If what you want is a true road bike, but without the pain, consider getting a Specialized Roubaix or a Scott CR1.
These are both excellent road bikes with a slightly more upright riding position, and a carbon fiber frame that is engineered with comfort and distance in mind, while maintaining the speed and agility of a road machine.
This is the nicest (and most expensive) of the Specialized Roubaix line up. I'm pointing out this one in particular, in spite of the cost, because it uses electronic shifting. The battery powered shifters and derailleurs are only currently available on Shimano's highest end group. But that will be changing next year, when they release the Ultegra Di2 kit, and they will remove the pain from shifting for you. A light touch with one finger produces the fastest, smoothest, and crispest shifts I've ever seen, and I think will eliminate the pain of shifting for you.
The Di2 kits also have the unique ability to have 2 sets of shifters operate the same derailleurs. Which means you can put a set of buttons on the flat part of the bar, as well as having the more traditional STI brake lever shaped set, with no loss regardless of the position you are riding in.
The bike is amazingly light, and agile. But the best part is the smooth ride, and the comfort. It is a Centurion's bike.
The Scott CR1 SL is a similar design, my preference, actually. But they don't currently offer it with Di2 Electronic shifting. Again, it's on the horizon for next year.
These bikes are in no way intended for dirt, but no bike which is intended for dirt, even a cyclocross bike, is geared to stay in the pack with a true road machiine. You're better off keeping your current hybrid machine for when you go offroad, and buying a true road bike for the days on pavement with your buddies.