I searched the BikeForums and found a number of threads discussing road vs hybrid bikes, but nothing that addressed my specific question.
Background - started out with an old Schwinn MTB about 15 years ago, rode a SWB recumbent for about 5 years, switched back to the Schwinn, and when buying a lighter aluminum frame "comfort bike" for the wife a couple of years ago, I picked up one for myself. Based on several conversations I've had with some folks here and F2F I've realized that over the years I've moved in the direction of being more of an endurance rider, preferring rides in the 15-20 mile range and I've started seeking out organized tours and local group rides. We've done the 30-mile Tour De Troit several years running, did 38 miles on the Amishland & Lakes tour last summer, and I've started getting into the monthly Critical Mass rides. I'm working hard to keep myself in shape this winter with a weekly spinning and core-strength class, and hope to start hooking up this spring with a bunch of folks that do a 30-miler through downtown Detroit every Saturday morning. The distance goal this year is to do at least one metric century.
Anyway, I've been told that I'm probably working way too hard with my current bike (a Trek Navigator), and I've voiced complaints that suggest that it probably isn't fitted properly, so I started making the rounds to some of the good LBS's in my area. The first place I visited last week right off the bat recommended that I look seriously at a road bike. This was a surprise as I figured that a hybrid was probably my only option. However the young man that I spoke to at some length believed that a good road bike (he was recommending that I try out a Specialized Secteur Sport Compact), properly sized and fitted was going to be much more comfortable and enjoyable for me than a hybrid.
I'm all for comfort, and speed, and the sheer joy of whizzing along with a light and responsive bike, but as you can see from my history above I find myself running a lot in urban settings that may not be the ideal glass-smooth surface that I associate with road biking. Sections of bad pavement, debris, railroad tracks, curbs etc. are all things that I encounter from time-to-time, and I'm wondering if a road bike is in any way contra-indicated for these kinds of environments? Some of the reviews for the Secteur in particular report a good ability to absorb shock and vibration, so I'm thinking that there really isn't any cause for concern on this score, but would appreciate folks' thoughts on this.