Saturday, 2:15 PM
In Maine dog-sled race, a quiet and frosty finish
(Bangor Daily News photo/Bridget Brown)
Winner Matt Carstens of Whitefield, N.H., with his dogs after crossing the finishing line.
By Megan Woolhouse, Globe Staff
CARIBOU, Maine -- You would think there would be much fanfare at the finish line for the winner of a grueling two-day, 250-mile sled dog race through the Northern Maine wilderness.
In the early-morning darkness, 36-year-old Matt Carstens from Whitefield, N.H., quietly glided across the finish line to take the Can-Am Crown sled dog race. A small group of fans and race officials watched at the Lonesome Pine Ski Area offering muffled hoots and applause. It was 3:53 a.m. -- and below zero.
A bigger celebration -- plus a $29,000 prize -- will come later.
"He ran a wonderful race," said race Marshall George Theriault. "We were happy to see him."
The Can-Am Crown in Fort Kent, Maine, draws mushers from across Canada and the northern United States and is now the largest sled dog event in the east. Twenty-four mushers and more than 300 dogs compete, racing along a trail that loops through the Allagash wilderness, hundreds of miles away from civilization.
The race helps many mushers qualify for the most difficult sled dog challenge of all, the 1,100-mile Iditarod in Alaska.
Carstens, this year's winner, started with a team of 12 dogs and finished with 10. (Mushers must finish with at least 5.) Jason Barron, an eight-time Iditarod veteran from Montana finished 32 minutes later at 4:25 a.m.
Third place went to Rita Wehseler, a 44-year-old baker from Tofte, Minn., who finished at 6:20 a.m. Teams are expected to continue finishing throughout the day and as late as Tuesday morning.
For previous coverage of the race, click here.