In mountain biking I see three possibilities:
1) Fast, fun technical
2) Brutal climbing, hard effort stuff
3) Epic transversing/exploration
Usually we do number one. It's what I love about off-roading. It's the bike equivalent of this (well, almost):
Yesterday we did all three when Brian, Max and I rode Backbone from Corral Canyon to Zuma/Edison and back on Backbone from Kanan-Dume. It's the western part of this epic geoladders route. That section of backbone between Corral Cyn and Latigo is orgasmic. Tight, technical, fast, shaded, packed. Lovely.
To make it extra epic we ran out of water and took a full 2 hours longer than anticipated. Had to walk that steep section of Edison, which is described as overgrown fire road turned single-track, but there's really nothing single-track about it. Above photo is from backbone just east of the Corral Canyon parking lot. Note ocean in background.
Driving down PCH in traffic we came upon a pack of 8 roadies sporting Midnight Ridazz jerseys. We slowed and I opened the van door to harrass/chat with them awhile. Here I've spent years promoting road riding to urban bike kids and we roll up on them in a motor vehicle! Very cool to see all of these connections being made and most importantly more people on bikes more often.