Vail resident wins seventh Steamboat Pentathlon


— Mike Kloser planned to compete in the Steamboat Pentathlon for five years before moving on.

On Saturday, the Vail resident won his seventh in a row on the standard course, distancing himself from the field in the cross country race before riding and running to victory in 1 hour, 53 minutes and 10 seconds.

Last year he won in 2:02:30.

"I said after five I was done," Kloser, 43, said Saturday. "It's just so fun. I love to do it all. That's the great thing about this event. You don't have to be the best at one thing, you can be good at them all."

Kloser has toured the world as a racer, competing in such places as the base of Mount Everest in Asia or in 100-degree heat in Mexico.

But he has a special place in his super-healthy heart for Steamboat and its pentathlon because of days like Saturday, when the temperatures are in the mid-40s and the community is gathered in the transition area cheering him on -- or directing him to the exits for the next stage.

"You'd think I would know where they're at by now," Kloser said.

A total of 180 competitors completed the 12th annual Steamboat Pentathlon Saturday; 44 raced on the longer standard course, including Kloser.

The standard course consisted of five stages: a 400-foot climb up Howelsen Hill to ski/snowboard 400 feet back down, a 2.5-mile snowshoe, a 4.5-mile cross country ski, a 12-mile mountain bike ride and a 5-mile run.

A baseball field at the base of Howelsen Hill served as the transition area between each event for all competitors.

The shorter course was a 400-foot ski race, a 1.5-mile snowshoe run, a 2.25-mile cross country ski, a 7.4-mile mountain bike and a 2-mile run to wrap things up.

Kris Boyce, 39, was the overall winner in 1:20:40.

Bob Dapper and Dan Smilkstein created the Steamboat Pentathlon 12 years ago. Twenty competitors took part in the inaugural event, including Dapper and Smilkstein. This year, after 11 years of competing as individuals, the pair teamed up to form the Old and Older team. The duo, at a combined age of 106, finished second.

They were actually winning with one mile remaining in the race before Dapper, who also downhill and cross-country skied on Saturday, was passed.

The Incognito Unicorns of Carl Pelletier and John Tucker finished first in 2:01:11. Old and Older crossed in 2:03:05.

"It was nice to do this as a duo and beat the young bucks," Smilkstein said. "We didn't want to give this up. It's what keeps us going."

Steamboat resident Katherine Zambrana took first in the women's division of the standard course, topping Melissa Thomas and Betsy Kalmeyer with a time of 2:17:55.

Splattered with mud, Zambrana broke into a huge smile as she crossed the finish line.

"This was the hardest pentathlon I've done because of my lack of training due to work," she said. "It's a good early season race. It's nice to see your results and it's fun to see everyone that's out here."

Zambrana, a standout mountain biker, was able to distance herself from Kalmeyer during Stage 4 of the race and held off both Kalmeyer and Thomas, a professional triathlete, in the 5-mile run to win.

The Steamboat Storm won the Female Team division with a time of 2:28:55. Team members were Deb Rose, Kim Bonner, Lisa Owen and Diane Anderson.

The Coed Team winner was Team Christy Sports in 2:03:05 with Chuck O'Connell, Gina Norton, Heidi Hannah, Mike Lloyd and Dennis Meeker.

The Youth Team winner was the two-person team of Dylan and Dawson Stucki.

The Stuckis are from Gunnison but opted to drive up to Steamboat to compete in their second Steamboat Pentathlon. Their first was seven years ago when Dylan was 7 and Dawson was 5. This year. they did all five events on their own, winning in 1:24:44.

"We got a thing in the mail and decided to do it," Dylan said. "We'll probably do it again next year. We just wanted to come out and have fun."

Dylan snowshoed and biked, while Dawson skied, cross-country skied and ran.

Steamboat Parks and Recreation Services put on the 12th annual event Saturday.


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