Getting in a bike / run brick

The temperature here had cooled down a bit with a high of only 58° F. The wind wasn’t too bad at 9 mph. Those where the conditions as I headed out for a bike ride. So, I’d have a nice tailwind and not too tough of a headwind.

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After the ride River and I took off for a run. The combination of a ride and an immediate run is called a “brick”.

This brick felt great. I didn’t push the ride or the run. Both felt calm and relaxing. There was plenty of daylight left so I could have shot. But, my shoulders needed the recovery and I resisted the temptation to shoot.

Setting up a few 3D Targets

During last week’s 3D tournament, I heard the folks around me bragging about how many 3D animal targets they have on their property. One fellow claimed to have 10 another 30! Watching them shoot it seemed clear they knew where to aim their arrows.

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The alpha target in my collection

Earlier in the year I made a particularity bad shot on a coyote (I found the arrow). The guy  shooting after me mentioned, “Yes, those little buggers used to give me trouble, too. “ He then added, “So, I bought one and after awhile they didn’t bother me anymore.” It sounded like good advice.

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My little friend the coyote

Last week I added three worn-down, shot-up, weather-beaten, bird-pecked, and sun-bleached, used 3D targets to my prior collection of one. It seems that practicing on the objects that will be shoot at in tournaments might improve my scores. Having added new (well new to me) foam to my menagerie I am preparing to test that theory.

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This turkey is in pretty good shape – its head hasn’t been shot off

To create a more realistic range I called my neighbor, Carl, and asked if I could make a mini-3D course on his property. He has several wooded acres that are crisscrossed with paths. Carl also hunts with a bow and I explained he’d have full use these of faux-animal. Carl said sure and the next morning I setup the range.

While in the woods with my animal models, I came upon a spot that looked like pigs had been rooting. Wild pigs can a problem and I wasn’t overly pleased to see sign of them a hundred yards away from my front door. My wife’s and neighbor’s gardens could end up tasty treats for the varmints.

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River checking out an area where some pigs had been rooting

The pig investigation didn’t slow me down very much from the task of selecting the idea and most natural position for my foam targets. Once they’d all been arranged I shot at them and my other flat targets for a couple of hours. The mini-3D range is pretty good. I’ll need to collect more fake animals and continue working them into the wood.

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Evaluating Performance

In my last competition I shot 1.48 points per target below average. Compared to the last time I shot the same course I’d improved by 14 points overall. Nevertheless, the finish was sub-par.

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Shooting one arrow above the other for placement practice

After each competition I evaluate my performance. Why did I shoot better, why did I shoot worse, what were the good shots and why? What were the conditions? Yesterday’s met was not different when it came to taking time to review.

Two days prior to the shoot I needed to change bows. The one that I shoot 3D with needed a repair and wasn’t available. This meant having to use my indoor target bow, a much heavier product. Still, I shoot okay with it.

The arrows I shoot indoors are Easton Fat Boys. These aren’t my favorites for 3D. Outside, the wind was going to be rough so I selected a less thick arrow. This meant some slight adjustments to my sight, rest and loop. Plus, I’d changed from a scope, used indoors, to fixed pins for 3D. Not a problem.

With two days prior to the tournament and re-sighting the bow meant I spent all my time shooting paper – no 3D animals. I have four: a deer, coyote, turkey and a cougar. The week before, two days out from a tournament (which I won) I only shot 3D animals.

Getting the mental image of an animal engrained in my head means shooting at animals. I hadn’t done that even once before this tournament. I think this was the primary error I made coming into the tournament.

Trying to make practice as close to competition helps. I’d been wrong not spending more time on foam animals. This week, I focus more on animals and see where it leads me.

