Competing with style |

Competing with style

Steamboat Pentathlon participants finish races their own way

Melinda Mawdsley

Inspired. Tired. Wired. More than 270 people — a new record — took part in the 13th annual Steamboat Pentathlon on Saturday at Howelsen Hill, and almost all finished one of Steamboat’s most grueling annual events with a different expression on his or her face and a different emotion in his or her body.

Take Mike Foote, originally from Ohio. He is a student at Colorado Mountain College. Good thing he finished the short course in 1 hour, 16 minutes and 35 seconds to win, because the first of his two scheduled geology tests was slated to start 20 minutes after he finished.

Foote, an employee at Ski Haus, packed up quickly and hurried off to Tom Delancey’s class but hoped to come back for lunch after his two exams.

“This was my fifth time ever skate skiing and my first time in snowshoes,” Foote said. “But I do a lot of running.”

His running ability and quick transition off the mountain bike and onto the running course — all he did was throw down his bike and throw off his helmet — enabled him to overtake Neal Henderson for the win.

Or look at Luke Anderson. He asked his sister, Anna, if she wanted to team up to do the short course with him. She had a ski race Saturday morning and told her brother no, so Anderson decided to give the pentathlon a go on his own.

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He is 11, and he finished the 400-foot ski/snowboard, 1.5-mile snowshoe, 2.25-mile cross country ski, 7.4-mile mountain bike and 2-mile run in 1:55:35, which was 21st overall, including the short-course team results. Sean Geisler, also 11, came in 35th.

The pentathlon continues to grow in popularity, even among children, and the athletic spirit and inner drive in Steam-boat’s youth, as well as children from other towns who come to compete, is not lost on veteran racers such as Dan Smilkstein, who finished his 12th Steamboat Pentathlon on Saturday.

“I love to see the kids out here racing,” he said.

For the second straight year, Smilkstein, 53, teamed up with Bob Dapper, 54, to form Old and Older, but they continue to race alongside the young athleted. Saturday, they finished the standard course in 2:04:22, as the first team and the fourth overall.

The standard course is a 400-foot ski/snowboard down Howelsen Hill, followed by a 2.5-mile snowshoe, a 4.5-mile cross country ski, a 12-mile mountain bike race and a five-mile run.

“Dan goes hard on the bike, and I hang on for dear life in the run,” Dapper said.

Melissa Krause, 14, was warming up her hands for her 5-mile run as she awaited the return of teammate Greg Ingalls from his mountain bike leg. Team Nordic, made up of Krause, Ingalls, Mary Rose and Kyle Steitz accidentally signed up for the standard course instead of the shorter one. They decided to compete anyway. All are 14 or younger, and they finished in 2:32:18, ahead of 17 other duos or teams.

Cold and windy conditions did little to hamper the mood at the Howelsen Hill base on Saturday, but it made That ’70s Team’s transition area — complete with continually running disco music — a popular place to warm up by dancing.

For the hoards of physically fit — or at least active — members of Routt County and beyond, the Steamboat Pentathlon quenches the thirst to race and the need to gather socially as the end of winter looms.

Taking top honors in the men’s standard race were Thad Reichley in first in 1:55:09, Julian Underwood in second and Barkley Robinson in third. On the women’s side, Julie Hudetz came in first in 2:25:15, Hailey Garside took second, and Jill Adelstein came in third in the standard race.

In the short-course race, Foote was first in 1:16:53, Henderson was second, and Kris Boyce was third on the men’s side. For the women, Lisa Shik was the top individual with a time of 1:34:25. Angela Silvernail came in second, and Linda Kimbrell was third.

The top male standard team was Sore Saddle Cyclery in 2:06:17. Team members were Chris Oppold, Andrew Gunn, Marc Bennett, Mitchell Buck and Ethan Johnson. The top female standard team was Backcountry Sand-Witches in 2:24:56. Team members were Kelly Boniface and Amy Brown. The top coed standard team was Christi Sports with a time of 2:11:13. Team members were Chuck O’Connell, Gina Norton, Keith Liefer, Mike Lloyd and Dennis Meeker. The top youth standard team was Team Nordic in 2:32:18. Team members were Steitz, Ingalls, Rose and Krause.

The top Dynamic Duo team, exclusively reserved for two competitors was Old and Older in 2:04:22. Members were Smilkstein and Dapper.

The top open team in the short-course race was That ’70s Team in 1:27:04. Team members were David Wittlinger and Matt Jacquart. The pair not only fared well in the race but also delighted the crowd with a series of costume changes that tied in with their theme.

The top short youth team was Tres Amigos in 1:23:20. They were also the first team in overall. Team members were Dawson Stucki, Dylan Stucki and Bridger Root.

— To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail

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