I finally had a first chance to take my 2005 Lemond Poprad off pavement. It was one of the best days cycling I've had in years, perhaps ever.
I started out on a fire road, up a long hill. Rode back down the hill on this for a bit, but soon eyed some singletrack that looked inviting. I ended up riding singletrack the rest of the day with some patches of steep hills and rock, roots and river beds. I was amazed at how well the bike handled thru these patches. No need to get off the bike even through some very rough rock areas, both uphill and down. I only dismounted at the near top of two very steep mini-hills as the gearing was just not low enough as expected.
Overall I went about 30miles, only about 5 of them on fireroad.
I am so glad I choose this bike and am amazed at how well it handled and held up to the rough trails. The rims, which sure took a beating, are as true as new.
I found that I rode almost all the time in the drops, it was the only way to have speed and control thru the rough downhills - so I could lean back and have hands on brakes. I never once used the bar tops, I just did not get a good sense of control on them.