And therein lies the rub. Cyclocross has sort of the repuatation of being a race instead of a type of riding.
Let's remember the roots of all of this. It was meant to be nothing more than riding in the winter time over whatever paths and trails were available. Racers wanted to maintain their fitness over the winter but normal riders wanted to have fun.
That fun is what I've discovered to be a lot more satisfying in the winter than riding the road bike in the cold.
For instance, the reason I put a triple on my cross bike is so I can take off on what used to be mountain bike trails but now are entirely too tame for mountain bike riders. My Santa Cruz Superlight is just so sophisticated and rides so smoothly that unless you're riding over terrain that would terrify a Trials Rider it seems like tremendous overkill. Since it requires almost no skill to ride through most places it isn't much fun and it also isn't nearly the exercise as riding a cross bike over the same stuff.
Now I can start in Boulder Creek outside of Santa Cruz and ride up to Empire Grade and then take a couple of side trails that eventually lead into Big Basin park, down to Highway 1 and back to Santa Cruz where we can eat pub food and get woozy in one of the microbreweries until Jensen's wife picks us up and berates me for taking advantage of Jensen's trusting nature.
I've discovered that if I pick a place where they sell Champaign as well that she quiets down really rapidly with a glass of good Champaign.
So you can see that 'Cross riding exercises your muscles, your stomach AND your mind.
What other bicycling is so complete?