I am brand new to ANY type of biking, but I raced my first cross race today with a freind who introduced me to the sport a week ago (we're in Louisville, and I helped him pit for Adam Myerson and Chris Jones of NERAC racing at the GP event and I was hooked). I don't have a bike, so I bought some shoes on Saturday and raced today on his mtb (didn't really do that poorly, really). Anyway, I loved it (knew I would) and am ready to put a little into it -- although, I don't really have all that much to put into it (money wise). I am fortunate enough through a connection, however, to have a brand new (once ridden) TREK 7.5 FX at my disposal.
I was hoping for some advice on how to most efficiently convert this bike for cx. It has road tires on it, so I'll need some new tires (easy), but my biggest concern are the bars and shifters. It has carbon (I think) mtb style bars, and I'd need to put drops (trying to throw in some terms of the trade), which aren't that expensive either, but I'll need new shifters, too, right? My buddy said I'd be fine, especially as a beginner with Shimano 105's, but even they are expensive on eBay, it seems $150 or so (?).
Is there a way to use the existing shifters with drops, or will bike stores take the brand new mtb/hybrid shifters in as trade?
Anything else I'm missing (the saddle looks great, the pedals accept my SPD cleats, 27 gears (3 front, 9 rear)? Is this a bike that will be well suited to the sport once converted?
Any help, review of the 7.5 FX as it relates to cx, and/or advice is appreciated.