Tag Archives: Otto

2 Days and a wake-up — odds

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.

  • these “odds” are informational only, as the House is not actually taking bets. $30 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

Trophy Last Day in Virginia

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.

JP with the trophy

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.

Eric Marshall and turtles

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.

ELLT 2011 Danno Chistmas time

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…

Number 89 New York Jets

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.

ELLT 2010 Lapham unhappy in second place

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.

ELLT 2012 Steve Ball Nationals Fan

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.

ELLT 2011 Post Race Steve S 3rd overall

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.

Graf before biking

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…

ELLT 2009 Chris and Maureen post race

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.

ELLT 2011 mountain biking Jason at rest

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.

ELLT 2012 Hoops Chris Chris Jason rugby

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.

ELLT 2012 Hoops Gary gets serious

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.

ELLT 2012 Hoops Gus and Danno

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)

black and tan

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.



Handicapping the Field: Otto

Otto is the reigning ELLT Champion, 2012’s Iron Man with an Iron Skull.

ELLT 2012 Otto crash helmet

before we get to the details, a couple more pictures….

Otto post-race



  • As in previous years, Chara-like training regime in the off-season. While other Cheats & Liars are consuming bacon-swirled Manhattans, deep-fried doubled-dipped potatoes, and martinis, Otto is crushing 10Ks, doubling up on P90X, and tearing up the batting cages. And according to the Alexandria Peace & Love Yoga Studio, Otto’s cleanses are “tantric”
  • As noted before 2012’s ELLT, a top golf game, easily in the Final Foursome. And the experience of winning twice, which may be of greater value than the close competitors realize (Mr. Lapham, please step forward)
  • Fearless bike skillz….(but see below)
  • Sneaky basketball skills…Otto consistently throws up good stats, even if he gets hobbled by his teammates…you know, this used to be a strength, but the more I think about it, the less sneaky and strenghty it seems….

ELLT 2011 Post Race Otto and the Green JWeaknesses:

A penchant for vodka martinis and a tendency to run into trees at full speed….that’s not too many weaknesses.


Past Performances:

In 2008, Otto captured 1st in golf and, honestly, had a much better mountain bike ride than the third place winner that year (in that event). Otto’s best two performances, however, took place at the very start of the race, when Otto managed to throw-up in his mouth during the car ride to Rumney, avoiding what would have been disqualification and ex-communication by The Commissioner. Otto then quietly and stealthily puked while at the rocks, preserving forever his DNA in New Hampshire’s stones.In 2009, Otto took 3rd in climbing, thanks to a diet less-steeped in gin and tonics and an adherence to Mark Olson’s theory of the pink triangle. Otto then took 2nd in golf, the first racer ever to medal in two events on the same day. His mountain biking was ehhh and his hoops team sucked (0 wins, although maybe not all Otto’s fault). Based on his ground-breaking first day, Otto took home 2nd place overall.

Otto missed 2010 but in 2011, Otto returned and reclaimed his green jacket. He also had a strong showing on the rocks, the bikes, and the court (his team came in second). In 2012, Otto’s strong showing on the rocks (1st) and incredible bike ride, plus a scattered set of wins across the field, led to his overall championship.

Expectations for 2013

Otto could repeat. If he can stay on his bike, stay on the rocks, stay on his golf game….he could repeat, especially now with expectations at zero. But….climbing is getting tighter and tougher, and Ben and Danno are back in contention. Golf will include Gus, Lapham, Shimp, Marshall, and Cavanaugh — any three of those fellas could beat Otto on any given day. We all know Otto’s time trial time will be in the top 5….but top 3? And hoops…actually, this year his Secret Weapon isn’t Steve Ball’s gin and tonics but the basketball wisdom Steve Ball now has….so….maybe….possibly….may take a small miracle.

Otto 1

Pic of the Day

DSC02671Otto was for equality long before Facebook got littered with those red “equals” signs….

Pic of the Day






Continuing with the basketball theme…that is called the Man-2-Man Muddler Defense

ELLT 2009 Hoops the Steves play tight



Pic of the Day

by request


Pic of the Day

cheers to Steve Otto on his marathon….

ELLT 2012 Mountain Biking: 24:41/No Apologizations

After 3 years at Willowdale, we moved mountain biking to Stratham Hill in New Hampshire, as previewed here.

The ride included some long climbs, beautiful descents, long stretches of skiing like easy traverses, and only scary moments navigating tricky rocks (ok, scary only for some riders).

Chris Heffernan and Steve Ball managed to ride well, despite being encumbered with hard-tail, no front-suspension bikes, while Eric Marshall again sported his trademark hockey helmet.

For the time trial, we rode straight up to the lookout and then straight back down. We skipped course markers as we had all seen the trail early in the long ride and it was fairly simple — up the double-track and into the clearing, go right, 20 yards later go left. If you go straight, you’re off course. Despite the instructions, a couple racers got lost, leading to a 21 minute difference between the winning time and the longest time. Congratulations, though, to Steve Ball. He can skip the time trial for the next four years and just apply some of his 24:41 minutes to those races.

Of the racers who didn’t get lost, Chris Heffernan set the outside time of 8+ minutes and Tom Gustafson – supposedly on his first mountain bike ride ever — shocked the field with a sub-6 minute ride. Based on 2011 results, the racers crashed through the course, tearing it up faster and faster….except for Steve Otto, who seriously crashed.

More pictures after the final results. And if you missed the links above, its absolutely worth watching the videos: downhill and uphill. And its worth noting that the time differences this year were incredibly small: the first three riders were separated by 7 seconds. The next three riders were separated by 24 seconds. And 6th through 9th place were separated by 15 seconds. Next year, we may need to hire professional time keepers.

Best Time: Danno (3:30)

Winner: Moeling (3:33)

2nd Place: Roy (3:37)

3rd Place: Ratajczak (4:25)

4th: Patrick (4:44)

5th: Marshall (4:49)

6th: Tom Gustafson (5:12)

7th: Shimp (5:13)

8th: Schukraft (5:16)

9th: Madden (5:27)

10th: Graf (6:59)

11th: Chris Heffernan (8:57)

12th: Otto (9:12)*

13th: Doyle: (22:21)

14th: Ball (24:41)