I pride myself on pushing as big of a gear on my SS as possible (Which isn't very big). I run a 34 x 20. It feels right for me most of the time. I still don't know what gear ratio I'll run at Leadville but that is still 2 months away. Plenty of time to train and figure that out....Gulp.
But on my road bike, I decided to try something different. I went with a compact instead of traditional (Please do not start in with the uterus jokes until I explain).
When I ride my road bike, I like to climb. I don't like the flats. And every ride for me ends with either a climb up the North or South side of Suncrest. A compact is great for climbing. Not because the gearing is easier. In fact, I have yet to use the 3 easiest gears on my 11/26 cassette. I still climb at pretty much the same cadence and gearing as my traditional set up. But the compact is lighter and requires a shorter chain saving even more weight.
The only concern I had was how it would hold up during the sprint finish at the bottom of AF. Would I spin out?
I tested it out last week against the king of the AF sprint- Dug. I'm happy to report that so far this season, I am 1-0 against Dug and 3-0 overall for the season. Last year Dug beat me just about every sprint. He is the master. I'm sure my luck will end very soon but it won't be because I didn't have enough gearing.
I think I'll keep my compact for a while. If you like to climb, I recommend it.