Watching the riders turn over the seven hour mark as they finally roll home. Let's dive right in:
- Dominique Rollin... ze winner. How the hell does a guy have any sap left in his legs for a long attack in a miserable headwind? I guess it's all relative; maybe Hink and Camano and the rest were just seizing up. Boffo win though.
- The Minnows: Winners! Finally, someone breaks the Pro Tour stranglehold. While American fans like seeing the best of the best, the race needs the domestic pros to enliven things too, and Toyota-United has never disappointed.
- Anyone who labored under the illusion that there wouldn't be days like this... Losers! Actually, it's possible nobody fits the description, but the organizers can be forgiven for entering the day drunk on success. People here are always pointing out that the beautiful weather which has graced this event for 100% of its existence is nothing less than a fluke. Actually, this demonstrates the painful relationship we west coasters have with winter weather. Unlike the Northeast or upper Midwest where you're pretty much guaranteed a harsh winter's day this time of year, on the left coast you are never more than one high pressure system away from glory, even in Seattle. And never more than one Pacific jet stream away from abject misery... or fabulous skiing.
- The Organizers... meh. Today was the first time in three years I felt like the course wasn't ideal. Having pumped up stage 3 into a full-on HC stage, the coastal romp now takes place between the signature road stage and the decisive time trial. Maybe the rain and headwinds were a slight surprise, but I think next year they're going to have to make this stage a little more certain to give riders a breather. Yo, it's February. 217 km is about 40km too much.
- Whoever designed the finish... winner! Rollin's brave solo plus Hink and Camano rendered the sprint to 4th place, so the big pileup around that left-handed, away-sloping turn at 200 meters never materialized. Whew!