Éirinn go brách

It was practically hot this St. Patrick’s Day, 80° F (27°C). It felt great and I was outside all day. This is a summary of my play.

It started with an hour and a half of shooting a 3D deer from 20 to 50 yards distance. Afterwards I wrote for a bit, had lunch, and then napped under several large oak trees in my yard. Following my break I checked my email for directions to this weekend’s 3D tournament, which had arrived. A nice surprise among my email was a message letting me know how much I’d won in last week’s competition. Not a lot of money but better than a sharp stick in the eye.

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Then it was time to go kayaking. Brenda, my wife, and I paddled from our house several miles up river. We paddled into the wind going out so we’d have a tail wind coming home. In the smaller creeks that are bordered by trees wind isn’t a factor. Out on the Little River, the wind can kick up waves. In fact, on the trip home we had small waves as the wind had begun to increase. The waves weren’t high enough to surf a kayak but definitely sufficient for bit of a lift and push.

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Once the kayaks were stored I headed out on my bike. I only rode 20 miles since the kayaking had eaten into my cycling time.

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Cycling merged into my afternoon archery session and I practiced for another hour before heading back to the river to toss toys for River, my lab, to retrieve.

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The day wound down with a dinner of corn beef and cabbage, a St. Patrick’s Day tradition for our family. Éirinn go brách

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Another New Week

On Monday, following a competition, I reset my week in preparation for the next event. By starting early, I have less wind to content with during morning archery practice. My second session in the afternoon is almost always windy. That is also the time I train on my bike where I look forward to the tailwinds.

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Getting out of bed early has its rewards

Winter is slowly giving way to spring and yesterday was a warm 70° F (21°C). My upcoming archery events are all 3D and practice during the calm morning was excellent. Because I’d ramped up to a shoot on Sunday, I only practiced an hour for each Monday session to promote active recovery. Wednesday is my long day where I’ll spend 5-6 hours shooting before tapering for the next event.

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Three good at 50 yards – I’ll take these any day.

I don’t simply go out and shoot for same set amount of time on every day. Neither do I shoot a set amount of arrows. I have light days and heavy days. I’ve set up my archery training similar to how I’d set up a race-training plan. The archery plan includes other fitness activities.

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This 1997 LiteSpeed remains my favorite road bike

The main non-archery fitness activity on Monday was a moderate bike ride with a few harder efforts. I didn’t get on the LiteSpeed until 4:30 PM and it was windy. Wanting to enjoy a moderate to fast effort I rode into the wind until my turn around at 15 miles. The ride was 15 miles of windy work followed by 15 miles of pure exhilaration pushing my biggest gears. The ride home was 12 minutes faster than the ride out to give some idea of the resistance I faced cycling out followed by the push during the return.

My afternoon archery session had been strictly for amusement. The wind blowing off the river meant shooting any other way than for entertainment would be a frustrating endeavor. I have one 3D target in the yard and I shot it from all sorts of distances and angles. My wife watching me shoot my foam deer at 40 yards challenged me to, “Shoot it in the eye.” The challenge was irresistible. I hit it about a centimeter high on the nose and nearly lost an arrow. I’ll ‘probably’ not try that a second time. But, it was fun.

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Opps

Recalling Mondays when working the medical profession I recognize how my effort during that career paid off. Today, I work at archery and sports with the same determination and enjoyment. I’ve never dreaded Mondays. Monday is the day to reset and begin fresh.

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Pitt County Wildlife Club’s March 3D Tournament

Sunday, March 15th, was another wonderful day spent shooting outside. The Pitt County Wildlife Club held a 3-D Tournament on their range near Farmville, NC. The course was well manicured and the targets were a challenge. During this adventure, while warming up, I was invited to shoot with a father and son team.

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Pitt County Wildlife Club

Phillip, the father, is a seasoned archer who has competed on the ASA Pro-Am Tour. He says, “Having a family and work made him too busy to compete” and now he shoots for fun. He also coaches his son, Hunter, a 13-year-old, who aside from archery is active in football and baseball. Phillip has two other children, daughters, both in college on academic and athlete scholarships. Hunter, tall for 13, could have a promising future in sports.

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Phillip and Hunter

At the first two stakes there was a mob of archers. It was clear the horde was going to be slow so we decided to jump ahead to stake 3. From there forward it was smooth sailing. We’d pick up targets 1 and 2 on the return trip.

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The Tar River

The 3D range ran parallel with Tar River, which presented spectacular scenery. Before long we added a fourth to our group, Lena a traditional archer from Poland. She shot with us until regrouping with another traditional archer and his family.

Our team of three wasted no time on the range. Although we’d had a late start we completed the 20 targets in less than 2 hours. Throughout the event I was entertained listening to Hunter. He’s huge for 13 but the conversation remained that of a youngster. His optimistic anticipation of, “I hope that they have that polar bear again, they had one last year,” was amusing. And when a foam turkey was position with its head looking away from the stake he couldn’t help but state, “Look, we have to shoot that turkey in the butt!” “Have you ever seen a turkey you have to shoot in the butt?” It was the ‘butt-shot’ that any 13-year-old boy would find humorous no matter his physical size. (Actually, 60-year boys find it funny, too.)

