If you like the feel of road vibration and a a typically overall quicker steering response, you know you won't be happy with a Rando/Endurance bike. On the other hand, who likes riding 23mm tires pumped to 120psi for 200 miles on chipped seal.
I am amazed at the difference between riding 27mm (really 31mm wide) Challenge Parigi-Roubaix pumped to 80 psi vs. other 25mm tires pumped to 100 psi. Of course the narrower tires on fast wheels changes the bike's character profoundly. Is it possible some of the dead feeling attributable to tires? Especially big cheap ones, they kill a ride.
I did my 400s on a carbon bike with 23mm tires at 140 lbs. on fairly aero wheels. Felt fast and just fine, chipseal or no. If roads had been all chipseal, I would have cut the pressure back, but most roads here are pretty smooth.
I think the "dead" is just carbon. It damps vibration. A fast bike doesn't have to beat you up, quite the contrary. And stage race bikes usually have good steering for LD and go where they're pointed. Stage race pros don't want to spend a lot of energy controlling the bike. I also have a CAAD9, pretty good crit bike, but I'd never take it randoing. Beats me up good.
I don't quite get the "road feel" thing that people talk about. I don't want to feel the road. I want a bike with wheels and tires that steer neutrally and give me feedback when I push it. I like the feeling of flying down the road.
I agree that carbon feels "dead". I came from a steel Gunnar, also had a carbon mt. bike, then decided on a carbon endurance road bike (Kona Red Zone). I instantly felt as though I was riding plastic and missed the ride characteristics of quality steel. That's not to say that the CF bike didn't excel at certain things. Sprints are so fast and instantaneous that you'd better have a firm grip on the hoods. Climbing was also better, as the bottom bracket area offered little to no flex. On long rides with poor road surfaces, the "dead" feel became a non-issue. I almost forgot about it and was quite comfortable. I ran conti GP 4000's, 25c.
It's worth mentioning that I have replaced the CF bike with another US made steel bike (co-motion), and while the co-motion doesn't climb as well, I wouldn't trade the ride quality for anything carbon. The tires for this bike are conti 4 seasons, 28c. The ride is magic to me, but I'm a steel guy.
The Kona Red Zone weight: (stock, no pedals or cages) = 15.8lbs. *Also still for sale*
Co-Motion Nor'Wester weight: (custom build, no pedals or cages) = 19.1lbs.
Hope this helps,