Horse Collars

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One of my practice targets here in Georgia

This year, at least for the first eight months, my competitive events range the east coast from Florida to New York. Traveling I frequently visit wonderful places. Yesterday, I stopped in Carlton, GA. and Comer, GA adding two more scenic side trips to this tournament expedition.

Because I am primarily here to shoot, on non-competitive days I practice in the morning and afternoon. Wednesday is typically my longest practice and I’ll shoot for hours during the two sessions. Thursday I begin tapering for the weekend’s competition. After the morning practice on Thursday, Brenda, Ray, her father, and I took an excursion further into northeast Georgia.

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Jimmy, Owner at “Neat Pieces” Antiques in Carlton, GA

In Carlton there is an antique shop, “Neat Pieces”  Brenda had wanted to visit. There we spent an hour or so digging and found a few treasures. She collected a several old bottles and I bought two vintage horse collars. The leather horse collars were gray with dirt and filth. Later, a few hours of cleaning and polishing would have them looking fairly decent.

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Vintage horse collars (after cleaning and polishing)

Leaving Carlton, we loaded our treasures and drove to the covered bridge at Watson Mill in Comer. It has been raining a lot here, so the river was up. The covered bridge was built 130 years ago and later restored in 1973.   Standing near the river, I wished I had one of my kayaks with me.

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Watson Mill Bridge

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Traveling around the US and competing in sports is a great way to earn one’s living.  It gives me time to meet more people and make friends. It also allows me to find adventure and enjoy America.

 

Another cold and wet day in Georgia

It is cold here in Tignall, GA. Currently, it is 37°F (3°C) and sleeting. This weekend I’ve made plans to run a race on Saturday and compete in a 3D tournament on Sunday. The weekend weather forecast is for more cold and rain on both days.

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View from the deck.

In North Carolina, over in Raleigh, next weekend is the Dixie Classic 3D competition. I considered driving back to NC to compete in the Classic. Checking the weather at our place in Hertford, it is currently 27°F (-3°C) and snowing.

Maryland is colder. In Easton, the conditions are 19°F (-7°C), but it is sunny. Sunny or not, 19°F is too cold to really enjoy hours of outdoor archery practice – at least for me. You can bet I am not driving back to Maryland.

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Deck range showing the recent repair resulting from a pine tree mishap

I’ll stay put in Georgia and consider driving to Savannah. It is 42°F (6°C) there, but it’s raining. While I ponder driving on frozen roads, I can grab a bow and shoot it on the deck.

The deck provides a 15 yard covered range for practice. I can shoot awhile; go back into the house, thaw, and repeat the process. When the sleet and rain eases I’ll take a mountain bike out for a ride. The trails though woods won’t be slippery.

Sitting inside isn’t a lot of fun. I’ prefer being outside, even if for short excursions. Cold and wet is not ideal, but there are ways with which it can be dealt. For now, I need to deal.

Sitting Good in the South Eastern Region

Unofficial results from this weekend’s USA Archery National Indoor Championship has me 1st for the South Eastern Region in my division. This is a big tournament lasting over several weekends. Final scores won’t be available for weeks. For now, it’s probably best to forget about it and focus on next week.

The weather prediction for the upcoming 3D event is for rain. The day before is a running race. Weather prediction – rain.

USA National Indoor Championships – Day 2

The Snellville version of the USA National Indoor Championship has completed here in Georgia. It will be at least a month before all the results have been tallied according to one of the officials. Still, the contest was a great kickoff to another trip to Georgia.

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During big tournaments I often forget to take photographs, today a good example, I took one photograph. To bad because there were some amazingly shot out centers on the 3-spots. Sadly, I shot enough nines to have left my centers nearly intact.

A number of shooters at Snellville I recognized from Archery TV but didn’t know their names. Again, I shot next to Roger Willet, Jr. who is a very pleasant man. It turns out we live in the same area,  which led a short fishing discussion.

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This has nothing to do with the tournament. Inserted for the sole purpose of creating fishing envy.

Now that this event is behind me I’ll be heading out to hunt over the next several days. I am hoping to get a few pigs and a coyote or two. Both species have become serious pests in our neck of the woods. When I am not hunting, I’ll be practicing for next week’s tournament in Social Circle, a 3D shoot, and training for next Saturday’s race in Winder, Ga.

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USA Archery National Indoor Championships – Day 1

 

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I missed the bakery

Day one of this tournament is in the books. The drive to the event was a little longer than planned. The number of athletes competing was a bit of a surprise. I’d guess recurve bows outnumbered compound bows. And, it was nice to run into archers I’d shot against in the past and knew well enough to call them by name.

The tournament is being held in Snellville, GA. (and on other ranges across the US) From our place in Tignall it is about a two-hour drive, although my online search for directions said it was an hour and forty-one minutes. I’ll leave earlier for the second day of shooting.

