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September 2000

Up the hill and down memory lane

HAO did so well in the 1982 relay race that Med Medrud got suspicious.

It all began on 29 August 1980, when 21 cyclists and 23 runners stormed the mesa road in the first annual NCAR "Up-the-Hill Classic." Race official Bill Kohri (Employee Activities Committee) told the cyclists, "There are no rules. Just stay on the road." Two decades later, the race is a UCAR/NCAR institution.

The 21st annual running/cycling takes place this Friday, 8 September, with a bow to the 40th anniversary of UCAR and NCAR. In honor of the event (and since it's hard to get out of anniversary mode this year), we present on page 2 and 3 a look at some of the people who've made up-the-hill history. A complete rundown of race winners since 1980, along with complete results from 1994 on, can be found on the EAC Web site.

Staff Notes Monthly asked a few frequent participants in the up-the-hill races to share their thoughts on this September tradition.


Dave "The Dave" Albo, running

How often? 11 times

Best year and time: 1993, 8:32

Why do you do it? A mix of challenge, tradition, insanity

Your ideal weather: Cool and cloudy, no wind

Memorable race moment: 1990, beating Carl Mohr by outkicking him to take third place

Participating this year? Most likely

Any other comments? This is a seriously hard race, short enough to go pretty fast, steep enough to not let you go very fast. It hurts a lot. Plus you can see the whole course ahead of you, which can be intimidating. It's usually hot and dry, leading to multiday coughing after the race. Andrew Crook remains unbeatable, even now that he's allegedly semiretired from racing.


Andrew "Android" Crook, running

How often? 12 years

Best year and time: 1989, 7:28 (the course record to date, although Tim Catalano—a former CU runner—came close with 7:29 in 1995)

Why do you do it? One way to get to the party at the top

Memorable race moment: 1989, when Rick Katz and I battled to the top and both broke the old course record (7:28 for Andrew and 7:32 for Rick, both beating Rick's 1981 record of 7:42)

Participating this year? Yes

Jimy Dudhia, running

How often? 8 of the last 10 times

Best year and time: 1992, 9:38

Why do you do it? Who knows? It is only ten minutes, and only five of those are actual suffering. The other five are just anticipating suffering.

Your ideal weather: 50–70°F, no wind, cloudy. Hardly ever happens.

Participating this year? Yes

Any other comments? I like the crowd support near the finish. On the other hand, hearing the distant cheers for the winner when I still have 500 meters to go is a bit demoralizing.

Deirdre Garvey, running/cycling

How often? Seven times since 1990

Best year and time: 1991, 6:39 (cycling); 1993, 9:38 (running); won women's bike and foot races both in 1990, 1993, and 1996

Why do you do it? Because my dad required me to be in a sport four seasons a year and my younger sister could beat me hollow in swimming (my first sport). Then as a teenager I decided I liked the running thing anyway and just never stopped.

Your ideal weather: The crackly-intense minutes just before or after a thunderstorm breaks

Memorable race moment: Seeing the look of astonishment on my friend's face when I came around the second corner two minutes faster than he predicted

Participating this year? No. I've been out of competition for two years with an ankle/foot injury. I just went through surgery this spring and am on the slow road back to recovery.

Any other comments? It's a lot of fun--best party of the year! I can't wait until I can do it again.


Alan Hills, cycling

How often? 12 times since 1985

Best year and time: 1990, 5:06 (the course record)

Your ideal weather: All

Memorable race moments: In my first year, the weather was real bad and it was a wild time. I thought, These NCAR people are kind of crazy. I felt at home. In 1986, I raced against David Anthes, who went on to become the NCAA cycling champion. [David is the son of UCAR president Rick Anthes, another frequent up-the- hill cyclist.] Another year I was having my annual dual with John Clyne, and as we sprinted towards the finish line he was maybe two feet ahead of me and I was perhaps going to lose for the first time. As we sprinted in, one of his supporters yelled: "This is your year, John!" That was the extra impetus I needed to beat him in the sprint.

Participating this year? Perhaps. I've had an injured knee this summer so I haven't ridden much.


Rick Katz, running/cycling

How often? Lost track of exact count. Finished first in running in 1980 (first year of race), 1981, 1983, 1987 (beating Andrew Crook!), and 1996; second in running in 1989 and 1999 (beaten by Andrew both times); second in cycling in 1987; and third in cycling in 1985.

Best year and time: 1989, 7:32 (running); 1985, 5:56 (cycling)

Why do you do it? Believe it or not, running uphill is much easier on your body than running downhill.

Your ideal weather: Because the race is so short, the temperature does not really matter much. But having no headwind really helps.

Memorable race moment: The "Bob Chervin Memorial" sign (1981), indicating the spot where he gave up in the 1980 bike race

Are you participating this year? No--I'll be out of town.

Any other comments? The advanced ages of many of the recent top finishers in both races indicate that UCAR and NCAR need an affirmative action program to recruit some younger athletic types.

Kay Levesque, running

How often: Five years since 1991

Best year and time: 11:15 in 1995

Why do you do it? I don't know.

Your ideal weather: Cool and overcast

Are you participating this year? I haven't decided yet [mid-August]. It's such a brutal race. I'm running in a marathon five days before so I think I'll decide at the last minute, based on how I feel.

Any other comments? I think it would be great if more people participated and if more people considered it a fun event instead of a big race. But then again, I wish I could win! Is Betty [Valent] ever going to slow down?


Russ "Participant Ribbon" Rew, cycling

How often? At least five years (1980, 1981, 1982, 1994, 1997)

Best year and time: 1980, 7:15

Why do you do it? To experience and appreciate the full effects of the aging process

Your ideal weather: 60°F, cloudy, wind from the northeast at 80 mph

Memorable race moment: Being passed near the top in 1997 by Stick Ware, digging deep for a final sprint, and coming up empty

Participating this year? Maybe, if my ideal weather conditions appear likely

Any other comments? My wife Juli won the women's race in 1982 in a time of 8:08. I would be happy if I could come close to that time now. I'm in awe of the racers who climb the hill in six minutes or less.


Betty Valent, running

How many years: More than ten

Best year and time: 1987, 10:28

Why do you do it? The challenge of the hill. It helps that it is of short duration.

Your ideal weather: Cool but not rainy

Participating this year? Of course!

Any other comments? I know I've run my best when I've got a little cough after the finish that says I sucked in a lot of hot air.

In this issue... Other issues of Staff Notes Monthly

Edited by Bob Henson, bhenson@ucar.edu
Prepared for the Web by Jacque Marshall
Last revised: Thu Sep 7 14:59:51 MDT 2000