I realized I hadn't done much in the way of maintenance since I built the bike over five years ago. In general, I just don't keep bikes long enough for them to NEED maintenance. However, the Dragon has been the exception, so I ordered a few parts for a tune-up.
Yesterday I tore the bike down, cleaned it up, installed a new middle chainring, bottom bracket bearings, front derailleur and chain.
Today I took it out for a ride and everything worked like new.
It was weird to look down and see all the clean parts where the dust, mud and grease had been. I later learned that the shiny stuff I was seeing is called "metal."
It wasn't a fun way to spend a Saturday, but a necessary evil. And there is a certain satisfaction that comes with making a bike run like new again. Hopefully I get another five years out of it.