It tolls for thee, Big Ring. I while ago I penned this missive, "Double or Nothing?", on whether the trend toward 2 ringed cranks on MTBs was the deal or not.
I still think it has some limitations, but now after a couple of years on 2x9 and 6 months down the trail on 2x10, I am more sold then ever.
What brought this back to mind was a conversation I had the other day with a well known person in the MTB press that was singing the praises of his recent change to a 2-By crank (9spd rear) and how, while at first it seemed a bit over-geared, he had come to appreciate the lack of gear duplication and direct shifting response that a good 2-By set up offers. He even went so far as to say that the new Shimano 3x10 felt like there were too many choices, too much shifting, and you always felt like you were in the wrong gear.
Today I did 3 hour ride on the Giant XTC 29er-1 that was mostly bike path and roads just to break up the normal drill of MTB rides of late. It was so odd to think in terms of threes. Looking down just seems odd with that big ring on there. It was nice for the bike path, but there was nothing it did that a 2x9 set-up would not have done. It was odd not to be able to run big-big combos, something that I tend not to do at length with the 2x10 XX, but it does it with absolutely no complaints. Big-big on the Giant was a no-no and did not feel good at all. Now that used to be a 'well, duh' kinda thing as in, "hey dummy, shift your bike properly", but now it seemed inconvenient to not be able to run the rear cluster in any chainring I was in.
How times change.