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Would it be cheaper to convert a good road bike to a good cyclo bike. or just buy a good cross bike from the get go.
 

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there is seldom a time when you get enought mud clearance, even on an older steel frame road bike. After adding the proper brake mounts and such and blowing some paint on it, you end up with a bike that will still only be suitable for courses in very dry climates where you can run a small tire. It's a waste of your money, just get some used redline or similar OK quality cross bike for $500 and be done with it. Avoid the real old euro steel cross bikes also.
 
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