Tag Archives: Steve Schukraft

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.

DSC02728

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.

Tom

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.

ellt-2009-bikes-and-beer-maybe-the-logo-for-ellt.jpg

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ELLT 2013 Hoops — These are your teams

On Saturday afternoon, August 2, the following teams will take the court, order of match-ups to be determined:

DSC04890

Hoosiers: JP, Chris Doyle, and Mike Graf (last year’s runners-up, looking for revenge)

Team Hickory

Cubed: Steve Ball, Steve Otto, and Steve Schukraft (easily the best dressed last year, with their cool shirts)

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Granite: Chris Roy, Chris Heffernan, and Danno (pound for pound, the most like their team name)

ELLT 2012 Hoops Chris Chris Jason rugby

Styx: Eric Shimp, Gary Cavanaugh, and Eric Marshall

ELLT 2012 Hoops Gary gets serious

Bill Dow’s Little Leaguers: Eric Lapham, Jason Madden, and Tom Gustafson

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Guinness: Tom McParland, Eric Gundrum, and me

Tom McP and a black and tan

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:

ELLT 2010 post-hoopsELLT 2009 Hoops - 21 yearsELLT 2009 Hoops the Steves play tightELLT 2012 Hoops Ben plays defenseELLT 2011 Ben and Eric M get ready for hoopsELLT 2009 Hoops - game-winning shotELLT 2011 Basketball JP and Eric not a foul -close upDSC02671ELLT 2009 Hoops - Gary shooting hoopsELLT 2009 Hoops Patrick with the runner off the pick

ELLT 2012: Basketball

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.

ELLT 2012 Hoops Green shorts

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…

ELLT 2012 Hoops 1 Fes and Chris

and Fes simply says, “scoreboard”

ELLT 2012 Hoops 2 Fes and Chris and JP

look at Gary’s mad hops…crazy elevation on that “jump” shot

ELLT 2012 Hoops 3 Gary shoorts

ahhhhhh…..this is what happens after 4 events in 2 days

ELLT 2012 Hoops 4 Steve Ball

Gotta be the shoes

ELLT 2012 Hoops 8 gotta be the shoes

to be clear, what Ben is doing in the following 2 pictures is legal

 

ELLT 2012 Hoops 9 no that is not a foul by Ben ELLT 2012 Hoops Ben plays defense

and whatever they’re all doing here is ok by the rules

ELLT 2012 Hoops Chris Chris Jason rugby

what pure hoops looks like….

ELLT 2012 Hoops Danno is Ray Allen

 

that is not boxing out

 

ELLT 2012 Hoops 6 not boxing out

seriously, look at the elevation by both players….

ELLT 2012 Hoops 7 note the elevation

 

and finally, why we play…..

 

ELLT 2012 Hoops 5 Why we play

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)

2 Days and a Wake-Up: Time for the Overall Odds

Echoing last year, 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. That $25 covers the keg and a shirt, not a bookie fee.
  • The Commissioner confirmed over the weekend that reaching the overall podium requires completing all four stages of the race. Appeals to The Commissioner can be made at any time (good luck with that)

Odds of winning 1st Place Overall in the 2012 East Luray Liars Triathlon

Dan Moore (2011 champion, 2008 3rd place) — 87-1: Danno remains in contention for rock climbing (since he didn’t come in 1st in 2011). His golf game still sucks, he is out of contention for mountain biking, as only one other racer has even been to Stratham Hill and no one has previewed the time trial. In hoops, he’ll have youth and quickness, which may create some solid defense…but not sure any one of the Granite Staters can sink a shot. A win on the rocks and placing in golf and hoops….maybe, but pretty unlikely he’ll be the first repeat champion.

Eric Shimp (2010 champion) — 30-1: Eric will very likely medal in golf (provided Lapham’s math skillz don’t hold up). He is unlikely to medal in climbing (although expectations for him are now low) and unlikely to medal on the bikes. He’s lost his wicked fast wing man in hoops. A first ever repeat champion seems unlikely….but…Eric does lead the field in “Diminishing Expectations Through Reporting Injuries,” including photos and notes from his doctors…..so, a 1st, a 3rd, a couple solid performances…who knows.

JP Ratajczak (2008 champion) — 30-1: The only difference between JP and Eric is golf. And slightly lower expectations on the rocks. And JP has been training on the bikes. And through the wonderful miracle of birth, JP now has the inner strength that comes with being a father (but he isn’t an old man, yet, so he doesn’t have Cavanaugh-like strength). It’s been many years since JP even stood on the final 3 podium… JP could be the first-ever repeat champion.

Ben Moeling (2011 2nd place)— 30-1: The “Herat Handicap” which may have helped last year has been replaced by higher expectations. Much higher. For Ben to repeat he needs to, 1) climb something no one else can; 2) beat Chris Roy on the bikes by more than double the margin Chris beat him last year; 3) set at least on decent pick in every game of hoops. He nails that trifecta and he’s on the podium again.

