Sunday, May 29, 2016

Adult World - Dirt Rag Dirt Fest 2016

As Joe, Chadd, and I headed for Dirt Rag Mag's 2016 Dirt Fest, we drove past an interesting-looking business. The sign out front said "Adult World." 

As intriguing as the name was, we didn't have time to stop and find out what they sold here. So, we were left to speculate as to the contents of the store as we drove along. 

We decided that, because it was called "Adult World," the store was most likely selling briefcases, spreadsheets, orthodic insoles, and the like. We agreed that, as adults in our 40s, it was nice to have a store that would cater to us. 

We resolved that on our return trip, we would stop at the shop and probably pick up some tax forms and emergency blankets. Adult as fuck. 

We also decided that this trip would be all about adulting. Indeed, we agreed that, as 40-something-year-olds, we would limit ourselves to one thought at a time on this trip. 

When you think too many thoughts at once, things can get confusing. And we agreed never to have feelings at the same time as the one thought. Too complicated. Finally, we resolved to stick with whatever plan we came up with, regardless of circumstancesA change of plans requires thoughts and involves feelings. We're 40. We don't have time for that. 
Truly, Dirt Fest would be our own Adult World. 

Somewhere along the way, Joe realized that he had forgotten his pillow. 

So, we stopped to buy one. A full-sized bed pillow with pillowcase. Because we can't go camping without full-sized bed pillows. We're adults. So 40. We were starting our trip off right, for sure. 

We finally arrived at the campground at Raystown Lake, PA, and conditions were ideal. It was sunny and warm, and there were only a few clouds in the sky. 

At the campground check-in, we were firmly admonished that the campground speed limit was 10 mph and this limit was strictly enforced. I explained to the nice lady that this wouldn't be a problem for us. We were adults. We're over 40. This seemed to satisfy her. 

Joe asked her what would happen if we went more than 10 mph on a bike, but she just laughed at the impossibility of that idea. 10 mph on a bike. Preposterous!

After setting up base camp, we decided to ride a little.

Wearing a collared shirt on the trail is so 40.  I'm grown.
After riding a while, we hit the festival, register, and had a beer. 

Unfortunately, when we got up to the registration table, Chadd realized that he had forgotten his ID. This was not adult at all. We questioned whether he was really 40, which he couldn't prove because he didn't have an ID.

So, we had to go back to the campground and get his drivers license.  Eventually, we were all signed up, so we rode a few more miles. 

We had originally registered to join IMBA on a boat cruise of the lake, but we knew that rain was coming, so we decided to just donate our registration fee to IMBA and keep riding the trails while they were dry. 

Anthony from IMBA, spreading the trail love!
Given the choice between riding these sweet trails before the rain, or heading out on a houseboat for drinks, what would you choose?  Yeah, me too.  So adult.

But before we rolled out, Joe somehow talked Matt from Pedro's into swapping his chainrings and cleaning his drivetrain. I think the line he used was "Well, what are all those tools up there on the pegboard for then?"  This was a fully over-40 maneuver.  And Pedro's Pig Juice is the bomb.  Sadly, the chain cleaning would prove to be futile.  But more on that later. 

Back at camp, the rain started falling. Still, it was time for burgers and beers, then off to a reasonable night's sleep. We're 40. We need our rest. 

The rain kept up all through the night. And it was still raining when we made breakfast. And it was still raining when we headed to the fairgrounds for the epic ride. 

Still, we had made the decision to do the epic ride. The decision had been made and we were sticking with it. 

Editor's note: because this ride was "epic," the following pics will all be in black and white. So epic. So adult. 

The ride turned out to be a lot of fun. We started out with about 8 or 9 riders. Our ride leader, Jake from Rothrock Outfitters, was probably the best group ride leader I have ever met. Super chill and friendly. 

Photo from Rothrock Outfitters Facebook feed

Chadd forgot his jacket, so he had to borrow one from my friend Mark, who was working the Kenda tent. At this point, we started to question Chadd's 40-ness. Was he a millennial? 

Ha ha, Mark's jacket used to be white.
Our sweeper was James from Dirt Rag.  Dirt Rag is headquartered in nearby State College, PA, and every year they put on an amazing festival for Dirt Fest.  It's pretty crazy that they can pull such a big event off with such a small staff.  It's an all-hands-on-deck affair, to be sure.  James had every right to be salty about the early start and the rain, but he cheerfully did his job as sweep.  I didn't ask, but he's probably 40.  That's the kind of thing you do at Adult World, I bet.

That's him on the left.  Can you spot sasquatch in the background?
I have previously ridden nearby at the Rothrock and Tussey trails, which are rocky and technical trails - very challenging and fun.  But this system, Allegrippis, is very different.  This is a fast, flowy IMBA Epic system, where you don't even feel the elevation.  Super fun and plenty of time for recovery, I felt like I could ride these trails all day, even despite the mud!  RMBA has done a great job building and maintaining this trail system!

Somewhere in the first four or five miles, we picked up a pair of riders.  These guys were 14 and 15 years old. Joe and I have kids their age. We're grown. These guys were so nice and just happy to ride. They are the future 40 year olds. We had a great time with them. 

Not the guy on the left.  He's grown.
The trails held up pretty well, despite the rain. I think the rocky composition of the soil keeps the tread hard like concrete.  Still, we found plenty of mud. 

We also ran into Christian from DirtSculpt, who is building a kick-ass bike park on the Allegrippis system. More info here.  Can't wait to come back and ride it when it's dry!

Check out more about DirtSculpt

Anyhow, we rode along for about four or five hours when we discovered we had lost James somewhere along the way. Who does that? I don't think I've ever been on a ride where we lost a sweep before. 

We rode a few more miles and lost a few more riders. Still, Jake told us, about six hours in, that this was the highest percentage of riders who had ever hung on for six hours on one of these epic rides.

We were starting to have feelings, so we decided this was probably a good time to end the ride.  We all headed back to the festival. 

Photo from Wolf Tooth Components Instagram feed
After the ride, I drank beer until Joe got hypothermic and had to be thawed out by the fire. Then we washed out bikes and headed back to camp where we promptly disgraced the campground's washing machine. (Don't worry, we cleaned up after ourselves - Adult World!) 

Then, it was off to Woody's for BBQ and to watch the Cavs game. So 40. 

When we woke up Sunday, it was still raining. And we got word that none of the vendors would be allowing demo bikes out. It was too muddy. Unfortunately, this caused us to have some feelings and thoughts.

We didn't feel like cleaning our own bikes and gear again. So, we broke camp in the rain and started the drive home. 

It was the adult thing to do.

Still, a great time at Dirt Fest overall. Can't wait to go back next year! 

Be brave, you're grown! 


  1. Great, It seem great cycling fest there. Though it's a rag fest. Also some attractive photos. I am so excited to perticipate on this event.
    Thanks for sharing with us. :)