I'm in the market for my first "real" bike. A little bit about me: I live in St. Louis, which has a wide variety of cycling options. There are rocky mountain biking trails on the edges of the city, lots of streets with bike lanes, paved trails dedicated to cyclists only, and one end of the 200-mile Katy trail (a rail-to-trail with a packed limestone gravel surface). I'd like to use the bike as a new hobby and way to explore the area, and won't use it for commuting, only recreational riding. I haven't rode much in years, besides a few rides on a borrowed mountain bike, which I found much too slow on roads for my tastes. I was originally tempted to just go buy a road bike (probably a Trek 1.2 or 1.5, but I'd be open to other options), however I'm worried that a road bike will be too fragile for the Katy Trail and some of the broken pavement in St. Louis. Road bikes aren't recommended on the Katy Trail, which is why I'm currently leaning towards a cyclocross bike (such as the Kona Jake the Snake, which looks like it has good components and great reviews). The reservation I have with a cyclocross bike is about giving up speed and long-distance ridability on paved trails. Eventually, I'd like to get up to 50+ mile rides in a day...would a cyclocross get uncomfortable over long distances compared to a dedicated road bike? How about the "speed" factor...would people on road bikes be wizzing by me on paved trails on a cyclocross (assuming we were both in similar shape, of course). I would not be against buying an alternative set of wheels and tires for use on pavement if I bought a cyclocross bike. Budget wise, I'd like to spend $1500 or less. Preferably more like $900, but the Kona and Trek 1.5 are both above that. Thanks for any help!