Kloser to the top

Nearly 200 competitors race in 15th Steamboat Pentathlon


— The Steamboat Pentathlon is the newest addition to Christian Kloser's growing list of athletic endeavors.

"I snowshoe, bike, and do triathlons -- only winter ones," he said.

Like father, like son.

Christian Kloser may be 12, but love of endurance sports is in his blood, as he watched father Mike Kloser, 46, win Saturday's Steamboat Pentathlon for the eighth time. His winning time was 1:48.14. Christian Kloser competed solo in the short course, passing "quite a few" people on the 7.4-mile bike ride.

"The people looked at me and tried to speed up," Christian Kloser said.

Christian finished in 1:32.30, placing seventh overall in the race at Howelsen Hill.

Mike Kloser, whose daughter Heidi was competing in a Rocky Mountain Division freestyle meet Saturday in Steamboat Springs, is a former eco-challenge racer and world champion mountain bike racer.

"The way I look at it, I like to know the best of the best is here," Mike Kloser said.

After the first stage of Saturday's pentathlon -- the run up Howelsen Hill and the 400-foot ski or snowboard descent to the transition area -- Mike Kloser wasn't in the lead.

His deficit was short-lived, however, when he overtook his male competitors in the standard course division on the 2.5-mile snowshoe run.

"I like to get a little lead out of the ski area, even if it's a couple seconds," Kloser said.

Mike Kloser and runner-up Dan Nielson are from the Beaver Creek and Vail areas, respectively. Steamboat's Bark--ley Robinson was third in the standard-course division.

Steamboat's Billy Van Ness and Eve Stephanson were the men and women's short-course champions.

Stephanson's win Saturday in 1:22.53 was her second consecutive at the Steamboat Pentathlon. Van Ness, healthy for the event for the first time in four years, finally got his win, crossing the finish line in 1:18.27.

"I didn't want to ease up and lose it," Van Ness said. "It was fun. This is like my favorite event. I look forward to it all year."

Van Ness -- and most competitors in the 15th annual Steamboat Pentathlon -- didn't train specifically for Saturday's race. His typical winter slate includes activities such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

"You get out and do the things you love," he said.

Stephanson was not only the top female in the short course, but she also was the fourth overall finisher.

"I do a lot of skate skiing," she said. "I just go one speed the whole time. The crowd really cheers you on."

Stephanson had an additional cheerleader. Andrew Hyde, Stephanson's boyfriend, was with her for most of the race before pulling ahead of her in the 2-mile run, taking third in the men's division. Paul Franklin was second.

"I beat him on the ski and passed him on the bike," Stephanson said. Hyde passed her back on the snowshoe run and later on the run.

Mariko Guziur made a mad dash in the final 100 meters, overtaking Jennifer Korr to finish second in the women's short-course competition. Korr was third.

The short course was a 400-foot Alpine ski or snowboard leg, a 1.5-mile snowshoe run, a 2.25-mile cross-country ski leg, a 7.4-mile mountain bike leg and a 2-mile run.

The standard course was a 400-foot Alpine ski or snowboard leg, a 2.5-mile snowshoe run, a 4-mile cross-country ski leg, a 12-mile mountain bike leg and a 5-mile run.

Participants in the 15th annual Steamboat Pentathlon had the option of competing solo or in a team.

The coed team race in the standard division came down to Christy Sports and Creekside Cafe, with Creekside winning after a great mountain-bike leg from Marko Ross-Bryant and a run completed by Matt Hill.

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com


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