I have been riding most of my life (30+ years). I rode and raced XC and off road, dipping into mild FR and DH stuff with my Trek Liquid. Around 2003, nasty wreck, lots of broken stuff, and I never really got back into the saddle comfortably (the frame was now not sized well for me). I did start racing TT on the road and riding road, a lot. So, I would say that the last time I was into the dirt world was around 2005. That was a long time ago and a LOT has changed. 29" wheels were just coming out and were largely seen as a gimmick. The time has come for me to get back into the woods but things have progressed so much that I do not know where to begin. The Bible is an entertaining read but they are blowing up a lot of bikes that are WAY out of my budget. I am looking for a starting line for my research. - Budget ~$2500 - I am 6'3" and when I was racing tri, I had a Retul fit done so here are my numbers Stack- 24.02" Reach- 22.45" Saddle height- 33.5" - I am open to hardtail and full suspension bikes. Fat tire and plus size never existed when I was riding. 2.1- 2.2 was big - I want to ride and have a competent enough spec to take some beating and room to upgrade everything but the frame, if need be. - I live in Va so we have ups and downs, some hike a bike sections, rocks, mud, roots, and more rocks and roots. So, where should I be looking? I am open to hardtails with plus size tires as they seem to offer some 'suspension' and I grew up racing and riding hard tails so I am comfortable with their drawbacks and advantages. HELP!