I barely know where to start so I'm going to compartamentalize it a little bit just so I can sort through it for myself. This first bit is just general impressions and thanks to all the staff & volunteers.
The first thing that needs saying is that the organization, logistics and people behind this event were and are 100% top-drawer-fantastic. At no point in this event did it feel like anything less than completely professional, well oiled, pick yer cliche of choice but it was all so well done that to look for areas to improve is difficult. Also worth noting is that while the entrance fee for this event is steep, at no point did it come off as less than totally generous. Really. ~2k per person, but unless you're a local you'd be hard pressed to do that trip on your own for less. (and it wouldn't be half the fun) 3 ferry rides, accomodations, a couple bus rides, bike and luggage transport when req'd, heaps of swag, piles and piles of food.. Amazing!
I did hear a couple critiques of some specific things but the only one that was voiced by more than a couple people was the quantity of toilets in a couple of the stage locations. It's a legitimate comment, but nobody shat themselves that I'm aware of, so, while it's an area to improve on it's not like it was unacceptable, just could be a bit better.
But anyway, the hard stuff. ie. everything else. Moving people, bikes, showers, tent city, bike shop, lounge, medical station, catering and all the other resources required to make this event pleasurable, and moving it on a tight schedule was done with the utmost professionalism, courtesy, and good humour from the staff and volunteers that it was truly incredible.
I wish I could have expressed my gratitude personally to all involved but there were far too many of them, time was short and there was already a line up at the bar..
Some, like 'Pembroke John' at the aid stations who always had a "Hey Ottawa! looking good!" were especially memorable and appreciated. ..when you're frantically trying to get in and out of the stations, someetimes it's the little things that stand out. Johns colleague for example earned a profession of my undying love for pre-opening the packages of sharkies for us. She seemed to think I was making a joke or something though.. weird. Anyway, it was thanks to all these guys and undoubtedly many many more operating behind the front lines that the event was as awesome as it was. oh yeah, one of the Moto riders was infectiously cheerfull. I didn't get, or forgot :/ his name despite talking with him at the GLC Friday, but will be remembered as the "Hello Moto.." guy.
so, to all those involved. Thanks. It was an amazing experience.
team 26 (2)
p.s. Thanks also to the fellow racers who we spent many hours with out on course. Unfortunately I didn't get many names, but we enjoyed the time and conversation spent with a few teams in particular including the Ryders guys, the Vermont guys on the Lynskey niners, the Steed Cycles women, several of the folks from Eriksen, Julio (Suarez rep) and quite a few more.
P.S. I'll follow with some rather wordy stage by stage reports..