Words and photos by Jarrod Bunk
Dirt Fest is a bit of a homecoming for me each year. I don’t get to see or ride with friends who are relatively close to me throughout the year, because, bike shop life, so I get to typically catch up as well as ride some fresh new bikes. Because this isn’t a typical year in, year out experience, I wanted to see what everyone else was doing with their time at Dirt Fest, I was blown away. There really is something for everyone.
I made the most of my time while trying to document all of the Skill Clinics put on by Leigh Donovan from ichoosebikes, Sara Jarrell from SRAM, Caroline Washam from Spoked LLC and LIV, and Harlan Price from Take Aim Cycling. They put on women’s clinics and general skills clinics in the Skills Area throughout the weekend. The skills clinics weren’t something I participated in previously, so it was great to be able to check them out. I highly recommend them to anyone looking to progress.
From there I headed down to check out Hydro Loop and all of the riders shredding, and enjoying the drier weather this year (it had rained a lot and was cold last year, so warmth and sunshine this year was especially welcome!).I split most of my Friday between the show/demo down below and the Skills Area, taking some time to shoot some riders on the amazing trails that are found in Central Pennsylvania. The demo this year had a fantastic curated feeling with some heavy hitters like Pivot, Santa Cruz and Surly Bikes to name a few.
After a long day on the trails, people headed down the hill to wind down with some fine craft beer, and enjoy the late-night shenanigans and fantastic performers.
Saturday morning, I awoke to stories of rain in the middle of the night and cooler temps than the day prior. Good thing I quit enjoying the stars around 2am to put the rain fly on.
First up, the kids-only ride at the new bike park. I was happy to get to see the joy and stoke on the young riders faces as they got to rip the new bike park over in the Seven Points location; that was for sure a highlight. I can’t wait to get back to ride it myself. I spent some time down yonder and even ran into Don, Matt and Shawn as well as the rest of the Epic Ride. We kept bouncing into each other all over the place throughout the day.
The expo near the bike park was a great place to get some coffee, reboot, and take in what the other side had to offer. It had a more toned-down feeling, but good vibes abound. You could even play corn hole with Hand Up gloves. Everyone I ran into all weekend was grinning from ear to ear, whether they were climbing to the top of the hill to rip the trails or enjoy the expo, or partaking in libations at the bottom.
Again that night the party continued down below the demo with DT Swiss and their photo booth. After refueling at the beer tent with either craft beer or non-alcoholic craft soda options, you could could pose and get a takeaway memento of the nights occurrences, snag some noodles or brisket pizza and chill having just spent the last few days shredding some of the best bikes on the planet.
Whether you are looking for a weekend getaway, shred fest with your friends, or some family time learning new skills on these beautiful machines we call bicycles, Dirt Fest is your answer, nestled in the hills of Central Pennsylvania.
Thank you to all the staff, volunteers and attendees who made Dirt Fest Pennsylvania 2017 awesome!
Follow Dirt Rag Dirt Fest on Facebook and Instagram @dirtragdirtfest, and check out the inaugural Dirt Fest West Virginia this year, which will take place July 14-16 at Big Bear Lake Trail Center, West Virginia.