Going Down the Line

3D is more of a challenge for me that target shooting. That’s not to suggest that at either discipline there isn’t a great deal of hardship. Hitting the X ring whether it’s at 18 meters, 50 meters, 80 yards or hitting a 12 ring on a deer at 40 yards, each target offers unique requirements for a good shot. I don’t say a perfect shot. You don’t need a perfect shot to hit an X. A really good shot can hit the X. A perfect shot is a rare occurrence in my experience. So, to prepare for an upcoming 3D tournament I’ve been focused on foam animals.

Today, rather than practice on my targets I headed over to the Walton Public Dove and Field Archery Range near Social Circle, Georgia. There I could practice on targets I don’t own.

Because the targets are set up in a line, I started with a bison and worked my way down the line. Each target I shot at 40 yards. I shot each until all shots were in the 10 ring. The exception was the last target in the line, a turkey.

Shooting with pins and without magnification made the turkey a really tough bird.* I adjusted my practice for that target and shortened the distance to 35 yards. At 40 yards there was always at least one arrow in the 8 ring.

 

Of course, as part of my archery training, I did cardio as in running and riding. The morning trial run was uneventful. Riding brought me into close proximity with a dead deer and a feast on the dead.

*When it comes to 3D i prefer pins and a hunting rig.

 

A Stinky Run and Some Morning 3D

The morning started as usual. River and I hitting the trails I’ve cut in our woods for a run. The plan for training and practice was pretty much the same as it is every Thursday with the exception of practicing 3D rather than shooting at paper targets.

A great place to run – behind my house

During the run River took off in another direction for longer than usual. She gets to free range in the woods unless she’s out of sight to longer than I am comfortable not being able to see her or hear her.

When that happens I whistle and she returns. Today, when I whistled she returned with gusto. There was a big dog smile on her face. And for her, she was smiling with good reason, a reason she shared.

River had found something particularly smelly and nasty to roll in. She came barreling at me and slammed her chest against me thereby transferring some of good stink onto me. That, of course, meant we’d both get hosed off as soon as we returned home. It was exceptionally nasty.

Here comes the stink

River having a bath was kept off the 3D range after the run. It is a bit lonely without her but I wasn’t taking a chance that she’d return to whatever gross mess it was that she’d found earlier.

I’ve not shot in a 3D tournament since last year and am planning to compete in one this weekend. Yardage has been the focus of the past few days of practice. That and making shots interesting.

At 40 yards, this is an interesting shot. (Photo zoomed)

I’ve been shooting the same targets for a few years now and creating ways to keep them lively helps make practice enjoyable. For example, I’ll position myself so that there are narrow lanes or longer distances (50 yards is the max with my pins) can keep me on my toes during practice. Hopefully, this will pay dividends this weekend.

 

 

2018 Georgia Bowhunter and Archery Association State Target Championship

Last weekend I competed in a two-day archery tournament. I was on the morning line, which shot at 9:00 am. The afternoon archers shot at 3:00PM. Both days were idea for archery. The event was one of those outdoor NFAA 900 contests where over the two day a maximum number of points that could be earned is 1800. To earn those points archers shot 6 arrows per end, with 30 arrows at 60 yards, 30 at 50 yards and 30 at 40 yards. Then, on the next day repeated the sequence.

It rained a little the first day. The second it was clear and a bit warm. It was also my first event of this style. What I didn’t know is that three to four archers would shoot at the same target. I was on a target with two archers, both very good shooters. Of the 540 arrows we shot into that target only three or four landed outside the yellow ring.

That meant there were a lot of arrows, 18 after each end, in the X, 10 or 9 rings. Here’s where my lack of experience hurt.

I thought we’d be shooting our own target. I carried enough arrows to give me spare ones should I hit one of my arrows and break something. With all those arrows from the other guys all hitting in same spot you can guess a lot of arrows got damaged.

Yet again, a great photo of me shooting. (That’s me in the light blue. You can just make out my right arm and a bit of my right side.)

Now, this is not a complaint. It was kind of fun. The only down side was that is seemed by arrows were taking the blunt of the arrow busting intersections.

Talk about a little stress. Before we were half way through the first day I was down four arrows. Thankfully, I made it with one extra arrow left in reserve after day one.

On day two I brought every arrows I owned for that style of archery. Overall, 7 of my arrows were damaged. I got three of their arrows. I was kind of exciting. While not shooting we’d watch the target and yell out when fletching or a nock would fly off an arrow following contact. At one point we had 18 arrows all wedged into the ten ring. We only did that once, on the remainder the ends there would be one or more arrows sticking in the nine spot. (Except for the few eights.)

It was fun shootings arrows even if I took the most damage. Tomorrow I’ll be headed to the archery shop at Ace Hardware in Social Circle to get arrows repaired.

Old Geezer Speed Demons

Here in Georgia I’ve been getting in more cycling miles than I did in North Carolina. Partly, this is because all the roads are new. Partly because the roads are mainly rolling hills which is my favorite terrain to ride.

