Monday, June 21, 2010

"But I Wore the Juice": Tour of Washington County Race Report


At 5 feet 6 inches and about 270 pounds, bank robbery suspect McArthur Wheeler isn’t the type of person who fades into the woodwork. So it was no surprise that he was recognized by informants, who tipped detectives to his whereabouts after his picture was telecast Wednesday night during the Pittsburgh Crime Stoppers Inc. segment of the 11 o’clock news.

At 12:10 a.m. yesterday, less than an hour after the broadcast, he was arrested at 202 S. Fairmont St., Lincoln-Lemington. Wheeler, 45, of Versailles Street, McKeesport, was wanted in [connection with] bank robberies on Jan. 6 at the Fidelity Savings Bank in Brighton Heights and at the Mellon Bank in Swissvale. In both robberies, police said, Wheeler was accompanied by Clifton Earl Johnson, 43, who was arrested Jan. 12.[1]

Wheeler had walked into two Pittsburgh banks and attempted to rob them in broad daylight. What made the case peculiar is that he made no visible attempt at disguise. The surveillance tapes were key to his arrest. There he is with a gun, standing in front of a teller demanding money. Yet, when arrested, Wheeler was completely disbelieving. “But I wore the juice,” he said. Apparently, he was under the deeply misguided impression that rubbing one’s face with lemon juice rendered it invisible to video cameras.

--from the NY Times today

Last night I mulled over the Tour of Washington and some of the ambitions of my team. Several of our dreams were shot down before the race started, with Grayson suffering some broken ribs, a punctured lung, and all manner of nastiness on a Friday training ride and Grant attending to a family matter. Several were shot down by the race itself--we weren't strong enough, we didn't make the right choices, and...well, who knows?

That's the problem with backwards thinking--it's not any more insightful, usually, than forwards thinking; it just feels like it is.

But I wore the juice.

Mostly, I thought about my failed attempt to catch the winning two-man break--Kelly and ABRT, I believe--in the crit. About five laps in, two riders went off the front. I was in the middle of the pack, and didn't see them go. I moved to the front over the next couple of laps, and when a Bike Doctor rider went off the front, I decided to go.

At this point, the two in the break had 25 seconds on the pack. Bike Doctor had maybe 10.

I jumped really, really hard. I'd drunk a cup of coffee and a Rockstar before the race, so my body was humming. I caught the Bike Doctor guy, but he was fading fast. I sat on his wheel on the downhill, then jumped again on the uphill. At the base of the main drag, I noticed that the break was down to one man--ABRT was in the pit. Kelly was nearing the corner at the top of the climb. I knew this was my chance.

I hit the climb as hard as I could.

One lap later I was about 30 yards behind Kelly. I was closing. I was confident I could link up. Just then, however, I noticed the ABRT rider coming back in from the pit stop with his break partner; that is, he did not have to join at the back of the pack. I'm not sure about this precedent. I've never seen it before, and I have no idea what the rules say. All I know is that it broke my heart.

ABRT, fresh off his one-lap R&R, immediately started motoring. And there went my race.

Over the next two laps I drifted back to the pack, where I finished.

But I wore the juice.

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