It is a cable pattern though and as they pull in more than stockinette, you can get a tighter gauge without it being too tight. Shorter circs don't seem to affect my gauge, though I usually knit a looser one than pattern do, but I wouldn't think that would mess it up anyway.
You can do a fake in the round gauge like a giant I cord. For this one CO about 30 sts or so, work the first row, then slide the sts back to the beginning of the needle drape the yarn loosely across the back, and do the next row. Repeat.