During my rides I’ve seen loads more riders than I did in North Carolina. There is rarely a day when I’m riding that I don’t see other riders. The riders here, the ones I’ve seen, are fast.

All of the riding and seeing other cyclists has sparked an old competitive cycling flame. That flame does not extend to criteriums or road races. Should I race a pure bicycle race it would be a time trial. The likelihood of a crash in lowest during a time trial compared to road races or crits. As a past triathlete I’m a pretty good time trial rider. As an archer I can’t afford a crash that could break a collarbone, arm, hand, or even having to deal with road rash. Heck, that simply applies to being alive. So, if I race it would be a time trial.

Having the cycling bug awakened I began looking for an individual time trial where I could race. I’m not ready to race. I could race but I am not in cycling race shape. If I entered a time trial right now I would not win even in my age group. I knew that before I started checking current race results. I check what the current race times are for riders in my age group for individual time trials.

The race results I read pretty much squashed any consideration I’d had of enrolling into a cycling time trial. The finish times were just too incredible. While it hasn’t been that long since I raced those races where triathlons and duathlons. In both I’d competed in world championships and had twice been selected to represent the USA as a Team athlete. As fast as I thought I was there is no way I could compete with the times I discovered.

The times I read for older riders were absolutely amazing. The top riders are faster than some Professional Triathletes! Some of them, over similar distances would have ranked with Professional men cyclists at races like the Tour of France and the Tour of Italy. It was truly incredible. It seems old guys have gotten really fast.

What’s more impressive is that as we age we lose lung volume. The means that older riders won’t have the same vital capacity, lung volume, or ability to flush CO2 from there bodies and bring in oxygen as well as younger riders. One older rider that caught my eye was able to complete a time trial (30K) nearly as fast as the winner of a Professional time trial (30K). In fact, this older rider would have beaten many of the professionals in the comparable event.

I then checked the times of some of my old racing buddies to see if they had found this fountain of youth that kept them fast as they were during their true glory days. A number of them had been on an Olympic Team and they never stopped racing. So, those fellows should be smashing the times of the older amateurs that picked up competitive cycling after they retired.

Nope! The newly minted old geezer cyclists would kick the ex-Olympians butts. I know the current old geezers would bet me – I was never as fast as these monster old guy cyclists.

I suppose this new breed of old guy time trialists are remarkable athletes. It would have been hard to imagine a guy in his mid-60’s cranking out speeds faster than professional triathletes and in some cases profession men cyclists had I not read the results.

The question comes to mind, “How is this possible?”

Under normal physiological processes I don’t believe the times represent the entire picture. For example, I know that human growth hormone can lead to improvement in lung volume among older mean. I know that testosterone can improve training and EPO can improve races results. Certainly, the old fellows racing for fun wouldn’t be using PEDs to win races against other old guys out for a fun day of bicycle races. Seriously, do all that (cheating) for a First Place the award is a $2.00 medal.

At some point I may still look for a bicycle time trial to race. But, it will be for fun.

Here me now, believe me later references:

https://www.ijdp.org/article/S0955-3959(17)30140-8/pdf

http://www.velonews.com/2016/06/feature/totally-amateur_408457

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4659343/

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/jun/01/dope-and-glory-the-rise-of-cheating-in-amateur-sport

Snakes on the Range

Dealing with snakes is constant activity for me. Last year, in North Carolina it was moccasins and copperheads. In Georgia it is rattlesnakes and copperheads.

My 3D range is also where I trail run. Whether I am running or shooting I carry a small pistol in case I cross paths with an ill-tempered viper. I don’t mess with snakes that don’t mess with me.

I’ve seen lots of snakes running and shooting. I even see them when I riding a bike.

When I’m in the woods I keep a close watch on the ground. River, my lab that runs with me and tags along during archery practice has pointed out a few snakes I missed. She’s also missed a few that I found first.

I carry this little Ruger while running on my trails and practicing archery.

This is the time of year to keep a close look out for snakes if you’re in the woods.

Cycling – Dumb Stuff I Do

It was hot, 94°F, and no complaint from me. I’d been outside all day. I’d run, shot for 2 hours, dug up 15 Lenton Rose bushes at one of my daughter’s homes, loaded them into my truck, then replanted them at our home. I’d planted Ivy, had a nice lunch, took a 30-minute break and was heading out for a bike ride before afternoon archery practice.

Because it was hot (and I was wiped) I had planted a nice easy ride. When I grabbed a kit for the ride I’d pulled out an old Vapotherm jersey. The jersey is about 12 years old. Vapotherm is a medical device company that makes a product to help people breathe. It was a total random thing grabbing the jersey. It could have been any number of other jerseys. At any rate I wore it.

On the ride I thought it might be cool to send a picture of the old jersey to friends that had also ridden wearing a similar jersey a decade or so ago. I slowed down, coasted, and tried to take a selfie of the jersey. The result of that is shown here.

While doing so a “hot shot” on his bike zoomed past me. I was maybe coasting at 7 mph. He was cruising at around 20 mph. He said a cocky, “Hello” and didn’t slow down. No problem except for the cocky tone in his voice.

