The Inaugural Touratech Rally East 2015

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A first year rally is really a magical thing. What to expect and what will the event organizers get right or wrong is part of the adventure you can only get at the inaugural year. Let’s face it, we’re talking about Touratech here; the German made, industry leading, technically superior, aftermarket accessory company. What could they get wrong?

 

The first thing they did get right with the Touratech Rally East, located in Huntingdon, PA was the cost. At $90.67 a early bird ticket for a Thursday through Sunday event (August 13th-16th) this could be some comparatively inexpensive fun. Showing up on Thursday early was good on my part - after setting up camp in the segregated motorcycle area I was able to go hit the grass track that was burned in on the 220 acre farm property, then follow up the grass track with a loop of the big bike trails in another field. After 5 laps on the grass track with only one highside, I decided that if that was all the riding I was to do this whole trip it was already worth the money.

 

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Touratech didn’t let anyone down with riding choices. Their team brought a couple laptops with connection cords for all the gps hardware systems out there and they uploaded multiple routes for everyone to do self-guided rides. They also staffed guided tours of every option for those new to the game or those that were there solo.  There were a staggering number of new to the adventure motorcycling community attendees at this event, which goes to show the reach and influence the mighty Germans at Touratech have within their community.

 

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Friday and Saturday’s rides were mainly large loops around and through Bald Eagle State Forest and Rothrock State Forest with varying degrees of difficulty depending on which route you chose. With the longer loops coming in at over 100 and 150 miles for Friday and Saturday respectively, and the shorter loops ranging as little at 7 miles for barbeque and 50 miles for a half day ride. Twisting tarmac and gravel made up the intermediate loops  The long loop experienced routes delivered enough challenging parts with rocky unmaintained jeep trails to keep the ride interesting. It’s a shame the team putting the route together didn’t have access to all the trails - this area is under strict supervision by DCNR and permitting is tough. Hopefully next year they’ll go through the extra paperwork to make this ride truly special. For anyone on a single cylinder dirt bike these options would have been a little underwhelming, but on the large ADV bike that Touratech convinces everyone to bring off-road these trails were plenty challenging.

 

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The one truly challenging part of this rally was the food situation. Now Touratech gave fair warning that one or two food vendors would be available and that Saturday night’s barbecue dinner by Doan’s Bones (at an optional $20) would be the only catered meal. However, there was spotty coverage by vendors at the event, and many people who hadn’t packed full cooking gear on their bikes were left wondering if they would go hungry. For the number of caterers, fire houses, etc in the area willing to get paid to do a meal, it would have been well worth the organizers time to charge more for a fully catered event. Hungry riders with no room for camp stoves on their bikes shouldn’t live off of jet-boil food the whole weekend and have trouble leaving to get food after a post ride beer. In the end everyone survived, but next year we’re crossing our fingers for a catered event……....and showers.

 

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Friday’s and Saturday’s evening field games and slow races were great to watch. Everyone gathered around to watch the Friday night Quinn Cody uphill/downhill “tight turns” challenge course. Saturday nights slow race was epically good with one on one eliminations. Making Touratech feel a bit more home grown they allowed their staff to grab a bike and compete in these events which makes for some good laughs and lets you know that these guys and girls are human just like the rest of us. On Saturday as a closer to the event raffle tickets were passed out and prizes given away. While everyone drank beer from their Touratech Rally mugs the numbers were called out. Most of the prizes were Main Line Overland or Overland journal, but a good amount were from Icon Raiden like riding jerseys, gloves and the always cool Raiden trucker hat.

 

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Going into work Monday with co workers asking “how was your adventure weekend?” I find that our stories don’t translate well with the uninformed. You spent 3 nights camping in a field with no showers, swam in a lake for a bath, rode your 20 thousand dollar motorcycle off-road and now it’s all dirty and scratched cause you dropped it? Well yes. Yes we did and it was a blast!

 
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Edited by Steve_Kamrad

agree ...hope next year better food options, showers, water and coffee.  Hard being a diabetic without enough food etc.  They warned us but rather have had to pay more for more.

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