First mtb ride for four months
First ride on the new Blue run at Swinley (excellent, well done)
First ride with front suspension (wrists have never felt better)
First ride on a 26er (seriously, felt like my previous 29er)
First ride with gears (8 speed Alfine was flawless but will SS it)
First ride of the year with my 15yo on his Trance (keeping up downhill is very hard)
So in conclusion, Swinley is going to be great when fully open, but I think it will be evening blasts for speed. A Genesis io id is a great bike to get around the Blue run. 26" wheels won't kill you and get round the considerable number of twisties a bit easier. I suspect that much of the perceived differences people report in changing wheel size is geometry not wheel size (and my new bike has VERY similar geometry to the Kona). And front suspension is a good thing, as is the Alfine hub.
Just have to remember that thumb to go faster...