I could have let is pass. I knew what was going through my head was going to hurt – me. I decided it was going to be worth the pain.

Putting my phone back into my jersey pocket I put some power on and chased the hotshot down. Now, I didn’t exactly catch him. I didn’t want to be any closer than about 5 to 10 yards. Just close enough that he would know I was back there.

He appeared to be a competitive cyclist as evidence by his shaved legs and cocky attitude. Going through his ears was now the sound of another cyclist behind him but not on his wheel. He can do a few things: 1) keep the same pace, 2) speed up and see if the can get rid of the bothersome unknown rider, or 3) slow down and see if the rider in the back could be a new friend with whom to train. The latter is the choice of a gentleman. He chose the option number two. I’d suspected that would be his decision. This is the part I knew would hurt.

As he increased his pace I hung just behind him at a 5 – 10 yard gap. If I got closer than 5 yards I’d coast. Coasting on a nice bike makes a distinct sound and can be heard from a short distance. The sound is so distinct that unless the cyclist was deaf he knew that someone was behind him, not drafting, but coasting. This happened when we came off a downhill and began the uphill or when I inadvertently got too close.

What I wanted to do was present the image of an old fellow out for a leisurely ride that just happened to be riding the same direction as the puffed-up fellow. I also knew if the guy really was in shape I’d only be able to keep this up for a few miles.

Actually, he was really, really good. His leg spin was flawless; he was smooth and not even a tad squirrely on his bike. After five miles I thought that maybe I’d ride beside him and introduce myself. I didn’t. I was a little embarrassed. I kept my distance.

I wasn’t too sure where we were and I knew now I had a pretty long ride home. He’s made a turn off my normal route. I’m still learning the back roads here.

Eventually, I pulled off onto a road that I hoped would put me on a path home. I’d been playing this game for six miles. I wasn’t hurting as much as I thought I’d be by this point. However, I was hurting. The guy did turn out to be a good rider, held a steady pace, and would have been easy to ride with. I regret not introducing myself. I lost a potential person to train with. But, the game was fun. (At least in my head)

Longer Yardage Practice

This coming weekend there’s a tournament where archers have to shoot 30 arrows from 60 yards, 30 from 50 yards and 30 from forty yards. I’m shooting in that tournament and I am aiming for a win.

So far this year I have finished second four times and that is getting old. Twice I lost by one point. Once I lost a good lead over the final six arrows. It has been a disappointing season.

The chair is where I sit my phone that is playing music. This is at 65 yards. There’s a water bottle at the target.

The morning’s practice, which I am writing about, was a planned total of 90 arrows from 70, 65 then 60 yards. This afternoon is 3D practice (I’ve not shot a 3D tournament since last year). Tomorrow will be practice at the tournament distances. This morning it was strictly work to build comfort at distance.

I started early, right after running. It is going to be a hot day and I’ve got to dig up some roses before I ride my bike and practice archery for the day’s second training session.

Leftovers from somebody’s meal

River, my lab, as always accompanied me on the run then supervised archery practice while chewing sticks. At one point she began barking at some nearby undergrowth. When that happens there’s generally a snake in the weeds. I searched by couldn’t find any snake.

There is always a game of stick between ends

Aside from River’s one alarm the morning went well. I’m looking forward to this weekends 2-day 180 arrows tournament.

60 yards, last 10 arrows. I’m okay with this finish of practice

Have a Plan or Routine

I have written about having a plan or routine when it comes to fitness and training. In all sports you can find specific plans or routines used to obtain a specific goal. You can buy training plans online and you can find them free of charge.

A good free fitness goal oriented program is available at Ontri.com. Plans are available for archery. One is available through FITA. In a basic sense both Ontri.net and FITA are good places to start. (1,2)

For individualized plans Ontri.net does a decent job of setting up a routine for an athlete to follow. The plans are based on goals and experience of the individual.

To become a better archer you should have a training plan. Build a routine of practice and training. I’ll provide samples soon. (I try to keep these posts fairly short. Otherwise, no one will read them.)

References:

1.) http://www.ontri.net/index.php?current_tab=1

2.)http://www.archersdrouais.com/librairie_en_ligne/Le_coin_des_coaches/6_2_Entrainer_pour_la_competition/Plan_d_entrainement_global_6p_(EN).pdf

Overall Fitness – Bicycling

Being fit and healthy is a good way to extend your career as an archer. To be sure, archery is not a sport that is heavy on fitness requirements. However, if you find yourself carrying excess weight then long tournaments can become a physical strain.

There are a number of ways to improve your general health such as walking, running, and bicycling. The list of supplemental programs to improve your general health and fitness is tremendous.

Bicycling is one way to improve leg strength, shoulder and arm strength, and add cardio conditioning. It is also a fun way to enjoy the outdoors.

Riding a bike will burn around 800 calories per hour. An hour riding a bike passes quickly. When you were a kid you probably had a bicycle that was your ticket to freedom. Hop on a bike, take a spin, you may find that youthful feeling of freedom returns.

(Photographs were taken during yesterday’s bike ride near Good Hope, Georgia)