Competitors bring the family to 23rd Steamboat Pentathlon
March 8, 2014
Steamboat Springs — In multisport races such as the Steamboat Pentathlon, the ones who finish atop the podium are those who master efficiency.
Aside from pure athleticism, aerodynamic handlebars on the bike and finely tuned skate skis are the little details that give racers an edge in the Pentathlon. For three competitors, it was not about efficiency or getting the best time. If it was, they would not have brought their young children and pulled and pushed them around in a carriage.
"We like to do stuff with our kids," Eric Rabesa said when asked why he brought along his 3-year-old daughter Isabella. "We're hoping that more people will do it in the future. We'll make it a new class."
Rabesa was joined in the unofficial carriage class by friends Robbie Shine and Graham Muir. Muir towed his 4-year-old daughter, Zoe, and Shine had 17-month-old Emery.
Because it was potentially dangerous, the kids were left at the base of the Howelsen Hill for the first leg of the 23rd annual event, which started with a run up the ski hill and then skiing or snowboarding down. Then they picked up the kids and pulled them in carriages for a grueling snowshoe run and skate ski on the bluffs overlooking town, a mountain bike ride on River Road and a final 2-mile run on the Yampa River Core Trail.
"You think there is a lot of gear for the Pentathlon?" Rabesa asked. "Add in the baby stuff. I had to stop and open a juice box."
Zoe entertained herself with an iPad while Dad tried not to start going backward while pulling the carriage up the steep hills on the skate ski. Zoe got out for the final sprint, which she said was her favorite part of the race.
Race Director David Stevenson said 260 people participated in this year's event, which is organized by the city of Steamboat Springs. There were 63 people who did the long and short courses individually and 48 teams. The numbers were similar to last year’s.
It would have been hard for racing conditions to be better. The skies were clear, the concrete was dry and it cooled off enough overnight to create firm snow conditions for the snowshoe run and skate-ski legs of the race.
"The weather is half the battle," Stevenson said, recalling the snowstorm that racers battled during the 2013 race. "If we get weather like this, it's awesome."
About 35 city employees and volunteers staffed the race.
"We couldn't do it without the volunteers," Stevenson said.
This was Stevenson's second year helping run the race, and he wants it to grow in popularity.
"It's got a real loyal following," he said. "It's become very in line with what we do out here. We ski a lot, and we bike a lot."
Barkley Robinson finished the long course first for the men with a time of 1 hour, 52 minutes and 16 seconds. Tammy Jacques was the first female finisher with a time of 2:09:27.
In the short course, Jeff Minotto was the first male finisher with a time of 1:15:55. Heather Gollnick was first for the women with a time of 1:18:28.
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