1. Rain can be awesome. As we rolled westbound from Front Royal on Saturday and I put on the vest that had been in my gear bad since April or whenever, I didn't mind being wet at all. In fact I rather enjoyed it, and enjoyed being cold as well. My rides from home usually start with about a 45" climb up the Mur de Glen Cove, and for the last solid month I have had a fully unzipped jersey and been drenched in sweat by the time I reach the top. As much as I generally prefer warm weather over cold, and dry weather over wet, the change was very nice indeed.
2. "The Italians are coming, the Italians are coming!" Apart from Vinny Nibbles getting third overall, Italian riders had a pretty unspectacular Tour. Italian manufacturers, on the other hand, had a field day. Riders on Pinarellos won 7 stages and the top two spots on GC. Thanks to Europcar riders, Colnago bagged 3 stages. Cannondale and Ridley led the "manufacturers who've been in business for less time than I've been alive" category with 3 wins each. Significance of this? Probably nothing, other than whatever Pinarello fronted to remain the train of "choice" for UK Postal will probably pay off quite well.
3. A Castelli San Remo Speedsuit (tm) makes you 4-5 kph faster. Mon dieu! That's a lot of free speed - much more than going from the worst aerodynamic wheels to the best. Why you all aren't wearing them on every ride is beyond me.
4. Marital bliss on bicycles is a wonderful thing, but it can be fragile. For example, if my wife keeps chicking me I am going to have to break out the whoop stick. If other people don't stop crashing they ladies out, it's going to turn ugly.
5. Nellyville is a strange and wonderful place to build wheels. I've built a metric shit ton of wheels in the last week - I'm even going to get some new tubulars for myself (5 months overdue).
6. GoPro cameras don't work all that flash in the rain - "look, kids - RAIN DROPS!!!" Also, YouTube does not want to share the footage of me doing the Massanutten climb LIKE A BOSS. It claims the video is too long, but I know they're just trying to protect young fragile eggshell minds.
7. Even if approach it fresh, under ideal conditions, without being 45 miles into a hard ride and my best 5' effort of all time less than an hour behind me, with no camera/pocket crap/seat bag/vest/water bottles etc, and go 100% full gas instead of "let's not relax but definitely keep it steady" pace, I probably won't ever punk Joe D's time up 211 to Skyline from the Luray side. When we drive back from Page Valley in a couple of weeks, I might give it a shot - in the car.
8. Dropping tour buses is fun. We didn't want to get stuck behind a tour bus for the extremely wet descent down to Front Royal, so with a tour bus coming up hard behind us on the false flat before the Dickey Ridge station, we went full bat shit hard for a minute and dropped him before the descent. Two turns later I looked back and that bus was no where to be found. Getting stuck behind him would have sucked, but we exchanged a big smile and wave with the driver at the bottom.
9. Bring a blinkie light and Park Rangers are cool. When we got up to Skyline, it was foggy as hell. Would have been awful nice to have a blinkie light in order not to get creamed. Ranger Savedge loaned us a flashlight to rig up as a ghetto tail light - it worked, we didn't get hit by a car.
10. Seeing bears is pretty cool no matter how often it happens.