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  1. #1
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    Big Bear Lake DirtFest...Which bike?

    XC hardtail or All Mtn Full Susp.? Never been. How technical, steep is it?

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    They have XC races and Enduros through out the summer. Courses are catered to each type of race. If you want to do the "full meal deal" then bring your full squish and enjoy.

    My group gets down to Big Bear about 4x a summer and I personally wouldn't ride there with out full squish. Big Bear makes you earn all of your fun and it is fun. Nothing real steep but it is up & down. 7/10 for technical.

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    Thx. FS it is.

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    This will be my first time there as well. I was debating between rigid SS and my brand new full squish. I don't even have it all the way built yet but looks like I'll be knocking that out tonight.

    Worse case, I'll get the SRAM tent to help me out with anything not working great, haha.

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    You're gonna want the FS there. Big Bear isn't Ray's Town Lake. I live near near BB and ride there all the time.

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    Anyone know how the trails do when wet? Looks to be storms Thursday and Friday.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sternomac View Post
    Anyone know how the trails do when wet? Looks to be storms Thursday and Friday.
    They'll be muddy in places. Your tires may even sink in at some spots. But I've ridden out there in storms myself. I would just be carfull of some of the rocks/roots in some places like Crack Trail, Mother of Crack, etc. With all the rain we've been having, you might want to stay off the Swamp Trails. Trails like the Yellow Race loop, you should be fine. I'm not going to DF but am planning to ride there Saturday or Sunday.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TTAFSM View Post
    They'll be muddy in places. Your tires may even sink in at some spots. But I've ridden out there in storms myself. I would just be carfull of some of the rocks/roots in some places like Crack Trail, Mother of Crack, etc. With all the rain we've been having, you might want to stay off the Swamp Trails. Trails like the Yellow Race loop, you should be fine. I'm not going to DF but am planning to ride there Saturday or Sunday.
    Awesome...thanks for the intel. Since you sound pretty well-informed on the area...what is your favorite and least favorite trail there?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sternomac View Post
    Awesome...thanks for the intel. Since you sound pretty well-informed on the area...what is your favorite and least favorite trail there?
    Yea....I live just down the road from Big Bear and have a season pass.

    Favorite trails? Depend on what you're looking for. I LOVE Crack (I jump off at the second cut-though to the yellow), Mother of Crack and Gene's Trails because of how technical they are. They've also added some new trails out there like the one they use for the Enduro. Name escapes me at the moment but I've only been on it once. Pretty hairy for me. You may like it. IDK.

    Yellow Loop is OK. Semi technical as in some rocks here-n-there. There is one downhill on the loop I like to hit. More of a "hold on to your bars" because it's all loose rocks and such.

    No matter what, I doubt you're going to be disappointed. There's so much variety out there. Instead of picking up a trail map, you may what to download an app called "Maplets" to your phone and download the Big Bear trail map to it. Not only will you have it on your phone, but it's synced to GPS so it'll show you where on the map you are. The map is slightly out of date as I've not seen the new one posted anywhere but still up to date 'nuff that you're not going to get lost.

    If you forget something, there's a small store at Big Bear. There's also a Family Dollar, convince store/gas station and local hardware about 15 minutes away in Bruceton Mills. There's actually a pretty awesome antiques shop there too. MUCH bigger on the inside than it looks.

    The campsite should be at the Airstrip. A LARGE open field. I recommend that if you have some tarps or something for shade, bring it. The owner's have done a lot to improve the air-stripe for events. Lot's of porta-johns. There's also showers and real sinks that are feed from a well. A LARGE shelter for parting, a stage and even a Pepsi machine.

    You can also swim in the lake at a few different places.

    Anyways, like I said, I plan to ride there Sat or Sun. See how much it's going to rain. But no matter what, I think you're going like it.
    Last edited by TTAFSM; 07-12-2017 at 04:46 PM.

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    I don't live too far from there...but I've never been. Probably don't have the bike for it right now only having a single speed full rigid. Not worried so much about the ss part...but the full rigid. I'm working hard on figuring out how to afford a new bike before end of summer...will still only have front susp. but will be 27.5+ so that should help. Might make it up there at some point.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    I don't live too far from there...but I've never been. Probably don't have the bike for it right now only having a single speed full rigid. Not worried so much about the ss part...but the full rigid. I'm working hard on figuring out how to afford a new bike before end of summer...will still only have front susp. but will be 27.5+ so that should help. Might make it up there at some point.
    If you come to the festival, you can demo all the bikes you want!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by TTAFSM View Post
    Yea....I live just down the road from Big Bear and have a season pass.

