FORT KENT, Maine – The toughest competitor facing mushers this weekend in the Irving Woodlands Can Am Crown 250-Mile race has been the weather.
Since leaving Fort Kent Saturday morning teams have faced conditions ranging from driving rain to near blizzards with up to 14-inches of fresh snow blanketing northern Maine by late Monday morning.
More than two-thirds of the 23 mushers who started on Saturday had dropped out of the race by Monday morning due to the weather, dog problems or personal injuries.
“This weather is slowing the race right down,” George Theriault, race marshal, said late Monday morning. “We’ve sent out the groomers (but) there is more snow than they are used to.”
According to race officials, Rene Marchildon of South River, Ontario, was in the lead of the eight other mushers still in the race 17 miles from the finish as of 8 a.m. Monday. In previous years winners have finished in the pre-dawn hours on the third day.
As of 11:30 Monday only Krister Raasoch of Sullivan, New Hampshire, remained at Allagash with an estimated departure time of 1:42 p.m.
Complete race information is available on the Can Am’s website at www.can-am.sjv.net