Steamboat Springs The object of Friday's Biathlon Boatercross was to win. Organizers just made it a little harder than normal.
Old kayaks were filled with rocks and paddles were smeared down with Crisco to try to prevent the entrants from coasting down the Yampa River to victory at the new "D" hole.
"The Crisco sucked," Andy Blakeslee said. "Other than that it was fun."
The Boatercross began in the parking lot next to Backdoor Sports. The first leg of the biathlon was a bike ride, but instead of using road or mountain bikes, organizers found teeny-tiny tricycles for racers to scoot around on.
Dan Brabec, one of the organizers, said the idea was to even the field out and make the event more fun than about who had the best paddling skills.
"We want the local guy to have a chance," Brabec said. "We work for a living. We can't go out and paddle all day long."
The mission was accomplished, as Blakeslee, a local guy, took third, passing several boats out on the stretch of river between the launching point and finishing line to win $50.
However, two out-of-towners took the top two places. Andrew Holcombe from North Carolina won the top prize of $200. Josh Bechtel from Oregon finished second and won $100. They were running last after the bike portion but raced to the front of the pack in the water because they were fortunate enough to get the kayaks minus the rocks and cement bricks.
The event was created to be a fun prelude to today's Freestyle Whitewater Rodeo.
David Knox said he has been in Steamboat since Tuesday practicing for the rodeo, so he was eager to take a break and enjoy an event a little more laid back than the upcoming competition.
"This is one of the most off-the-wall events I've ever seen," the Ohio native said. "It's a fun event. I wish more places did things like this."
Knox is part of a kayak group touring the West Coast, and he said Steamboat is their final stop.
Preliminary rounds of the rodeo begin at the new "D" hole around 10 a.m. It is an American Whitewater sanctioned event and will feature four classes. The whitewater rodeo finals are scheduled to begin at about 8 p.m.