    Favorite trails? Depend on what you're looking for. I LOVE Crack (I jump off at the second cut-though to the yellow), Mother of Crack and Gene's Trails because of how technical they are. They've also added some new trails out there like the one they use for the Enduro. Name escapes me at the moment but I've only been on it once. Pretty hairy for me. You may like it. IDK.

    Yellow Loop is OK. Semi technical as in some rocks here-n-there. There is one downhill on the loop I like to hit. More of a "hold on to your bars" because it's all loose rocks and such.

    No matter what, I doubt you're going to be disappointed. There's so much variety out there. Instead of picking up a trail map, you may what to download an app called "Maplets" to your phone and download the Big Bear trail map to it. Not only will you have it on your phone, but it's synced to GPS so it'll show you where on the map you are. The map is slightly out of date as I've not seen the new one posted anywhere but still up to date 'nuff that you're not going to get lost.

    If you forget something, there's a small store at Big Bear. There's also a Family Dollar, convince store/gas station and local hardware about 15 minutes away in Bruceton Mills. There's actually a pretty awesome antiques shop there too. MUCH bigger on the inside than it looks.

    The campsite should be at the Airstrip. A LARGE open field. I recommend that if you have some tarps or something for shade, bring it. The owner's have done a lot to improve the air-stripe for events. Lot's of porta-johns. There's also showers and real sinks that are feed from a well. A LARGE shelter for parting, a stage and even a Pepsi machine.

    You can also swim in the lake at a few different places.

    Anyways, like I said, I plan to ride there Sat or Sun. See how much it's going to rain. But no matter what, I think you're going like it.
    Very useful tips man, thanks so much. We are jamming out today and unfortunately we weren't able to camp anywhere close so we are in a hotel 10 minutes up the road.

    Otherwise, we're pumped!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by sternomac View Post
    If you come to the festival, you can demo all the bikes you want!
    But not the one I want...lol...unless I missed something...I don't think Santa Cruz will be there will they?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    But not the one I want...lol...unless I missed something...I don't think Santa Cruz will be there will they?
    Too funny. I'm bringing my brand spanking new Hightower there. Only have 2 rides on it so far.

    They won't be there but there will be plenty of capable bikes you can ride. If you haven't been to a Dirt Fest yet...do it. It's a lot of f'in fun.

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    Hey all,

    TTAFSM, thanks for the trails report. I was seriously concerned about how well the trails drain at Big Bear.

    I'm registered to camp at Big Bear all weekend. Friday's forecast looks pretty wet, so I plan on bringing a rain jacket, a pop-up tent that I'll stake into the ground, and my tent with rain fly. My hope is that it doesn't pour rain all day Friday. Saturday and Sunday look great weather-wise.

    I'm bringing my 27.5+ hardtail for the trails and plan to demo a Pivot bike (Mach 429 Trail). The music line-up looks fantastic!

    Looking forward to riding some new trails and meeting some new people. I'll be camping with the Western New York Mountain Biking Association (WNYMBA) all weekend, so swing by our campsite and drink a beer with us!

    Cheers!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bodie6 View Post
    Hey all,

    TTAFSM, thanks for the trails report. I was seriously concerned about how well the trails drain at Big Bear.

    I'm registered to camp at Big Bear all weekend. Friday's forecast looks pretty wet, so I plan on bringing a rain jacket, a pop-up tent that I'll stake into the ground, and my tent with rain fly. My hope is that it doesn't pour rain all day Friday. Saturday and Sunday look great weather-wise.
    You Welcome. Glad to help. Thanks for the invite. I may just swing by.

    Yea, I hate to say this but it looks like today and tomorrow (Thurs & Fri) are gonna suck. But there is a LARGE party shelter where you'll be camping for everyone to party in. The wkend is looking great though.

    FYI: In case something breaks on your bikes and you need parts, the two LBS's are Wamsley's and Pathfinders in Morgantown. Big Bear Lake DirtFest...Which bike?-untitled.jpgBig Bear Lake DirtFest...Which bike?-untitled2.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by sternomac View Post
    Very useful tips man, thanks so much. We are jamming out today and unfortunately we weren't able to camp anywhere close so we are in a hotel 10 minutes up the road.

    Otherwise, we're pumped!
    Staying in Bruceton? Or that hotel off the Hazelton Exit?

  18. #18
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    So how is it? I have been to big bear before but not sure how the crowds will effect the trail flo...Im heading there Sunday..Do you have to pay when you enter the park or at the expo?
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  19. #19
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    If you run out of things to do, I recommend people watching at the general store there.

