The ride was fine on my commuter but would have appreciated better off road tires. Suspension was hardly required for this ride but might have been nice for a novice like me. There were times when descending steep pitches that I would have appreciated upright bars so I would not have leaned so far forward on descents while braking. Otherwise the bike was fine. The gearing worked for me with a 30/32 low combination.
The ride was tough by every measure. From the rugged and often rocky trails, the infrequent but slippery exposed tree routes, the number of riders and their speed and close proximity, to the cold temperatures at the start and the intensely cold wind getting to the start, it all seemed challenging. And given that I had less than 200 miles in for the year before the ride, plus about 10 hours spinning in my basement, I was hardly in the best shape. It was, however, quite fun. The staff at RSC, Rob, Patria, Jeff, and the very overworked barristas, where all in great humor despite the crowds and confusion. The other riders were great company. I was familiar with several of the trails and, with one exception, never rode them or thought of riding them. So it was a success for me.