Annapolis team has Pippa Middleton in rearview mirror in Race Across America

In its trek to reach Annapolis from California, an Annapolis cycling squad was slightly ahead of a team that includes Pippa Middleton — sister of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge — late Thursday as they took part in the 3,000-mile Race Across America.

The 30-year-old Pippa Middleton is completing the race with seven others to raise money for the Michael Matthews Foundation, a childhood education nonprofit, and also for the British Heart Foundation.

But Team Friends Foundation, of Annapolis, had a 60-mile lead on Middleton's team when the cyclists passed through Indiana on Thursday morning.

Meanwhile, another Annapolis-based team, Bike the US for MS, was 38 miles behind the somewhat royal train.

By 9 p.m. Thursday, Team Friends Foundation maintained a 52-mile lead, as all three teams reached parts of Ohio. Friends Foundation had about 460 miles to go to reach Annapolis, according to Tractalis, a website following the race at

The trek crosses 12 states and the Arizona desert, departing from Oceanside Calif.

Teams and solo riders are taking part in the ride. Austria's Christoph Strasser became the first rider to arrive in Annapolis, finishing the course on Wednesday in 7 days, 15 hours and 56 minutes, according to Race Across America.

Team Friends Foundation, an eight-person team raising money for local charities, became a six-person team after an accident Sunday afternoon. Dan Sundius, 50, crashed his bike in Flagstaff, Arizona, leaving him with a broken collarbone and six broken ribs, he said. Another team member, Dr. Barnaby Starr, 56, stayed behind to help him.

The riders include Sundius, Starr, Marc Brassard, Dennis Deitch, Steve Ruck, Rob Wallace, Leo Pruissen and Ben Reynolds.

The team is raising money for Ride 2 Recovery, which improves the health and wellness of healing heroes through cycling program at Military and VA locations around the United States; the Boys and Girls Club; and Dare to CARE, a group dedicated to saving lives through education, detection and prevention of heart and vascular disease.

Sandius said he and his teammates are not star struck by Middleton. He said they are more excited to be riding in the same race as David Zabriskie, a professional cyclist who has raced in the Tour de France.

Nevertheless, Middleton's participation has heightened interest, both locally and internationally. Earlier this week Rhonda Wardlaw, communications officer for the City of Annapolis, said officials were "excited to see who comes across the finish line first — Team Friends Foundation, or Ms. Middleton's team."

Team Friends Foundation and Middleton's team are expected to arrive in Annapolis Friday night. The cyclists will finish in Susan Campbell Park, according to Annapolis officials.

An earlier version of this story misidentified Christoph Strasser's home country. The Sun regrets the error.

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