Being fortunate enough to live in the Four Corners region of Colorado, where the towering San Juan Mountains merge with the wide open high deserts and canyon lands of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah, I am often tempted to believe that we are the center of the mountain biking universe.
With so many world famous trail destinations available in our backyard, it seems there is no need to pack up the gear and head for distant singletracks. After all, our summers are filled with day long epics along the alpine trails in Durango and Telluride; winter days are passed riding the roller coaster slick rock around Moab or searching for vortexes in Sedona; spring finds us celebrating the cycling lifestyle in Fruita or Grand Junction and riding Crested Butte in the fall is to die for. Sometimes a catalyst must arise forcing us to escape our “bubble” and seek out new riding areas. Dirt Rag’s DirtFest event in central Pennsylvania was just that catalyst for me.
The Allegrippis trail system near Raystown Lake in Pennsylvania played host to approximately 1,500 DirtFest riders who showed up to camp, ride, partake in the beer garden, listen to live music and check out the extensive vendor expo. This trail system is one of the great victories in the ongoing quest to build new, sustainable trails. There are currently 32 miles of superbly constructed, flowing singletrack built in a stacked loop system. A big thanks to IMBA and the Raystown Mountain Bike Association for their efforts in making this happen.
Riding these amazing trails in an ecosystem unfamiliar to me brought about the realization that perhaps there is no center of the mountain bike universe, but instead hundreds of centers distributed around the globe wherever there are people with the similar belief that a day of riding singletrack is a great day. Hearing the excitement in other riders’ voices as we hung out in the beer garden and talked about their local riding scene confirmed that mountain bike culture was alive and kicking all over the world. People from all walks of life are finding common ground in building and riding world class trails.
DirtFest doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, fast or slow, male or female, the only thing that really matters is that you have fun, respect the land, and be nice. Hopefully, people leave events like this with a more positive mindset that can be applied to other areas of their life. I know I did.
Thanks Dirtfest, I needed that!