I got my bike back from the shop last night, after taking it in for a mini tune-up and asking them to adjust the ghost shifting in the back. The mechanic hadn't been able to replicate that shifting problem, but saw that the hanger was bent and so she straightened it.
She did say that, on her test rides, the front derailleur was all over the place. YES! I mean, this totally sucks, but FINALLY it acted up while at a shop, and people FINALLY believe me! YES! I'm so glad it's not all in my head.
You may recall that last year, at mile 85 of the Wilson, the front derailleur dropped the chain TWICE in very short time, fng up the chain and the rest of my ride. Well, NO MORE! The mechanics got online and checked a bunch of forums and found out that this front-shifting issue is "endemic to the F80 [model]", and probably a result of poor product design. The problem is with the crank, which is more likely designed for an 8-speed (not a 9-speed, like I have) rear cassette, so the chain gets caught between the rings (and jams). The solution? A new crank.
Now, I love this bike, but you may recall that, as early as my first group ride in the summer of 2005 (a month after getting the bike), I was having problems with the shifting. THIS IS WHY! The solution is obvious. Since I plan on having this bike until it gets stolen or wrecked (neither is particularly appealing), an upgrade like this is well worth it. I CAN'T WAIT!