Because equipment must be checked by USA Archery Officials a little extra time is nice. I had only forty-five minutes for check-in, get my equipment checked, and shoot a few arrows to warm-up.

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Archers warming up

There were two ranges in use and I was glad to be shooting on the smaller range. Shooting on target 17D I was next to Roger Willet, Jr. shooting at 17C. Willet has been ranked number one in the world. He did, not surprisingly, shoot better than me. I expect he out shot everyone.

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If you wanted to spend money this was the place to do it

I  ran into a couple of friends from Alabama I’d met earlier in the year at another tournament and talked with John from Eatonton, GA. Knowing other people does help reduce the tension. It was nice to exchange pleasantries and catch up on their recent events.

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Folks sharing stories after the final end

My shooting was a little above par for the day and I was pleased with my final score. Not my best, but not my worst. Tomorrow I’ll make a slight adjustment and see how the day pans out.

Spending time with Big John

Big John Chandler is a USA Level 3 archery coach. He’s also an expert bow technician, an expert archer, and a good guy. I recently spent time with him at the Lake Oconee Golf and Archery in Eatonton, GA.

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My principal issue, when I made the appointment with John, was I wanted to shoot a larger diameter arrow using my more expensive bow. I’d been using smaller diameter arrows. A few other bow techs explained all I needed to do was adjust my sight to compensate for the variance in diameter and not worry about my D loop placement. Their enlightenment didn’t match what I’d been taught in my physics classes. Could it be that these bow techs were better informed in physics than my impressively credentialed college professors?

Arriving at John’s shop we talked a bit. Then he started me off with a simple paper tuning shot. I regret not taking a picture to have shared here. It was clear the arrow, one of the larger diameter arrows, was indeed shooting cocked up to the right and not just a little. My physics professors were vindicated.

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This Apex 7 looks like a toy in Big John’s hands

John took my bow and on closer examination discovered other equipment errors that frankly didn’t come as a surprise. He worked with me for three hours until satisfied that the bow was tuned as best as could be in the limited time available.

He’d work and then he’d watch me shoot. Then, he’d work some more and watch me shoot some more. Along the way he made observations and offered suggestions to improve my form.   The form errors were those mistakes easily noticed by an experienced coach. There was no debate from me regarding the adjustments he recommended.

The day sailed past and I needed to leave. It would have been nice to have stayed longer but I had to get home. Before I return to North Carolina I’ll try getting back to Eatonton to see if I can get some more of John’s time. It would be time well spent.

Racing and Shooting on the Same Weekend

Finally a race and a tournament on the same weekend! I’ve been looking to pair a run with an archery competition for several months. Many times these events end up on the same day.

Eagleman Bike

Over the past eight years I competed in 96 non-archery events. These include: Ironman (3), ½ Ironman (7), triathlons (non-Ironman brand events) duathlons, marathons (7), ½ marathons, 10 mile runs, 10K runs and 5K runs. During the past fourteen months I’ve competed in 18 archery tournaments. These events have taken me all over the world: Hawaii, England, Japan, Italy, and across the lower 48 States.

 

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Prior to 2007 I didn’t keep track of my racing. Each year, beginning in 1972, I’d plan my sport competition schedule. Actually, in the early 70’s my coach, Nestor Gernay, planned the training and racing. All of that was cycling. In addition to cycling, I played football, ran track, and sucked at baseball.

What I learned is that the disciple and attainment of goals, after a lifetime of competitive sport, is a driving force for me. Being able to find multiple events in diverse disciples, back to back, is a real treat.

C-Man Swim

This isn’t the first time I’ve been able to fill a weekend with mixed competition. Last year I ran a ½ marathon one day and did a 3D tournament the next. The 3D course was hilly and I noticed 13.1 mile run the day I ran it and the following day while hiking over the hilly archery course. Actually, for me, going up hill hurt less than going downhill after that half marathon; a lesson I’d learned following the Las Vegas marathon. The day after that race walking down stairs at the Las Vegas Convention Center taught me a new definition of soreness.

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The race in Georgia is a short one, only 5K. A 10K would have been good but all longer runs were on the day of the 3D tournament. The 5K is near one of my daughter’s homes so Brenda, my wife, will drive with me to the run and afterwards we’ll visit our daughter and her family. The following day I’ll drive over to Social Circle, GA for the Buckeye 3D. This is going to be a lot of fun.

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View during a race to the top of Mt. Evans. Life is about the journey.

 

 

The Wild Shot

In a few days there is a big tournament, the USA National Indoor Championships. I’ll give it a shot. The target will be a 3-spot at 18 meters. I’ve not been shooting 3-spots for a while and decided to take out nice, not paper, vertical 3-spot for practice.

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I called that top arrow on the line

Most of my shots were pretty good. But, there’s still a wild shot that still pops the target from time to time.

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Ugh! That bottom arrow – it happens.

Think I’ll go with the Fat Boys for this tournament.