World Tour Report: Dirt Rag Dirt Fest

The newly reconstituted Dirt Rag Dirt Fest went down last weekend. Even with rain in the forecast, well north of 800 people showed up to ride the Allegrippis trail system, camp and generally have a good time. We covered the trail system in Dirt Rag 143, read more about it here. The weekend started for me on Thursday morning with a few final items loaded into the van followed by a long meandering ride to the venue on back roads of central PA. Ended up on a service road for the big wind turbines outside of Somerset PA, among other paved and not paved roads. Central PA looks like this:

Rolled into camp just before dark, set up camp and hung out with the rest of the crew. Next morning a group ride formed with friends and co-workers. The weather was pristine, the company good, and the trails were fast and flowing. Even got the obligatory group shot:

Riders rolled in throughout the day on Friday, and the expo area started hopping. The Dirt Rag booth was nestled pleasantly in a grove of trees and next to a fire pit. It was so pleasant no one bothered to take a picture. More and more riders hit the trails, and eventually darkness settled in and the opening ceremonies started. IMBA, Maurice and the main men behind this event, Paul Dunklebarger and Evan Gross all had a few words for the gathered masses. After that live music from Shift Seven carried us into the night and off to bed.

Morning dawned surprisingly clear and bright, and riders passed our campsite in a steady stream to get to the trails. Demo bikes were demo’d, the IMBA crew taught some trail building skills and various contests, rides and other events kept riders busy and happy. I took a ride on a houseboat. Ain’t nothing wrong with a houseboat.

It rained a bit on and off through out the afternoon, but spirits still seemed high. The rain picked up as the evening settled around the lake, but the promise of beer from Pennsylvania breweries,  and live music from State College locals, The Earthtones brought masses of people up from the camping area to the big-top tent. It was raining, the trails were turning to soup, but good music and drink were plenty to keep our band of riders merry. Much carousing ensued, and the revelry continued long after this tired cowboy went to bed.

Sunday brought a bit more rain, but some sunshine too. It was suggested the night before that the trails should left alone after all the rain, so it seemed many campers chose to pack up and hightail it out of town early on. Quite a few people stayed around for awards and closing ceremonies at 11am. A complete bike from Hubcap Cycles was raffled off, and a set of Stan’s wheels.

Things cleared out quickly after that, and I was chased by thunderstorms throughout the ride home.

All in all, for a new event and a new venue, things went swimmingly. If you weren’t there you missed out. Come on out next year, you won’t regret it.

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