Skeet Horsey

Turkish spiders were larger and more aggressive than Virginia spiders. Once I was in my tent studying, and a Wolf Spider ran at me. I hate spiders (they frighten me), so I chased him off, and he came back. I chased him off, and he came back again! Being merciful, I didn't want to kill the monster but was amazed at how he seemed to 'want' me. So I popped him and left his dead body in the entrance of the tent as a detterent to the spider kingdom. We didn't have another spider for the rest of my deployment. Turkish Spiders are tough...when I rolled him over he had a tatoo of a Biker on his chest.

This is the view I had from my bicycle on the back side of Incirlik Airbase, Turkey. This is the city of Adana, about the size of Richmond, Virginia, and just off the right side of this shot was the world's second largest mosque (stay tuned for more on this). We'd wake every morning to the Muslim chants coming over the loud speakers on base.

I had a very bright yellow Incirlik Airbase T-shirt which I'd usually wear over my jersey so the hair-trigger Turkish guards in the towers wouldn't shoot me when I rode at dusk. I'd heard they were a little antsy. We had some bombings in Adana over the past few months, and tensions were high. I waved and smiled to as many guards as possible and made sure they knew who I was.
I had yet to win a race. On January 25th I ran the Martin Luther King Day run, a 5K. I hung on to the leader, nearly clipping his heels, and then made a mad dash for the line in the last 1/4 mile. I thought I was safe and even cross the road at an angle so I could finish next to the folks timing the race. But the guy caught me and passed me with about 16 meters to go, and for the fourth time in a row, I was 2nd. I hadn't won a race in six years. It looked like my last chance to win--I went over that finish many times, even measuring how much distance I added to the run by crossing to the other side of the road when I didn't have to. Why did I do that? Stupid, stupid ,stupid! I went from being applauded for my 2nd place in November to being an office joke because I couldn't win. On the plaque they presented me when I left, they engraved "check six" to remind me to look behind to see if someone was sneaking up on me at the finish.
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February 1997

Adana, Turkey>>>