I am slow. That is undisputed at this time, but I am still enjoying the dirt even in the heat. The last few weekends though, I have been able to ride with Chris some just like in the good old days. Chris will ride his road bike into Provo and meet me (and his mtb) at the trailhead. Then after switching bikes, we will go ride somewhat together. He will still "sheep-dog" me quite a bit, but at least it is not completely frustrating for him.
During the week my rides are still between an hour and 90 minutes. The weekends though I have been trying to go on longer two plus hour rides. I am pretty spent afterwards.
Yesterday I probably felt better (on the bike) than I have for quite a while. Chris did intervals on his way in making him feel spent. This made him pretty content to just sit behind me.
I have primarily been riding either Crop Circles or doing a Bonneville Shoreline South (i.e. Bridal Veil to the Equestrian Park just above Canyon Rd) Loop. There is not much steep stuff on these trails making me more comfortable climbing and Chris more comfortable with what I am descending (to a point). I am still anticipating that at some point, probably fairly soon, I will give up the dirt and transition to path riding.