I got my new bike (finally!) and have ridden it three times. Way fun!
The weather has even cooperated and stayed dry (sunny even) for each of my rides.
The front shock (with the brain transplant) works great - best upgrade I think I'll be able to make. And overall, the bike fits me real well. I am enjoying the fact I have gears, suspension, and bigger wheels.
I just learned a new trick even. While going around corners you hear you're supposed to point your inside knee into the turn, turn your hips into the turn, stand on the outside pedal, lean the bike, outside elbow up, etc. My turns are pretty horrible, and I've been struggling to incorporate the tips, but today I figured out that I can stand on the outside pedal and sort of screw the outside hip into the turn. It seems to set me up for the turns pretty well. We'll see how well it works over the next few weeks.
It'll take a while to get used to having gears again, I've found myself powering through sections when I could easily switch gears.
A few weeks to get used to the bike and then the first race.