Years and years ago I wanted a steel one, but I could never afford it. The nearest I got was having a catalogue. I saw a MTB once or twice in London & was very impressed with the level of detail. Ok the new version isn't steel but it takes the legendary geometry and applied it to a modern material. I'm no retro grouch and appreciate modern steel as much as I do carbon. I think the fact it's a lot easier to make in carbon is why many manufactures choose this root, combined with the weight advantage and how you can manipulate it. Building in steel is labour intensive and to be honest the list of great framebuilders is few and far between. But I'm not going to lamnet on the benefits & negatives of each process and material. All I know is that I want one of these, even in Phlegmish Yellow.
The Art of a great cyclocross bike is that it should feel part of you, an extension of your body. And this may be true for any bike, but due to the nature and activity of the cross bike that it must flow when riding and carrying the machine it is even more applicable. I like having a cross bike for what I call (although I didn't coin the phrase, cheers Ade) Noddy Riding. This to me this is the perfect mix of where road meets off road, and where the two meet in perfect harmony like the waves slowly making their way up a beach. I love this kind of riding, darting between forest and trail and back onto tarmac again.
Bizarrely cross is the most accessable type of racing, and maybe the safest. Slow speeds (compared to Road or dry Summer MTB courses), a strong family atmosphere and a short circuit all provide the right environment to learn the skills which can be transferred into Road or Mountainbike racing at a later date. I think that the duration of 45-60 minutes is also about perfect, and maybe that's why Crit racing and MTB series like Beastway have been so popular over the years.
Thanks to SRAM you can have a pretty kick arse bike with Rival on it, and it's not going to cost the earth, well kind of (I know it's not cheap). Rival makes a lot of sense as if you trash a part of it then it doesn't cost a small Kings ransom to replace. Also on a weight weenies front it's not so bad, especially as for many months of the year it could be covered in crap.
So yes a Noddy Cross Bike is on the list for sure.