There was a time when Mike Tyson was the most destructive force on the planet. He flattened beastly opponents and made short work of some of the most feared fighters the world had seen. One by one opponent fell in the wake of what was the most feared heavyweight champion in the world.
Coming into this year’s Dirt Fest, Pennsylvania felt a little bit like preparing for a prize fight for us. While we were not staring down the physical form of tyrannical puncher such as Tyson, we were up against perhaps a more formidable foe in Mother Nature. The previous year she had unleashed her fury upon us with round after round of rainstorms. While we stood our ground and kept the good times rolling, lighting and thunder kept us up against the ropes for the bulk of the weekend. By Sunday’s end, the trails were battered and bruised from the wet and tranes of attendees. Mother Nature had won, a TKO in the third round.
This year was going to be different, we were sharp, fit, and had tightened up our flaws from the previous year. If Mother Nature wanted some, she was going to be in for a fight. Our volunteers, under the guidance of Trina Haynes, our newly crowned Events Coordinator, and Marci Chamberlain, our extra turbo head volunteer, were ready to deal with any and all situations.
When Buster Douglas was preparing to fight Mike Tyson in Japan, both critics and friends said he was crazy, that Tyson was going to destroy the Ohio native. What they didn’t know was Douglas was sharp, as sharp as he’d ever been and the fight in Tokyo was going to be anything but a formality.
When we arrived at the Susquehannock Campgrounds the threat of rainstorms was ever present, clouds rolled in, but not us, nor the vendors or attendees paid it any mind. Friday kicked off a beautiful day of riding, demo racks of the vendor booths were vacant as riders tested them on the endless dirt roller coaster that is the Allegrippis trail network. The evening was ushered in by a joyous, happy hour hosted by Sram and longtime supporter Troegs Brewing. Afterward, we all shuffled down to the big tent for bluegrass and beer tastings before calling it a night, well there were a few night owls of course.
The bell rung to kick Saturday off, and it was a left-right combo of the Floyd’s of Leadville Coffee Ride, lead by Floyd himself, followed by the Surly WTF ride. Both rides were well attended, and smiles went on down the trail as far as the eye could see. Another round of clouds rolled in, but we had Mother Nature stunned. Pivot Cycles laid in with a bombastic happy our and in closing moments Saturday the Brass Cadillacs delivered a knockout blow with a firey set list of late 90’s and early 2000’s pop-punk anthems.
While Mother Nature likely did not spend the nights before Dirt Fest locked in a hotel room with illicit substances and questionable guest like Tyson did before squaring off against Douglas, one thing was sure, we were ready. We heard the rumors and jokes but didn’t matter we were prepared to make this the best Dirt Fest it could be for everyone who attended. From skills clinics hosted by Harlan Price of Take Aim Cycling and Women’s clinics hosted by Sram and legendary rider Leigh Donovan to unicycle riding with the Butler Woblers, there was something for everyone.
We’d like to give a huge thank you to our sponsors, vendors, and volunteers. Thank you for making this one of the best Dirt Fest yet. We’ll be cranking this party back up down in West Virginia July 12-14 at Big Bear Lake Campgrounds. Come join us as we defend our title as MTB Festival Champions!