Steamboat Springs Some came to win, others to finish, and even more just to soak it all in.
No matter the goal, plenty of competitors left Saturday's 17th annual Steamboat Pentathlon satisfied.
Nearly 250 competitors took part in the five-stage event, which sent hikers
up Howelsen Hill, back down on skis or snowboards, then on long treks of snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, biking and running.
"It was great," race
organizer Kit Rice said. "We had a lot of Front Range teams, and the weather was great. Last year it was sunny, but windy and sub-zero. This was great."
For some, it was all about the time. The day's warm temperatures led to fast snow and happy racers.
Michael Kloser of Vail has won the event so often he couldn't even remember how many titles he has. He added another Saturday, either his eighth or ninth. Kloser tore through the course, finishing well ahead of many competitors who took shorter routes.
He finished in 1 hour, 46 minutes and 4 seconds, nine minutes ahead of his nearest competitor.
"That's the fastest I've had here," said Kloser, who travels the globe racing in similar endurance events. "The conditions out here were really fast. The roads were dry for the bike. It was pretty good."
Dan Tomlin won the men's short course race. Jenna Gruben won the women's standard race and Jennifer Kerr won the short course race.
Plenty of the competitors the winners left in the dust still came away pleased.
"It was fun, and it was definitely a challenge," Olivia Rose said.
Olivia, 11 years old, joined with her 12-year-old friends Maddie Ruppel and Dori McNeill to complete the event, Rose taking on the snowshoe and biking segments, McNeill knocking off the two skiing events and Ruppel picking up the run.
The Steamboat Springs girls labeled themselves "Rose Buds", one of 10 youth trios to race the short course. "Triple Threat,"
featuring Lucy Franklin, Wesley Park and Krista Halsnes, was first, with "Rose Buds" coming in third.
There were 36 adult teams racing either as "dynamic duos" or as five-member teams.
"It was awesome - a great day," Olivia said. "We're definitely coming back next year."
The girls said the day's excitement was all about the thrill of the race and the challenge of the course.
Others focused their attention on the entire experience.
"I could have done a little more training," Chris Cole said, wheezing a bit after finishing the final leg of his team's race.
Cole was a part of one of the Steamboat Springs Rugby team's four entries, three men's teams and one women's. The entire group spent the sunny spring day toasting its success and barbecuing in the middle of the pentathlon's staging area at the foot of Howelsen Hill.
It was Cole's first experience of the event.
"It was great fun," he said. "It's a beautiful day, and we got out to get a little exercise. We earned our rewards : and maybe a nap."
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