...or how I caged and tortured my bike for many years.
I have an 04 Jamis Nova. I got it because it was the best deal I could find for a steel bike with strong wheels. I've road it exclusively on the road since I got it, and the nobbies it came with had never seen a single spin. This morning, my friend who races cross and I hit the trails before work and sucked in the rain, cold, and mud. Oh my god, I did not stop smiling till 4pm... but just because I bonked from trying to wait for dinner.
As a road bike, I never really loved my Nova. I've made it a better bike over the years, and it's sure taken a beating under me. Once I got it off road, that thing was amazing. I've never felt like this from a road ride on it. We hit single track, gravel, country roads, and and some moderate technical mountain bike roads. I only stopped whooping when I had to catch my breath.
Cyclecross kicks, seriously. It felt like snowboarding, but free, more athletic, and a lot more dirty.
I feel stupid for waiting so long to get out and use the bike as it was meant to be, but damn am I glad I finally did.