So now that I'm leaving Canada & the house of 29-inch wheels behind I'll give my final thoughts riding those big wheels. I don't think much has changed since my initial impressions. With the larger diameter wheels & a set-up tending towards the XC side of things - those bikes just climb & climb oh so well. I'm usually a handy climber, but could get up so many more things than I remember last summer. It makes it seem easier, but I think you end up going a little faster & therefore don't save much energy (also the gearing was a little different - larger granny-ring & smaller big-ring.
On the undulating/flat terrain & going downhill I never felt that I was enjoying the trail as much as I should have been. I still think that's because the bike feels disconnected from the trail & it's more difficult to move the bike around & get a little bit of air. I never got used to less grip on the downhills - still don't know why the rear tire never gripped as a Crossmark should; this led to less confidence for me.
So I'm looking forward to getting back on my bike sometime - it may be old & scratched up, but it's been a lot of places with me & is still a good steed. On that note, I still haven't got the dogbone for my bike from GT Canada. While they make good bikes, if you're considering buying a GT bike in Canada or the USA - don't bother, the service from the distributor is truly awful. I could have had such a simple part shipped from New Zealand in the time it's taken for my part not to turn up (three weeks for a 10cm strip of steel with a hole in each end - would have got a homemade one if I had have known). Well, it looks like boarding is starting two hours late, so that can be the end of my little rant.
*A big thanks to Megan & Alex for letting me use/try out their bikes while mine was out of action during my brief return to Canmore.
8 hours ago