Steamboat Springs (USA) — Oh, Barkley Robinson may say he has fun in the annual Steamboat Pentathlon, but hang around the finish line at the downtown Steamboat Springs event and one may start to question his words. In fact, one may question whether any adult is truly taking advantage of the Pentathlon. The event drew more than 200 competitors to uphill-ski, snowshoe, x-ski, bike and run.
Robinson won the event again, dashing across snow, slush and street in the Swiss army knife of Steamboat endurance events easily fast enough to retain his titles, both the one from the actual event — pentathlon champ — and the larger one that comes along: Steamboat’s best at the most.
But what’s a satisfied grin and a hug for the wife compared to the unadulterated glee that is a team of children charging down the home stretch, escorting their final competitor to the finish line? Arms wave, children yell and laugh. Sometimes even snowballs flew.
Hannah Williams won the long course on the women’s side, and dozens of adults logged finishes they can be proud of. None did it with quite the gusto the seven teams of five children each managed. Take the Zombie Zoomers, for instance. Finn Sias, Chase Weynand, Cole Gedeon, Barret Taylor and Benton Sherman were not the fastest group. They finished sixth. You’d have never known it as the group gathered around Barret, the athlete assigned the final stage, for a run to finish-line glory.
The group of Soda Creek Elementary School fourth-graders chose their team’s name by brainstorming for cool words and combining two of the best they came up with. Their special-made zombie shirts, complete with fake blood stains, flapped in the breeze, and they finished together. “It’s really fun, and it gets everyone going,” Barret said. “Everyone was fun. It’s fun just being with your friends.”
Robinson led most of the way to win the men’s standard course to win for the third year in a row. He charged up Howelsen Hill to start the race. A former member of the U.S. Ski Team, he had little trouble carving his way back down the 400 vertical feet. One of the best cyclists in town, he scorched the 12-mile mountain biking segment. The avid cross-country skier only gained ground in a four-mile skate-ski course. The running — the 2.5 miles in snowshoes and the 5 miles on the Yampa River Core Trail — he simply endured.
It was enough to win again, this time in 1 hour, 51 minutes and 58 seconds. Brad Bingham was in second at 2:00:55, and Greg Abrahamson was third in 2:04:37. “Experience helps,” said Robinson, glancing over at the mountain of equipment that lingered in his staging area. There were chairs and mats to making changing easier. There were boots and skis, poles and a bike and enough shoes to outfit a family. “There’s a lot to this race for sure,” he said.
Williams, too, seemed to have fun on the sunny day. Her first words after crossing the finish line were, “It was hard!” After a little reflection, though, she was happy with her place and her time. She finished in 2:16:48. Jennifer Kerr was second at 2:40:31 and Caitlin Thorn was third in 2:46:36.
Jody Gale was the women’s short course winner, and T.J. Thrasher was the men’s short course champ. “It’s hard because everything is like a sprint,” Williams said. “Each event is short enough for everyone to go all out for it. It’s like sprinting for two hours. “But it was great. It was definitely worth it.”
OK, maybe the event was fun for adults, too. A few painted T-shirts would help underline the point, though.
by Joel Reichenberger (steamboattoday.com)
More Pictures (by Joel Reichenberger)
1. Barkley Robinson (USA)
1. Hannah Williams (USA)
1. Tj Thrasher (USA)
1. Jody Gale (USA)
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