Workouts significantly easier in small ring with ERG mode?

I’m in the middle of high volume SSB1 using a Wahoo Kickr in ERG mode and have always done my intervals in the big ring. Today I had Eclipse on the schedule (3 x 20 min @ sweetspot) and decided to try doing the intervals in my small ring, and I was surprised by how much easier the workout felt from an RPE perspective. Although target power was the same as all my other sweetspot workouts in this block, the intervals today were significantly lower in terms of RPE. Aside the from difference in gearing, my cadence remained the same (100-105 RPM) and there was nothing significantly different about this workout compared to others I have done during this SSB.

From reading other topics on the forum, it sounds like many people have had the exact opposite experience, and I’m wondering if there is any downside to doing my intervals in my small ring. Given that my power is the same, am I getting the same stimulus doing intervals in the small ring?

If you enjoyed the sensation and could keep your power numbers stable then you’ll get less noise and potentially less wear on your drivetrain.

I have an Elite which sucks for Erg mode, but when I do use it I find I have to use the big ring the closer I get to threshold/supra threshold to be able to keep the power stable. Endurance rides are nice in Erg and small ring for me.