Salsas are great bikes, but those are two very different rides you're comparing.
CXM actually did a review of the La Cruz is a previous issue. It's a great bike for all around riding, trails and cross. Little on the heavy side and the disc brakes are something you don't see on the race course too often.
I would say that the Con Crosso is more of a true cross racing bike, and is actually raced by the Clif bar Team.
Can I ask what the budget is? And what the intentions are? i.e. racing, touring, singletrack, etc.
budget is a concern, I would like to keep it under $2000. My intentions are to use it as an all round bike but I do want to do a few cross races. I want a bike that would function well at a cross race but not limit the all rounder. I would like to use it as winter training bike too, when the roads are a little to gross for my road bike. yes, some single track.
I think the con Crosso would be a great choice but it may be pushing the budget a bit.
As long as you're not racing UCI races, the La Cruz may be the way to go. It's likely to be heavier, but maybe a little less harsh in rough terrain than the aluminum frame of the con crosso. And if you're looking for an all arounder, expecialy for when the weather gets harsh, then the disc brakes are a big benefit.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my personal choice though, since it would fit the budget...
I've been riding a Van Dessel for over a year and love it.
I have a 2 year old Blue CXC Medium, 54 cm cyclocross frame that is for sale. I am asking $700.00 for frame, fork, headseat, Campy front derailleur, seat clamp. Willing to negotiate. Check out the web site for more specifics. http://www.rideblue.com/bikearchive.php?state=cxc
I just rode the chili con crosso at Interbike and really did not like it, it was a bit of a let down because I loved the bike on paper. The Van Dessel was pretty good. A bike that surprised me was the Felt F15X. It rode really well and you can get the same frame in a cheaper Rival or 105 build to keep it under budget. I understand the Blue CXC is a great bike so I'd snatch up that offer for the used blue frame. A carbon frameset under a grand is a good deal. I also became a big fan of the TRP eurox brakes, they were spec'd on most of the bikes I rode and I thought they were great.
For what you want as an all-around bike, I'd look at the Gary Fisher Presidio. Its similar to the old lemond Poprad, but tweaked a little to make it a better all-around bike. It would meet your price point too. It won't be the lightest bike, but with some good wheels it would definitely be raceable (steel bikes work, a couple of guys rode all steel Richard Sachs bikes to top tens at CX nationals last year)
In the end I opted for the con crosso. I couldn't find a Fisher, Felt or the La Cruz in my size. The local dealer gave me a great deal on the con crosso.
thanks for all your thoughts and opinions.