Glen, Pat, and I took a lap around the Saltese Conservation area this morning. I rode out there for the first and only time about a year ago. At that time, we didn't do the full lap. It's not a huge lap. Map is here. I'm guessing it's about a 6 mile loop? It was a 45 minute ride: you ride generally up most of the time, then you descend back to the trailhead. That's my kind of ride.
But the ascent was a beautiful thing. I'm thinking the total elevation gain is only 400 feet or so, but the trail is so moderate and perfect. We're all wintery and out of shape, and the climb is perfect for that. And if a guy was in good shape, the hill would be a great climb on a CX bike: standing and slowly grinding the pedals for a nice clip up the hill.
Jamming down the hill was fun too. Glen and I are pondering the handling characteristics of the Pugsleys. Our consensus is that the tires make for great XC-style descending, but the front-ends of the bikes fight against predictable and normal handling behavior.
Pat is on his new Bucksaw and pretty damn happy with that. I rode it for a hundred yards or so and found it to be frigging sweet. Pat remarked about how the Bucksaw just stays glued to the ground. I'd have to concur.
I think a guy could make the Pugsley into a good-enough XC mountain bike by putting a suspension-corrected fork on it. This solution is not my invention. According to Pat: lots of guys have done this. Putting a big honking tall fork on there would pivot the bike on the rear axel and slacken out the steepish HT/ST angles (70.5 degrees and 72 degrees, respectively), into something that should rock the descents much more effectively.