    Interesting residents.
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    I'm a season pass holder and didn't have a problem getting in the main entrance. Just was asked to park in a different area than I normally do because of the shuttle bus. I honestly hardly ran into anyone until I hit Mother of crack. I did ride out to the airfield and it is a large event. I stayed out of the vender's area since I wasn't registered but cruised through through the campers to see if I ran into anyone I knew. I saw a WNYMBA sign and stopped by to say hi to Bodie6. Nice guy. If you read this, it was a pleasure to meet you!


    After that, I head out to Gene's trail but ran into some other people I knew and ended up leading a ride through Crack Trail. After a swim in the lake with my friend, I headed back to the main entrance parking lot and then went home.

    I just want everyone to know that we've had a LOT of rain these last couple weeks. Reminded me of early spring after the snow melt. Normally the trails are in much better shape. Still, I hope everyone had a great time!
    Last edited by TTAFSM; 07-15-2017 at 06:56 PM.

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    If you run out of things to do, I recommend people watching at the general store there.

    Interesting residents.
    LMAO! True 'nuff!

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    Yeah and watch out for the golf carts...

    Hey any food trucks there?
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  23. #23
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    The only time I was there was for a collegiate MTB race hosted by WVU, two years ago now.

    The WVU guys told us it would be interesting. Didn't get any hints beforehand.

    The first night we camped in a campground a mile away from the airfield. People would get into their 2500 HD pickup trucks and drive to the bathroom, 50 yards away.

    Then, we joined the rest of the collegiate MTBers and camped near the airfield. The next day we saw a guy who must have weighed 500lbs crash his golf cart and it rolled into a ravine. Had to call a tow truck to pull the golf cart out. Saw another golf car loaded with 2,000lbs of human crash as well.

    They would also come watch us. Apparently the spectacle of people riding bicycles and exercising for FUN was quite novel. Beer in hand, driving the golf cart, of course.
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    So how many of you that paid the money to attend say to yourself...why did I pay 45 bucks for this? If you demoed bikes its definitely worth the money, a local demo at a shop near me charges 35 for 2 hours.... I got a nice 15 mile loop in today, overall the trail are not that bad but could of been better...I skipped a big section of trail I figured was pretty soupy (swamp trail) I also missed Pine Spur and Genes trail.
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    Well, I've attended the one at Raystown for the last 3 yrs and always had a blast. Everything from the vendors, bikes and beer garden to the people I meet. Next yr, I probably will skip the Raystown event and instead attend the Big Bear meet myself.

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    So how many of you that paid the money to attend say to yourself...why did I pay 45 bucks for this?
    A ton of the money goes to the trails to maintain them, fix them after we just rode them to death, and add new stuff...so it's worth it even if you get very little of the benefits offered.

    Plus, if you show up and pay, the organizers will see that as interest and they can use that to attract more vendors and just make things bigger/better next time. Maybe it helps someone that isn't you. You know...the greater good.

    Staying in Bruceton? Or that hotel off the Hazelton Exit?
    We stayed at the Microtel in Hazelton. Nearly got arrested because we drove on the property of the Federal Prison...they weren't happy about that.

    I definitely agree with all your recommendations. Race Loop was pretty awful. We parked at the trail head and did jump trail to Race Loop and it was just devoid of flow and nothing "fun challenging".

    Once we hit Gene's, Crack, Mother of Crack we were loving it. We didn't make it to More Crack but hit Beaver Creek and Voodoo rocks which was completely flooded out. Like the trail was actually the river. It was nuts.

    The downhill on Race Loop was crazy. It was pain to get to yesterday cause we got lost but once we found it, the top was pretty flowy and then the bottom was just hang on and bang your way through the rocks.

    Will return.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by sml-2727 View Post
    So how many of you that paid the money to attend say to yourself...why did I pay 45 bucks for this? If you demoed bikes its definitely worth the money, a local demo at a shop near me charges 35 for 2 hours.... I got a nice 15 mile loop in today, overall the trail are not that bad but could of been better...I skipped a big section of trail I figured was pretty soupy (swamp trail) I also missed Pine Spur and Genes trail.
    Would have been nice to have a day pass option. I thought about driving up on Sunday but after missing the pre-registration, noway in hell I was paying $60 plus $10 to park for half a day of whatever was going on.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    Would have been nice to have a day pass option. I thought about driving up on Sunday but after missing the pre-registration, noway in hell I was paying $60 plus $10 to park for half a day of whatever was going on.
    Parking was free despite what the website said...that was a nice bonus considering we weren't staying on campus.

