Can Am sled dog races under way

Posted Feb. 28, 2009, at 1:27 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 27, 2011, at 9:02 a.m.

FORT KENT, Maine — The last team in the Can Am Crown 250 barely had time to get out of town before the first finisher in the Can Am 30 arrived back at Lonesome Pine Ski Lodge on Saturday.

Genevieve Telmosse of Vals-Des-Lacs, Quebec, completed the course with a time of two hours, 16 minutes and 50 seconds, shaving nearly 17 minutes off her 2008 winning time.

“There are still a lot of other good teams out there,” Telmosse said just after crossing the finish line. “I’ll know later on today how we did.”

Diane Marquis of St. Hugues, Quebec, who finished the course with a time of 02:15:37, edged Telmosse out of first place.

A hard rain Friday night, followed by rapidly dropping temperatures made for some fast trail conditions.

“I didn’t have time to look at the scenery,” Telmosse said. “The trail was so hard (packed) it was not hard to beat my time from last year.”

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Seventy-eight mushers took off down Fort Kent’s West Main Street this morning spread among the Can Am 30, 60 and 250-mile races in front of a crowd numbering in the thousands.

Temperatures hovering between 5 and 10-degrees felt more like 10-below-zero due to winds that gusted up to 30 mph at the race start.

“These dogs are ready to rock and roll,” Matt Carstens, a Can Am 250 musher and winner of the 2006 race, said Saturday morning as his dogs barked and jumped in their harnesses. “They are going psycho on me.”

Twelve dogs in front of him holding on to the leaders was Carsten’s mother Beth Carstens.

“Matt’s going to do the best job he can,” Beth Carstens said. “These dogs are his best friends and I know they won’t let him down.”

With conditions expected to improve — at least as far as mushing was concerned — organizers were anticipating a fast race with the 250 winners crossing the finish line sometime early Monday.

As of early Saturday afternoon, all the 250 teams were somewhere on the trail to the first checkpoint in Portage while the racers in the 60-mile race were reported to be heading back toward Fort Kent.

“That rain last night made a really hard and fast trail,” George Theriault, race marshal, said. “Everything is looking really good and I’m optimistic we are going to have a great race.

Race results and progress can be seen on the Can Am web site at http://can-am.sjv.net/main.htm

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