Judy Flannery's dream of riding her bicycle across the United States ended tragically last April. A car driven by an unlicensed driver crossed the center line and struck and killed the world-class triathlete from Chevy Chase as she rode her bike on a suburban road in Montgomery County.
Four months later, Towson resident Lyn Brooks and three other triathletes who form "Team Judy Flannery" will try to bring that dream to closure by participating in the 16th annual Race Across America.
"Judy was training for this race when she was killed and her family wanted this to continue," Brooks said. "They asked me to participate in May and I've been preparing ever since."
Brooks, who has completed the Ironman triathlon in Hawaii a record 17 times, and teammates Sally Edwards of Sacramento, Calif., Rita Simpson of Boulder, Col., and Valerie Gattis of Louisville, Ky., will begin their 3,025-mile, nonstop journey from Irvine, Calif., to Savannah, Ga., on Sunday morning.
With the help of a support team, which includes a mechanic, a cook, a doctor and a massage therapist, the foursome will spend the next seven to eight days taking turns at the handlebars.
"The normal pattern will be two of us working and rotating for four to six hours and two of us resting. Then we'll switch," Brooks said. "One of us will always be biking. We won't miss a second. We're just supposed to shut up and ride. All of our energy is supposed to go into riding."
Flannery's husband, Dennis, is scheduled to meet the race's only all-female team at the finish line and one of the Flannery's five children, daughter Erin, will travel with the team to make a documentary on the race.
A portion of the money raised through the event will go to the Rails to Trails Conservancy and another part will help support a driver safety program as it relates to sharing the roads with cyclists.
Donations payable to Team Judy Flannery may be sent to the Rails and Trails Conservancy, 1100 17th St., N.W., 10th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20036.
Daily race updates will be available on the Internet at www.railtrails.org.
Pub Date: 7/25/97