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Farm land on the drive home

I  enjoyed shooting with Phillip and Hunter. Phillip, a friendly guy, seems like a great dad and Hunter is a respectful and courteous young man. I’ve always thought you can measure the results of parenting through the actions of children. While not trying to be judgmental, I’d say Phillip is doing an excellent job.

It was another memorable competition. The range is located in a beautiful spot of eastern North Carolina. Like many other clubs where I’ve competed I’ll look forward to another trip to the Pitt County Wildlife Club.

The ZXT

The Mathews ZXT isn’t their top shelf product. I bought this one for hunting. The price was right and its size meant carrying it in the woods and up a tree stand would be easier than a longer heavier bow. The reviews on the product for 3D competition aren’t the best I’ve read and the bow speed isn’t the fastest. But, I really like this bow.

IMG_1379While practicing with my Mathews Apex 7  I felt my arrow placement was faltering. My ZXT was in my truck so I left the indoor range and got that bow. I decided to shoot it for a bit to see how it felt.

I took a few shots to sight it – I hadn’t shot it indoors weeks.  Once I got it sighted I took ten shots on a 5-spot.

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Every arrow was in the X or cutting the line. Not a bad light quiet bow for a decent price.  Later, I learned from an experienced bow technician that Ider wheel (cam) on the top limb of the Apex 7 is leaning a bit off center.

General Training

I’ve mentioned that I ride a bike, run and swim. I do one or more of these activities as part of my training 5 days a week. Archery is practiced 6 days a week, including a day where I compete. I reserve one day for rest and recovery.

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Rest is important

Exercising to stay in shape and promote health is a daily endeavor for me. I doubt I’ll race as often in the future as I did in the past. I’ll try to complete 5 to 10 races a year, which is plenty. These days, I race for the t-shirt. I’m frequently in the top 3 finishers in my age group and ahead of most in the overall. For, me at 60 years old, racing is more about the fun than the finish time. Archery is where I get my competitive fix. Archery isn’t as age dependent as many other sports.

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Race bibs and 3rd place medal from a few weeks ago

In archery I train five days a week and compete on the sixth day. I leave one day for recovery. On many days I shoot, then either run, ride, swim, or a combination of those activities.

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View along one of my training rides

Often, I run in the morning, then shoot, take a break, shoot some more then go for a bike ride. The result is I am outside a lot and stay in pretty good shape. Also being outside (versus sitting around indoors) and staying fit can help longevity in archery.

If you haven’t added a supplemental form of exercise to your archery training, give some consideration to incorporating a fitness program. In the long term you’ll be glad you did.

Paying Dues to the Wind

Shooting outside is almost always fun. There are days when cold, rain, snow, and wind make it more of a challenge. Today was one of those challenging days.

In my yard I have targets ranged up to 60 yards. The plan for today was to shoot at unmarked and marked distances from 20 to 50 yards. One look at the chop on the river was enough to tell me that training this morning was going to be rough.

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Early morning chop on the Little River

The 51°F temperature wasn’t bad; in fact it was pretty good even if a tad bit cool. It was the wind, as indicated by the turbulent surface of the Little River that was going to be a problem.

Wind constantly raging at 15 mph with gusts to 20 mph will rock your body and mess with your shots. On my range, at 40 – 50 yards there was nothing to block or in anyway inhibit the wind. As a result I held my maximum yardage to 35 yards.

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A Jolly Roger flag at 47 yards

The wind’s force blew my poorly balanced faux-deer over a time or two so I moved it to a secondary position. Here the fake deer had more support and I had better wind barriers.

Moving the deer to a bag-supported stance I banged its legs into the ground. From this area of my property I can shoot from my porch or near a storage building that lends protection from the non-stop wind.

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From that harbor the maximum distance is only 26 yards. Twenty-six isn’t a long, but I have made some poor 26-yards shots in the past. So, I worked this distance for about an hour.

I will always have wind to reckon with, it’s part dues paid to live on the Atlantic Coast. There are ways to deal with wind and it is a small price to pay to be on the water.

A Good Start and a Lucky Finish

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Morning of march 7th

Saturday March 7th started off good. The sunrise was magnificent and the weather, which had been cold and rainy, was making a turn for the better. My plan for the day was to drive the Roanoke Archers’ range in Plymouth, NC and take aim at qualifying for the North Carolina ASA State Championship.

Last year, the 3D tournaments that I’d focused on were IBO. IBO contests are hard to find here in NC. ASA is new to me.   Only recently had I sent my membership application and fee to the ASA Headquarters in Kennesaw, GA. They returned to me an ASA number on March 6th. While waiting for that to occur I tried to figure out the ASA rules and divisions.

