For the past several months, a dedicated group of athletes has been training for the Steamboat Springs Pentathlon.
Next Saturday, that group will make the three-hour journey from Boulder to Steamboat Springs to be part of a 200-competitor field vying for titles in this year's event.
However this group, part of the Boulder Bolder training program, will come to Steamboat for the experience more than the chance to chase titles.
"It's not like we are coming there to sweep the podium," said Scott Fliegelman, training club director. "But we are looking forward to coming up there and competing. It should be a lot of fun."
This will be the first pentathlon for most of the participants in Fliegelman's group, but it will not be his first. He came to Steamboat two years ago and finished the standard course in a time of 2 hours, 14 minutes. He thinks he might have finished 15th on that day, but he knows he left Steamboat with the idea of selling the event to his training group of several hundred people.
This year, the club will bring a modest contingent, but it's a number Fliegelman expects to grow in the future.
Pentathlon coordinator Christina Freeman is glad that the club has made the Steamboat Pentathlon part of the mix. She said that between 70 percent and 75 percent of the competitors comes from the Yampa Valley. The others come from other mountain towns or the Front Range.
"We don't really advertise," Freeman said. "Most of the people who come here have heard about the event from someone else."
The pentathlon began more than a decade ago and has enjoyed a steady growth over the past several years.
On Saturday, the pentathlon athletes who take the standard course will ski 400 vertical feet, snowshoe 2.5 miles, cross country ski 4.5 miles, bike 12 miles and run five miles.
Athletes who take the short course will ski 400 vertical feet, snowshoe 1.5 miles, cross country ski 2.25 miles, bike 7.4 miles and run two miles.
There are also divisions for teams, pairs and individuals of all ages and abilities.
The pentathlon will begin 10 a.m. Saturday with a sprint up the steep slopes of Howelsen Hill to the starting line of the downhill ski.
The cost to enter the Pentathlon is $42 per individual. The cost to enter the short course as a team is $27 per team member. The deadline to enter the event is 5 p.m. Wednesday. Register by calling 879-4300.
-- To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209
or e-mail email@example.com