After getting bored with the non-schwagging vendors we headed back to claim our turf on the line. There was a small group of people right in front of us (they were there already when we set our chairs up) and were quite friendly to chat with as we passed the time. And soon enough, they were a-comin'. You could sort of hear the announcing, but it was so echo'ie and garbled that it was almost entirely unintelligible to me. But you could see the helicopter when they were getting close, and then the cars start to come thru.
Thankfully, whoever designed the course figured we wanted more than one quick pass. We got FIVE! They did 5 laps of the circuit, which was 4.9 miles, and each one took just over 10 minutes. The 4 man breakaway was the first to pass, and it was almost 3 minutes when the peleton came by in their chase. Next time around that gap had been cut in half. Next lap was down half again (down to around 30 seconds). Each passing was accompanied by everybody screaming, whistling, clanging their bells and using whatever other noise-makers they had. It was total mayhem and was awesome. There's just something magical about having over a hundred guys go WHOOSHING by on their bikes at a pretty decent clip.
After the finish 2 Shack riders came right to where we were standing. Helpers lifted one side of the barricades so they could escape the course and make their way to the team bus. Here is my pics of Jason McCartney and Ben King.
It is finished. The 2011 ToC is in the history books.