The install constructions are a little confusing
If you're factory stock like I was you need to:
1.install CWM and place Cyanogenmod 7.1 port onto the SD disk BEFORE you flash the Gingerbread bootloader in the first portion of installation instructions.
2.make sure you make a backup of your phone before you flash GB bootloader. After flashing bootloader and rebooting into CWM do factory wipe and wipe cache.
3. before installing from zip go ahead and make a backup for fun. Also you can make a backup of your SMS/contacts/call logs with a backup program from market. Just search backup on market. Alternatively you can just sync your contacts in Google if you want. I did both just to be sure.
Took me awhile to figure out why my phone was hanging on the samsung logo, Shit rules guys, I hope these pointers help out, i'm a noob and this is my first root/rom install so if any of this information is potentially misleading let me know.
I've been configuring all my stuff into this phone and I have to say this is 100% easier to deal with than the shitty stock OS. THANKS SO MUCH I WILL BE BUYING YOU BEER LATER.