Eric Lapham (2010 2nd place) — 350-1: Eric will miss two stages, but one of those is a team event. And the two stages he’ll race — climbing and golf — he could potentially medal in, if not outright win (in 2010, he tied for 2nd on the rocks and won at golf). If Lapham is sitting on two 1st place finishes and the next two stages produce 6 winners without another stage win…we’ll still text him with a picture of the overall winners (unless The Commissioner has a change of heart)

Steve Otto (2009 2nd place) — 8-1: Otto got screwed in 2011 because the field slanted heavily towards the rock climbers and mountain bikers, stages that Otto did well in, but faced crazy steep competition. This year, the golfing will be tougher, but expectations for the rocks and bikes will be higher, too. With plenty of training and the return of his wingman, Otto could medal in climbing, golf, and mountain biking. In hoops…well…one of his teammates was on a champion team once. And that same teammate coached youth basketball this year. If he doesn’t depend on hoops, Otto will be well-positioned for a return to the overall top 3.

Steve Ball (2008 2nd place) — 10-1: Steve’s podium finish in 2008 came from the perfect ELLT strategy: low expectations, a strong liver, and good luck. This year he adds training, experience, and a year off to rest. He also increased his basketball IQ by coaching youth sports, although that may prove useful on his team. He’s done a minimal amount of pre-race whining about his physical condition…he has improved his mixing skills…his odds look really, really good.

Steve Schukraft (2011 3rd Place) — 35-1: Last year’s podium finished was based on exceeding expectations and maintaining a steady, consistent pace throughout the race. This year, expectations are higher and the one stage that really pushed him onto the podium – hoops – may be a liability this year. Steve would need to medal on the rocks and the bikes to have any chance. No question he has been training, just uncertain whether that will pay off.

Mike Graf – 15-1: 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.

Chris Doyle — 9-1: Returning from a couple years off, bringing mad mountain bike skillz and blessed with solid hoops teammates…even a crap golf game and less-than-expectations on the rocks probably won’t be enough to keep Fes off the overall podium (shorter: expectations are way high)

Eric Marshall — 8-1: Here is your 2012 Easy-Money-Lock Grey Horse contender, a true mudder. Rocks and hoops are question marks, but golf and mountain biking should not only be guaranteed medals, but improved over last year, which is always a significant factor in the overall standings.

Jason Madden — 15-1: By running the entire race this year, Jason’s odds improve significantly. He’ll be a rookie on the rocks (sometimes an advantage in the scoring) and I have no idea what his golf game is like. For hoops, he’s got the home court advantage. It comes down to the bikes — a better time trial and he could reach the podium.

Chris Heffernan — 15-1: Seriously, this could be Chris’ year. Low expectations for everything except hoops, but a basketball team that could cause trouble for the favorites. Improved golf skills. Always dangerous on the rocks. And coming off a magna cum laude performance.

Gary Cavanaugh — 80-1: Skipping climbing diminishes Gary’s chances, but I think The Commissioner would make a qualified exception if Gary wins golf and he medals on the bikes and his team pulls out an unimaginable hoops victory. Possible? Yeah, about 80-1 chance…

Chris Roy — 200:-1: Last year’s assessment is almost still all true — “Chris will only join us for hoops and his team is top-ranked in all the pre-season polls (again). He needs total chaos in the first three events to take first overall.” His hoops team is no longer top-ranked in the pre-season polls, but lowered expectations could help. Chaos on day one could help him.

Tom Gustafson — 150-1: Although a rookie (which usually translate to better-than-expected podium finishes), Tom is not climbing, skipping the first 2 stages of the race and severely diminishing his overall chances. Rumint says he is a better than scratch golfer and may topple both Lapham and Otto. His biking skills are based on 2am rides home from the pub. And he is rumored to play hoops like a skier. Just hope the green jacket fits him.

ELLT Pic of the Day (#200)

Third Place Overall in 2011 means more intense training for 2012

Handicapping the 2012 Field: Steve Schukraft

Steve Schukraft

2011 Third Place Overall 

Strengths:

  • As noted in 2011, “crafty bike and rock skills…not mad skillz, just quiet, respectable, keeping-expectations-low-while-doing-well skills” Those quiet skillz led to 3rd place overall.
  • Credentials…Steve actually lived on East Luray, an automatic check in the “win” column
  • Channels Steve McQueen, when necessary

Weaknesses:

  • Golf and hoops…in 2011, we questioned whether these were “strengths disguised as weaknesses,” but we now know without question these are weaknesses
  • Questionable taste in music – a little too much Depeche Comode and a little too much animosity towards country
  • Sophomore over-expectations…not from the judges’ perspectives, but Steve’s own perception that he can handle the weekend with less caution and careful pacing. Add into that the return of Mix Master Steve Ball and Mr. Schukraft may be struggling to keep up this year

Past Performances:

In his rookie race (2011), Steve was quietly competent at soccer, quietly skilled on the rocks, uninterested in golf, slower than expected in the mountain biking time trial (but quietly consistent during the 5.5 hour pre-ride), and quietly persistent at basketball, contributing to the 3rd place team. With low expectations and consistent performance, he took home 3rd overall. Steve then added an extra event to the triathlon – climbing Mt Washington. (Race Director note: curious how none of these pictures are of Steve actually doing anything during the triathlon. We may need to revisit the scoring from last year. Endnote)

Expectations for 2012:

This is Steve’s path back to the podium: be one of only three racers to successfully climb whatever route becomes the “Spiderman-Ben” of this year’s triathlon; get a hole-in-one or some other spectacular shot, nabbing third place in golf; not fall off the bike during the time trial, even though everyone else does;  master the pick-n-roll with Steve Otto and successfully keep Steve Ball away from the ball and the basket. Odds of any 1 of those 4 things happening: 50-1. But, Steve does has a talent for finding the best advice and may just find a way to win…