FORT KENT, Maine — As of late Sunday afternoon, only four of 15 mushers competing in the Can-Am Crown 250-mile sled dog race had left Camp Syl-Ver, the second to last checkpoint on the trail.
Andre Longchamps of Pont-Rouge, Quebec; Martin Massicotte of Saint-Tite, Quebec; Denis Tremblay of Saint-Michel-des-Saints, Quebec; and Matt Schmidt of Grand Marais, Minnesota; were headed to the last checkpoint in Allagash where all mushers are required to stay over for minimum of four hours.
Of the remaining competitors in the event, Jessica Holmes of Portage — running in her first 250 — dropped out between the Portage Lake and Rocky Brook checkpoints, and Andy Bartleet of Albany Township ended his run before leaving Rocky Brook.
Several mushers in the 250-mile race had dropped one or two dogs off at checkpoints so far, which is fairly common. Most teams start out with between 10 and 12 dogs.
Race officials have a system of volunteers and transportation to return the dropped dogs back to Fort Kent.
Local musher Amy Dionne of St. David had dropped four dogs from her 12-dog team, but she was still racing.
At the start of the race, with weather and trail conditions nearly ideal, the top teams were traveling between 7 and 9 mph. That has since slowed to between 5 and 7 mph, according to race officials.
Fans can follow racers online at the Can-Am Crown website.
Race officials said that a lot can happen between late Sunday and the end of the race, so predicting when the first 250-mile race teams may arrive at the finish in Fort Kent is difficult. If things go well, however, the leaders were expected to arrive Monday morning.
In the 100-mile race, Bruce Langmaid of Kearney, Ontario, was the first to arrive Saturday night at the Lonesome Pine trails ski facility in Fort Kent, beating Jacob Golton of L’Amable, Ontario, by just five minutes. Langmaid finished the course in 12 hours, 20 minutes, to take the top spot.
The only Maine musher in the 100-mile event, Kasey McCarty of Lexington, finished 13th.
No racers dropped out of the 100-mile race, and the only musher scratched from the 30-mile race on Saturday was Jeffrey McRobbie of Wayne, who was injured in a collision with a snowmobile. He was recovering from his injuries Sunday at the Northern Maine Medical Center in Fort Kent. The juvenile driver of the snowmobile involved in the accident has been charged with operating to endanger, according to Maine Warden Adrien Marquis.
Nancy Duplesis of Saint Zenon, Quebec, finished first in the race Saturday, beating second place finisher Eli Golton of L’Amable, Ontario, by 10 minutes.
Eric Dore-Delisle of Mont-Laurie, Quebec, came in third place and in her second 30-mile race in Can-Am events, 13-year-old Lara Renner of Alton, New Hampshire, finished in fourth place, just 20 minutes behind Duplesis.