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Hey "Pokey" ;) Hope I didn't hit you with the bug :)

Here's my thoughts and you can take it as you want. Personally, I think you have two options:
1. Get the Roubaix and you can start riding immediately, OR
2. Get the Tarmac and swap out the crankset to compact.

Mainly because with all the pretty nasty hills over where we are, double is going to be really tough. Finding hills with over 15% is quite common as you are aware. Also I think we are in the same boat as far as fitness goes. Although I have quite more pounds over you.

I have double compact (34 in the front) and upgraded my rear to 12-27. With it I was able to do Mt. Eden/Pierce Road climb. At the steep parts of Pierce, I was wishing for lower gears although I made it up. Having done that, I think I am able to try the steep longer hills, i.e. OLH, Montebello, and there is Orbit/Bohlman, etc..., but I have not yet had the chance yet. Just as reference, imagine climbing on your MTB with your middle chainring (32) and down 2 or 3 from the biggest in the rear, and that's what it feels like.
 

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Pokey said:
I don't get it... Does the geometry have more to with what is comfy? or is it setup? including stem length, etc?
I am learning that on road bikes, geometry and fit is everything. Coming from mountain bikes, sometimes we associate with small changes here and there, but that's not the case with road bikes.
 

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Pokey said:
On the MTb, I have the 22t ring up front and a 34-tooth in the cog in the back. There's not much I can't ride up with that. I can see me running out of steam on a steep grade with only a double. I hate nothing more than to have to get off the bike and walk! OOF! The shop owner said I would have to swap out the entire crankset if I maybe wated to go with a double-compact. That kinda sucks. How often do you use the tallest gears on a road bike? Maybe going wide open on a downhill?
As mentioned before, imagine having to climb with your middle ring in the front (btw that's 32t) and 2 or 3 gears down in the rear. On Double, it's 39t in the front. On Double Compact, it's typically 34t in the front. With Triple, you will get 30t in the front. Also the rear comes in at 25t. I swapped out to my rear to 12-27t as soon as I got the bike.
 

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ericm979 said:
But if the Tarmac pushes your buttons, get it. You can race or ride centuries with either bike. I'd strongly recommend a compact or a triple though. We've got a lot of "sick" hills here in the bay area.
I agree wholeheartedly. Get what pushes your buttons so that there is buyer's remorse. I think that's the last thing you want. However, I would also highly recommend that you swap out to compact if you do decide to go with Tarmac. Swapping to Triple is going to be much more complicated as it's more than just the crankset.
 
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