EAGLE LAKE — This year’s Irving Woodlands Mad Bomber Eagle Lake 100 was a tale of two trails.
Twenty-nine teams — split almost evenly between the 100- and 30-mile races — left the start chute in snow showers and temperatures in the high 20s.
Later that night, when the 100-mile race teams were making their way back to Eagle Lake, temperatures dropped below zero for a race that ended with Quebec mushers taking the top three spots.
Coming in first place was Sylvain Robillard of St-Gabriel de Brandon, Quebec, with a time of 10 hours, 36 minutes, including a 4½- hour layover at the race’s one and only checkpoint.
Just behind him was Martin Massicotte of St. Tite, Quebec, who took second place, 16 minutes behind Robillard. In third place was Andre Longchamps of Pont-Rouge, Quebec, with a time of 11 hours.
Finishing the 30-mile course in 2:36:01 was Rico Portalatin of Westhampton, Mass. Second place went to Linda Simard of Chateau-Richer, Quebec, with a time of 2:47:18 and coming in third was Julie Albert of St. Michel des Saints, Quebec, in 2:48:19.
The youngest musher in the race’s history, 12-year-old rookie Sullivan Abbott of Eagle Lake ended in ninth place with a time of 3:43:02.
“I feel good about my race and hope to be back here next year,” Robillard, who placed third in last year’s race, said. “The trail was fast after the checkpoint and it was really good [and] it was a very good race for me and my dogs.”
Robillard plans to race in the 100 Mile Wilderness Sled Dog Race next month in Greenville and return to the St. John Valley in March for the Can Am Crown 250.
Another familiar face in Eagle Lake was Matt Carstens who won the event in 2006 and 2007.
This year Carstens and his team were using the race as training event for the upcoming 400-mile John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon in northern Minnesota.
“The Eagle Lake race is just a great way to start the race season,” said Carstens, who placed eighth. “The dogs get some experience being around other dogs in a race and I love starting my season with a 100-mile race.”
Based on his dog’s performance this weekend Carstens said he is confident going into the Beargrease.
“Our whole training this year has been focused on the Beargrease,” he said. “We will probably have one of the most experienced teams there.”
Carstens also plans to return to Fort Kent for the Can Am to defend his 2009 win.
“The race was a 100 percent success and it went off without a hitch,” Tenley Bennett, race co-organizer said. “The temperatures were excellent for spectators and what was a soft trail during the day by night got really fast.”
This was the first year in the race’s seven-year history the weather had been cooperative, Bennett said.
“We’ve dealt with freezing rain, glare ice, wind and sub-zero temperatures,” Bennett said. “This year we were blessed with a perfect day.”
Irving Woodlands Mad Bomber Results
Sylvain Robillard, 10 hours, 36 minutes; Martin Massicotte, 10:52; Andre Longchamps, 11:00; Denis Trembley, 11:04; Claude Baril, 11:12; Al Borak, 11:13; Adam Cummings, 11:44; Matt Carstens, 11:45; Christine Richardson, 11:46; Mitch Ingerson, 12:08; Bob O’Hearn, 12:43; Jaye Foucher, 13:05; Kevin Quist, 14:19; Lindy Howe, 14:53; Kim Darst, DNF.
Irving Woodlands Mad Bomber 30
Rico Portalatin, 2 hours, 36 minutes, 1 second; Linda Simard, 2:47:18; Julie Albert, 2:48:19; Amelie Aubut, 2:50:36; James Wheeler, 2:56:03; Gino Roussel, 3:27:12; Scott Alexander, 3:31:53; Larry Murphy, 3:36:13; Sullivan Abbott, 3:43:02; Corina Alexander, 3:43:06; Amy Dionne, 3:43:08; Shannon Herbert, 3:47:22; Dennis Cyr, 3:54:31; Rob Cooke, 3:55:45.