Circle Fest Winner Now is the 24K Skate Noque Age Group Champ!
If you have already read “Circle Fest” in January 2022’s Silent Sports Magazine’s “The Front Page” (and if not, why not?), you’d know about Northern Illinois Nordic’s own Pete Finger taking the title at this first-ever event last November 21st. Circle Fest on that day started at 4:37 a.m. and did not end until 9 hours, 5 minutes later. And Pete led the entire field to the finish, completing a metric century on a .94-mile asphalt loop around River Bend Community Park in Valley View, IL — on roller skis. For reasons that seem obvious, the “entire field” consisted of Pete.
Still, Pete’s double-Birkie distance that day, and again on days since, is no doubt a big reason for his latest success: Victory in his age group on January 22nd, in the Noquemanon’s 24K skate race. In this case, he bested 12 others in his age group, and most of the others regardless of age group. And he accomplished this feat after breaking a pole early in the race, skiing one-poled for about 6K before getting a replacement. Leading up to the race, Pete had hoped to place in his age group. Under these conditions, he ended up winning that category in 1:21.26.1, an impressive per-K pace of approximately 3 mins., 23secs., on a course known for its challenging uphills and crazy-technical downhills. Who knows how much faster he could have finished with a full pair of poles the entire race!
“When I broke a pole,” Pete said, “people that I should have beaten started passing me. After I got a replacement pole, I passed some of them back.” For the AARP set among us, Pete added this gem: “In particular, a young college kid, whom I’m glad I had caught, told me at the finish that I had been hauling ass with that one pole. I caught him in the last 5K. When he looked back and knew someone was behind, he had this look that said: ‘I can’t believe that old guy with the broken pole caught me.’”
Way to go, Pete, carrying over your Circle Fest victory to your age group win at the 24K skate Noque. You’ve done yourself and Northern Illinois Nordic proud!