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Holly Neck Church of Christ Established in 1882. This is one of many country church I pass as I drive in rural NC.

The general rules weren’t difficult to understand. The divisions were less clear. For example, their senior hunter division includes the 50 – 59 ages. The equipment for that group, aside from a bow, is a short stabilizer and fixed pins – got it. There is a division above the senior hunter, the super senior for those archers over 60. By age, I fit into the super senior division.

Because the senior hunter group shot with a hunting set-up I considered shooting there. But, chronologically I fall into the super senior group. I thought I should shoot in that division. I may have chosen wrong.

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There’s a bear 36 yards away from Patrick as he views his target.

I didn’t know the super senior equipment regulations. Was this a hunter class or an open style class? I gambled and left for the tournament with my hunter class rig. I learned, too late, I should have grabbed my other bow; the one with a few more shot refining attachments.

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Even if I’d not been shooting, this would have been a nice hike through the woods

The frustration of having what might be considered a slight competitive disadvantage no doubt weighted on me. I also doubt whether those refining attachments would have been much help. One thing was certain, I couldn’t judge yardage on Saturday March 7th.

On a positive note, the course, like so many others, was excellent. I shot with three folks I hadn’t met, Leon, Patrick and Chris and they all gave me a polite lessons in humility. Despite my rough shooting a bit of luck was with me and I qualified for the ASA State Championship. So a day that started good finished on a high note.

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One of the last targets, a low down gator

 

Man, it’s Cold!

The temperature here on the Little River was 28°F (-2°C) with winds blowing from 14 mph to 21 mph (22 kph to 34 kph). It felt like 17°F (-8°C) outside. Granted, this is warmer when compared to many places and there was no snow (there was ice). Nevertheless, it was nippy shooting outdoors.

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This duck didn’t seem to be enjoying the weather a whole lot.

Where we live the closest public indoor range is over an hour drive in cooperative traffic. The traffic along that drive, passing the Norfolk, Virginia maze of messed up roads, is never cooperative. The trip can easily become a 2 to 3 hour automotive crawl. My best option was to dress warm and practice on my property. I’d much rather be cold and outside than warm and stuck in a vehicle on the road.

From the direction I typically shoot, the range runs north to south. The wind was blowing from the north and there was no hiding from it. I moved the face of my target to aim from west to east and used one of my out buildings as a wind block. This worked just fine.

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In the distance is the target, beyond the orange and white bags on the right.

The problem to overcome remained the cold. There wasn’t anything do about the temperature. So, I dressed with as much clothing as possible without changing my form so much that it became a hindrance. That meant not wearing enough to stay warm for long.

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Range in the attic at Shore Sportsman in Easton, MD. Minutes from our home in Maryland.

On days like these I miss being 5 minutes away from an indoor range. I am also envious of the private indoor range just 15 minutes up the road. I ended up shooting, freezing, going inside, thawing, and repeating the process. The weather will eventually improve and I thaw fast. All the while, I kept in mind, Spring is just around the corner.

(You may question why I regularly convert from English measurements to metric. It’s because a large percentage of my readers live in countries that use the metric system. For them 28° is warm. )

Happy Dogs

We’ve been in Georgia for the past 10 days. Traveling can take a toll on people that don’t stick with some form of fitness routine. Part of my daily regime has been running. Whether arriving in Jerusalem, Sydney, London, Paris, Singapore, or Hertford one of the first things I do each morning is run.

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When traveling by car (or truck) River, my dog makes the trip with me. She too appreciates a daily run. The first morning back to Hertford, from Georgia, we headed out for a leisurely 5K. Not a hard or fast run, just enough to work out the stiffness of a 7-hour road trip.

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Because we’d been out of town River hadn’t seen her good friend that lives about a mile away from our house on the Little River. As we ran past her friend’s home, River whined since no one came out to greet her. On the run back, that changed.

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Out from the yard sprinted the welcome friend. It did my heart good to see these two canine pals run, play and become reacquainted. It was wonderful watching the pure uninhibited joy of two friends greeting one another after the short absence.

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Twelve Months of Putting It On the Line.

A complete year has passed since I began recording this adventure of archery and outdoor activities. During that time 84,846 people read 176,746 of the pages on this site. It also had 1,222,538 hits.

The average length of time people spend on the site is 3.1 minutes. That’s about the amount of time it takes to read a daily post. Eight percent (8%) of readers stayed on the site from 15 minutes to an hour. A small percentage (1%) has stayed on the site for over an hour.

I am pleased so many people are interested in archery and other outdoor activities. I am happier still you’ve been able to overlook my frequent editorial errors. I am also proud that several articles from this site have been reprinted and others are forthcoming in hard print.1

Thanks, again, for reading.

David

Reference:

1.) Lain, D: An Archer’s Day and In Trouble Again. North Carolina Bowhunter Magazine. Winter 2015 pp. 28-30.