I returned to where it all began -- my local Trek dealer (although a different store than the first time, because I had other business in the area). My intention was to test the 1000, the 1200, and the Pilot 2.1
The sales guy suggested I take a look at something else, after chatting with me about my experience and needs. It was a bike I'd never seen before. It's a new model, the 2006 Trek 7.6 FX. He invited me to take a ride, and I did.
OMG -- I think I now really understand what people say when they advise you to try out bikes until one just feels right. This one, with a minor adjustment of the saddle, felt ABSOLUTELY PERFECT.
Light. Nimble. Responsive. Affordable. I liked the 700x32 tires. I like the stock pedals (clipless on one side, platform on the other). I liked the flatbar. I think the bike is gorgeous, as well, not that that's a reason to buy it.
I'm SO tempted. Right now, they offered me the bike for $950, no sales tax, free water bottle and cage, and a year to pay with no interest charges. Plus the usual Trek lifetime free adjustments.
This bike, at least to me, was SWEET. It won't take any time to adjust to it (the handlebars felt great, the shifting was terrific, the saddle was fine. I can go clipless when I'm ready without swapping out the pedals. Carbon where you want it, and an aluminum frame otherwise.
The deal is good through the end of the month. I can't believe I'm even contemplating doing this, given I just bought the 3900 six months ago. But this bike's really, really tempting!