I elected to take out the hardtail for this ride, knowing there is nothing that technical out there and no real need for full suspension. It was the right choice and gave me a couple of hours of sprightly climbing, skittish descending and riding smart on stiff forks and with none of the mistake-mitigation of 5” of travel at both ends.
While I have been thoroughly enjoying the new bike, it was nice to leave it at home and pop out to ride a long-trusted companion, feeling light and skippy where other bikes will let you plough through at speed. I would go as far as to say that riding suspended all summer has improved my technique in places and I was trusting the wheels to track where I put them.
Everyone should ride hardtails to remember those skills and get a different perspective on rides. This made what can be a dull slog on a bigger bike a bit more of a challenge. Or maybe there’s something nice in throwing a leg over a bike you have ridden for years and thousands of miles and even appreciating all the more the technically advanced bike you have for those bigger days.