What took me so long... good question. Finally made it out to the nearest-to-me public MTB park, Wakefield Park tonight on the Rivendell Bombadil with the 2.25x650B Schwable tires and the Nitto Dirt Drop handlebars. I had an absolute blast. I did come off the bike once taking one of the small bridges in the wooded singletrack section to fast but once I'd reset from that I had a very successful run in and out of the woods, up and down a slaloming trail through the powerlines and pretty much anywhere I wanted to go.
The unexpected highlight was the tons of deer who allowed me to get very close. Not just deer but almost entirely buck's with some pretty good sized racks. I was closest to a young four point shown (badly) in the picture below. The video is also tough to make out the deer but I promise there are four. Bottom line is the evening was gorgeous, the bike performed better than expected and I felt pretty decent about my handling skills and climbing stamina. I can't wait to get back out there again soon.