    Also if anyone is curious...don't drive onto the Federal Pen campus across from the Microtel. They don't like that.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by sml-2727 View Post
    So how many of you that paid the money to attend say to yourself...why did I pay 45 bucks for this? If you demoed bikes its definitely worth the money, a local demo at a shop near me charges 35 for 2 hours.... I got a nice 15 mile loop in today, overall the trail are not that bad but could of been better...I skipped a big section of trail I figured was pretty soupy (swamp trail) I also missed Pine Spur and Genes trail.
    I agree that overall, especially if camping onsite, the costs are too high. There is no reason to charge additional money ($30!) for parking when the airfield could easily accommodate thousands of cars. I didn't demo any bikes, but talked to some vendors, enjoyed one of the bands, and one free beer. I rode Sat and Sun and still didn't hit every trail; will have to go back for a day trip some time.

    Quote Originally Posted by sternomac View Post
    A ton of the money goes to the trails to maintain them, fix them after we just rode them to death, and add new stuff...so it's worth it even if you get very little of the benefits offered.
    While I did enjoy riding most of the trails, as someone who is a volunteer trail steward at a local park, these trails don't strike me as being highly maintained. The Crack bridge might as well have been made out of ice. Since this was my first time there I don't know if the excessive mud and water is a trademark feature or just a result of the Friday rain, but a lot of those areas could be made to drain better with some maintenance. Hopefully that will happen now.

    Quote Originally Posted by sternomac View Post
    Parking was free despite what the website said...that was a nice bonus considering we weren't staying on campus.
    Free for day visits, but not for camping on site.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JustMtnB44 View Post
    I agree that overall, especially if camping onsite, the costs are too high. There is no reason to charge additional money ($30!) for parking when the airfield could easily accommodate thousands of cars. I didn't demo any bikes, but talked to some vendors, enjoyed one of the bands, and one free beer. I rode Sat and Sun and still didn't hit every trail; will have to go back for a day trip some time.


    While I did enjoy riding most of the trails, as someone who is a volunteer trail steward at a local park, these trails don't strike me as being highly maintained. The Crack bridge might as well have been made out of ice. Since this was my first time there I don't know if the excessive mud and water is a trademark feature or just a result of the Friday rain, but a lot of those areas could be made to drain better with some maintenance. Hopefully that will happen now.


    Free for day visits, but not for camping on site.
    I did not have a campsite and was granted unlimited free access to park wherever I wanted. I drove right to the airstrip on Friday and did not pay. I parked on site 3 days.

    I wouldn't say they were "highly maintained" but they were pretty solid. I talked with Jeff who is the trail manager for the park and he said they ride all year round in rain. There were literally trails that were underwater that were still rideable which would not happen in Maryland where I normally ride. Sure there was mud and it only got worse with all the traffic all weekend but the fact that I was able to ride without much issue Friday morning, during the rain, was pretty remarkable. Not to mention it rained there the entire week leading up to the event.

    I also overheard someone say they have only been there when it was wet so I'm guessing it happens a lot.

    I didn't get to all the trails either but I look forward to returning. I like how much more space there is compared to Dirt Fest PA.

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    these trails don't strike me as being highly maintained.
    Actually, for the most part, they are maintained. The owners have put in a lot of work in the last few yrs to build some new trails and they are SOOOOOOOOO much better marked nowadays. The "new" maps are colored coded and easy to read. The maps were these black-n-white topo maps that were hard as shit to read. And the trails were just marked by numbers. If you saw any old blue plywood boards with a number on them, those were the old markers.

    Even the Crack bridges are fairly recent additions. Just in the last couple yrs.

    The Crack bridge might as well have been made out of ice. Since this was my first time there I don't know if the excessive mud and water is a trademark feature or just a result of the Friday rain
    Yea, this past weekend was unusual for this time of hear. The part of crack where you hit it at the damn entrance was pretty water-logged. It was more early-spring after the winter melt conditions. This time of year is normally much better. Just that we've had a LOT of rain the last couple weeks. A friend and I went for a swim in the lake by the damn and the water level was up.

  32. #32
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    One thing learned though, the wristbands you get at Dirtfest Raystown are the same ones at Big Bear...lol

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    I personally thought overall cost was reasonable considering it is a private not public area. Got to imagine maintaining and building trails out there is a real bear and they do a great job all things considering. Crack bridge should of had more chicken wire but other than that shouldn't knock the trails.

    I heard they were going to send attendees a feedback survey, clearer rules and probably just one camping fee would be good as already said no need for offsite parking so just spread that cost out and make it one constant fee.

    I will definitely go back.
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    No doubt the $45 preregistration cost was worth it. The $60 fee for three days even isn't terrible. But for someone that can only make it one day...there really should be an option. I wanted to go. I could only go for one day. I missed the early registration and that's my fault...but I didn't end up going due to the cost. Even $45 for one day is really pushing it. $20 or $25 for a day pass would be reasonable IMO.
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