There are lots of cool options...
I'm stoked that you're looking to get out there. Let's get caught up when you get a chance.
As J. notes, I'm spending A LOT of time on my old Race Lite, but now it's got a rigid fork and is single speeded with an ENO hub. The SS thing is a lot of fun, particularly at the Monmouth County local spots.
I also have a Titus Racer X, 100mm in front and 90mm in the back, similar to various 100mm FS bikes that are now pretty common race machines. It's faster in pretty much every way than the Bontrager was when it had a SID and gears. The Titus is probably the best bike I've ever owned, in terms of giving me the ability to go faster, longer, and more comfortably.
There are still plenty of guys on hardtails. Killer speed machines with a suspension fork, hydraulic discs, and exotic materials galore are the weapon of choice for lots of riders.
Whatever you decide, I hope we can get out and ride!