I've been thinking of racing cross for a while, and when a really, really good deal sprung up recently for a brand new IF Planet X frame, I couldn't say no. At my size (I'm 5'1"), there are very few stock frames that are small enough for me to ride, an IF being one of them.
So... I now have a beautiful 44cm IF frame that I need to build up. I've never built a bike before and I don't have all the money in the world to spend on it (I never thought I'd be able to afford an IF, even, but I got magically lucky), so I'd like to know where I can afford to "skimp" on parts and where I absolutely shouldn't. I'd like to get at least Ultegra-level parts throughout. I also need to take into account things like finding narrow handlebars and shorter (165 mm) cranks that will attach to a cross-specific crankset.
I'd like to have the bike built by the spring... which should be enough time (I hope!!) to find deals online and at bike swaps if I am patient.
Brief background: I ride on the road recreationally a lot, mountain bike occasionally, and I live in Massachusetts near Boston where races often get rained on, muddy, snowy, the works.
Why wait until the spring? You still have a month and half left in the cx season! Keene, NH next weekend and Plymouth, MA the following one. I would keep your spec'd parts in the 105/Ultegra range, wheels are going to be the tough part. The IF frame is sweet, you're going to love it. I actually have one sitting in my apartment that I might buy, but I just finished getting my Redline together, and cannot really justify the expense.
You are in the right place for CX info, these guys have all been great. Good luck. Zach
I talked to my local bike store guy (who is awesome) yesterday and we're probably going to spec out and build up the bike together - he told me I should definitely invest in the wheels. It'll be a while waiting for everything to come in (I don't even have the fork yet! IF is making it right now), but there's slight chance I might be able to race at the very very end of the season provided I can find everything I need and I can dig up the cash flow to get it all (the cash flow issue was the reason I was going to wait a while, but I figure I might be able to just suck it up and do it now).
On a good/bad note, my work just told me this morning that I have to go to Long Beach, CA for two weeks (yay sun!) leaving Thursday (!!!), which may or may not totally screw up my "training" schedule (obviously I'm not really training for anything, I just like to ride or work out in some way most days).
Also, it'll put a damper on getting bike parts together too.