I got this bike because I really don't trust the drivers where I live, but it seems that I'll have to deal with another type of danger instead. What do you do to minimize risk? Also for mid-Atlantic riders, do you know of people who picked up disease other than Lyme from MTB riding? A few days of doxy, while bad, really doesn't hold a candle to some of other scary tick-borne diseases.
Also, where should I go to begin learning how to ride the thing properly? I'm sure I'm aerobically strong enough (and have enough fast twitch muscles) to be competitive in local intro (and perhaps Cat-2) races, but I'm even more certain that I'll get dropped like a bad habit (or perhaps literally drop off the trail) due to lack of MTB skills.