First off I love this Forum. I am a large rider currently 320 ish and the the Clyde / Athena forum has been a huge wealth of information. I have reached my first weight loss goal (started at 365) and I promised my self a new bike, it also happens to be close to my birthday so I don't feel bad about spending a good chunk of money up to about $1800. I am currently on a Trek 8.3 DS that I got from the LBS and they have been great. Helped me out with a custom wheel after I was bringing the DS in twice a week with another broken spoke.
Anyway on to my situation. I need something to handle my small commute, about 6mi round trip and to do some gravel on the weekend. I also want something quicker than my DS. So my good friend pointed me in the direction of cyclocross. Which seems right. I took a look at 2013 Ion and liked it quite a bit, but my LBS does not have other brands so I do not have much to compare. They carry some Salsa cycles and said they may have a Vaya in stock in a few months. My friend said I should get something from bikes direct, but I really want to support my LBS.
I know Trek is not top of the line, but I am not sure if I want to just default to Trek because it is all my LBS has stocked.