Mike Secrest of Flint, Mich., who has led the McDonald's Race Across America since the fourth day out of San Francisco, entered the final stage yesterday holding a two-hour lead over Mike Trail of Colville, Wash., after passing through the Romney, W.Va., checkpoint at 3:15 p.m.
Trail overtook Bobby Forney of Evergreen, Colo., for second Friday evening and has been the only one to remain close to Secrest, who, after climbing the Appalachians, has maintained a 13.7-mph pace.
Austria's Franz Spilauer passed a struggling Forney Sunday night and trailed the first two riders by nearly 100 miles yesterday afternoon.
Romney is the fifth checkpoint station, 141 miles from the finish at the Washington Monument. After making adjustments for the tiring effects of crossing a second mountain range (the riders negotiated the Rockies early in the race), the leader was expected to arrive at the Monument at 2 a.m. today.
Casey Patterson of Topanga, Calif., leads the women, as she has from the start, and passed through Brazil, Ind., 667 miles from Washington, at 3:50 p.m. yesterday. She is in 16th place overall and Cheryl Marek of Seattle, who is in 17th, was 50 miles behind her. Marie Costellic of Mount Pleasant, Pa., was three stations away from St. Louis at that time.
The women are expected to finish 48 hours after the men.