and questionable basketball teammates. If the top three golfers win nothing else and the winning court trio is similarly shut out, medals in climbing and biking could propel Steve back to the podium…but those are long odds.
Tom McParland (2010 3rd place) — 23-1: Tom set an impossibly high bar last year with his speech on Thursday night, labeling the rest of the field as runner-ups and making “no apologizations” for his pending abscence. So this year, the pressure is on…golf and rock climbing are a mystery as previous years give no real indications. And we should expect an outstanding time trial, but will be surprised if he overcomes his teammates at hoops. Early success on the rocks, confusion in the GC standings, and a solid time trial and he sneaks into 1st.
Mike Graf – 15-1: From last year: “Every year the Young Liars are convinced Me-Mike has a shot at 1st place overall, which means Mike is terrible at setting expectations low (at least with the younger crowd). This year, Mike’s got an improved hoops team, 4 years of experience on the rocks, and a properly-sized mountain bike. If he trims a couple minutes off his time trial and puts that length to use on the rocks…this could be Mike first trip to the overall podium.” Just needs a properly fitting helmet and we’re looking at a strong contender for 1st.
Chris Doyle — 11-1: Everyone has benefitted and suffered from Steve Ball’s penchant for muddlers and the morning-after regrets, but only Chris has had his triathlon derailed by Steve Ball’s terrible sense of direction. By following Steve the wrong way on the time trial, Chris took himself out of contention on the bikes and probably used up the extra strength he needed to sink the winning shot in basketball. He has a decent shot on the rocks, could take a 3rd place in golf, should expect to be in contention on the bikes….and could very well be part of the hoops team that ends the Shimpean Dynasty. Gentlemen, your Grey Horse Lock for 2013, Chris Doyle…
Jason Madden — 35-1: Jason came in 9th on the time trial last year and his basketball team won two games. In other words, he is coasting below the radar and could easily outperform last year’s personal results (although in basketball, he may be a bit more challenged). With a solid showing on the rocks and a little luck on the bike….still some long odds, considering his golf game and hoops teammates.
Chris Heffernan – 150-1: Without doing the rocks, golf, and biking Chris’ odds are substantially diminished. He is likely to have a gold medal winner on his basketball team…but….seriously…hard to see a podium finish.
Gary Cavanaugh — 12-1: This is Gary’s year. He will compete in the first six stages (including Muddling) and is a serious contender in golf and basketball. All he needs to do is complete rock climbing and mountain biking, medal in the other two events, and he is a lock for the podium. A first in golf and hoops and he gets his first overall championship.
Tom Gustafson — 100-1: Without rock climbing, Tom’s overall chances are diminished…..but…he could repeat in the green jacket and his 2012 mountain biking time was shockingly fast. If – huge if – his basketball teammates can step up and play fast, quick, high-percentage shooting hoops, he could step up to the podium. But…he’ll need extra help, especially if he falters even slightly on the golf course.
Eric Gundrum — 150-1: Real-life is taking Eric away for the final three events, so he will need to win on the rocks and the golf course to reach the podium (with help), but….that seems unlikely (at least on the golf course). He has, however, provided the absolute best basketball jerseys for Team Guinness…(and I can’t find a single picture of that elusive bastard)
John Coliano and Brecht Palombo — 150-1 (each): Rookies have traditionally done well, but those years included expectations in the scoring….so John and Brecht will have to overcome 5 years of experience and a basketball teammate prone to wandering off to the keg in mid-game.
On Saturday afternoon, August 2, the following teams will take the court, order of match-ups to be determined:
Hoosiers: JP, Chris Doyle, and Mike Graf (last year’s runners-up, looking for revenge)
Cubed: Steve Ball, Steve Otto, and Steve Schukraft (easily the best dressed last year, with their cool shirts)
Granite: Chris Roy, Chris Heffernan, and Danno (pound for pound, the most like their team name)
Styx: Eric Shimp, Gary Cavanaugh, and Eric Marshall
Bill Dow’s Little Leaguers: Eric Lapham, Jason Madden, and Tom Gustafson
Guinness: Tom McParland, Eric Gundrum, and me
Please remember — all this is subject to change, as players’ schedules and/or injuries may preclude them from making the basketball stage of the race. In the event we need to mix up the teams, we will…
and a few more pictures from hoops over the years:
on Saturday evening, these three formed the first team for ELLT 2013 basketball
yes, they also locked in their team color….if any one of them learns how to handle the ball, play the point, and defend against an outside shot, they could be the team to beat….
After some pre-race grumblings that the Race Director stacked the teams to guarantee his first-ever medal, the results showed how evenly matched the field was:
Team 1: Madden, Cavanaugh, and Gus won 2 games
Team 2: Moeling, Shimp, and PHeffernan won 3 games (before the final)
Team 3: JP, Mike, and Fes won 3 games (before the final)
Team 4: Danno, Chris H and Chris R won 2 games
Team 5 got shut out, but its worth noting that due to an injury on the bikes, we had to draw names at Red Hook to determine which player from the 4-person Locals would join Team 5 and Eric Marshall was the lucky/unlucky guy.
And building on 2011’s team t-shirt, multiple teams this year brought out their colors, with the red and green teams, in particular setting the bar high for years to come.
The final game was to be to 9, win-by-two, as everyone was well-exhausted, but once we reached 9, we needed to establish a cut-off. 15, win-by-one…and both teams had multiple chances to close out before we finally got to 14-14.
Given the close, intense competition, I am pretty sure the red team wants to stick together next year, for anther crack at the now defending champs.
Chris Heffernan drives. Yeah, that’s clean hoops…
and Fes simply says, “scoreboard”
look at Gary’s mad hops…crazy elevation on that “jump” shot
ahhhhhh…..this is what happens after 4 events in 2 days
Gotta be the shoes
to be clear, what Ben is doing in the following 2 pictures is legal
and whatever they’re all doing here is ok by the rules
what pure hoops looks like….
that is not boxing out
seriously, look at the elevation by both players….
and finally, why we play…..