Jason, this is my point. You improved dramatically in strength, for 2 years, not 6 months, doing a program usually requiring less than 30 minutes of training per day. A program where the main focus is not strength. You also improved your conditioning to very high levels.
Do you believe spending 30 minutes a day on a strength only program (like SS) would have brought your Deadlift much higher than 525lbs in the first 2 years? Would it even have brought you to 525lbs by that time?
Starting Strength, which apparently is "Training", is all about those initial strength gains. It's not designed to be used for 2+ years in most people. Pretty quickly you need a longer, more involved program. And the gains will be much, much slower. No program that I've seen gets people from 600 to 700lbs in a year (naturally). Rippetoe doesn't have one. At that point the gains are slow no matter what. This comes as a shock to most CrossFitters, when their unbelievable gains start to taper off, but this is not a fault with CrossFit. It's a reality of all Training.
Also, I've never seen Coach Glassman say or imply that main site was the only thing that someone should do. In 2005 he wrote "There is plenty of time within an hour session to warm up, practice a basic movement or skill or pursue a new PR or max lift, discuss and critique the athletesí efforts, and then pound out a tight little couplet or triplet utilizing these skills or just play." Virtuosity
In my opinion, it's unfair to ask Main Site alone to accomplish everything that anyone could ever want in fitness. Good coaches, in CrossFit, give additional focus work, etc. as needed for the clients who are willing to put in the extra time to get to the next level. You can't become a competitive powerlifter by training 30 minutes a day. You can't become an Olympic-level weightlifter by training 30 minutes a day. You also can't become a Games-level crossfitter training 30 minutes a day, anymore. (Although an hour per day is reportedly enough for Valerie Voboril)
Athletes at the Elite level in any field generally train 4+ hours per day. It's a testament to the efficacy of Main Site programming that people are seriously comparing the effects of a sub-30 minute program to incredibly complex and custom tailored 4+ hour training protocols.
To say that top CrossFitters aren't doing "CrossFit" because they are not doing "Main Site only" is silly.
Even still, as your personal experience attests, Main Site will give you solid strength gains by itself for a few years. This is also what Starting Strength is designed to do (if you can even progress on it for that long).
If Rippetoe and everyone else doesn't think that those first two years count as "Training", then I disagree. I don't believe the implication that you can't "Train" for the first 2+ years because you are a novice.
"Exercise" does not bring 500lb Deadlifts in my book. Zumba, Jogging, Walking, Spinning, Step Aerobics, Kickboxing, Bootcamps, treadmills, Ellipticals, etc. do not bring 500lb Deadlifts. Or anywhere close to that. I'm ok with categorizing those things as "Exercise". But a program that brings the kind of measurable gains that CrossFit does is not mere "Exercise". If "poorly-programmed random flailing-around in the floor for time" can bring a 500lb Deadlift, then why is it so hard for a novice to get one on Starting Strength only?