Having ridden the Poto a number of times, I would suggest riding another trail if you are in fact novice riders. Reason being is that the trail is not a ton of fun if you are not in good shape or intimidated by large rocky, rooty, sandy hills and a few sketchy downhills. There aren't any really good areas to "bail" if you plan on riding the entire 17 mile loop.
On the other hand, if you want to experience a little of what the Poto is all about, try riding the 5.1 mile Crooked Lake Loop your first time out. It is a taste of the Poto ( a few good climbs included) without the mileage. It's easier to walk 5 or less miles out of the woods than 10 or more.