A Challenging Day Shooting 3D

On Saturday I shot in the Roanoke Archers’ 3D tournament. They’re a member of the Down East Archery Coalition’s clubs that hold  3D competitions here in eastern North Carolina. Early in the day the weather promised to make things interesting and fulfilled that promise. The range is tough and the club does not shy away from using all the real estate on the course.IMG_3443

Aside from a challenging course, what I like is that the club is only an hour from my house. I try keeping driving  time for local competition less than 2 hours one way. Spending four hours on the road then adding three to four hours at a range makes for a long day. A one hour drive is very reasonable. Heck, from my house it’s 30 minutes to reach a major intersection.  By major intersection, a country road that interests a state highway.

Driving to the shoot it rained non-stop. The rain continued for a bit once we (River, my dog made the trip)  reached our destination, but stopped pretty much as the forecast had predicted. The rest of the day was beautiful.

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The folks that had come early to shoot had rushed off the range to take cover from the rain and were headed back on course as I approached registration. Patrick and Leon, two guys I’d shot with in the past, were in the clubhouse as I signed in. Leon invited me to shoot with them. We had a trio.

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Leon at the stake while Patrick watches

On the range, the sounds of arrows zipping through the trees attested to the complex nature of the targets. The archers shooting in the Pro Class weren’t missing targets. But, all the pros I talked with had at least one 8.

This course hurt me the last time I shot it. Tis try was better by 14 points, but still 1.48 points per target below my average. Back at the clubhouse I heard that one fellow was 6 up and another 2 up and they were still shooting.

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It’s nice to show -up solo for a shoot and find people to shoot with that aren’t strangers. Shooting with Leon and Patrick made for a fun afternoon even if I got more than a fair share of 8’s.

When I got  home there was still time to get in a bike ride. River, also glad to be home went for a swim while I rode. It’s hard to beat days like this that closed on a high note dinner of fresh baked biscuits and venison chili.

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Another round with the wind.

My Mathews ZXT is in the shop. The cable rollers on the cable rod bit the dust. I’d purchased the bow in 2014. It was a leftover at a bow shop that had lost its Mathews dealership. I was surprised by this failure so soon.  The ZXT is, in my opinion, a lot more fun to shoot than my Mathews Conquest Apex 7. I shoot it a lot and parts do wear out.

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Because my ZXT is gone for repair, tomorrow I’ll be shooting my Apex 7 in a 3D tournament.  I plan to use pins and needed to remove the pin sight from the ZXT and attach it to the other bow. This meant setting the pins on the Apex 7.

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if I were in Maryland, I could have been doing this rather than fighting the wind here in North Carolina.

Par for the course, the wind here was relentless all day. Perfect weather for sailing but not perfect to sighting in pins. In order to get my yardage correct I used a tape measure rather than a range finder to set my distances. I marked the range at 5-yard increments from 20 to 60 yards. Even though I measured out to 60, I only set pins out to 50 yards.

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From 50-yards, in this wind, I’ll take it for now. (That’s a fresh target – definitely not my first 3 shoots)

After 2 hours in the morning and another 2 hours in the afternoon (broken up with yard work) I think I’ve just about got the pins where I wanted them. Bonus, I didn’t miss the target once.

River Being Proud

Cool, a nice medal from USA Archery and the perfect model to show it off.

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For years, River has “modeled” awards for me. This medal, from USA Archery, arrived today. When I opened the package she immediately tried to put it around her neck. Once it’s on, she seems serious and proud. It makes me wonder about reincarnation and who she might have been. When she sees medals she acts like she knows what they are and wants to wear them.

 

A Great Burger and Tournament in Delaware

On Sunday March 29th, Mid-Del Archery held an IBO 2015 World Championship Qualifier. I was eager to try for a qualifying ticket and looked forward to seeing friends from Delaware and Maryland. Aside from that, I’d been anticipating one of the hamburgers they serve in their clubhouse.

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Mid-Del Archery Club in Harrington, Delaware

Most of the guys I’ve shot with from the Maryland, a group known as Team Trailer Park, had driven to West Virginia to qualify in late 2014. At that time, I was coming off a busy season of shooting in addition to 12 races. On the weekend of the West Virginia competition I was exhausted and decided not to make the trip. I’d gamble on success in Harrington, Delaware.

On Sunday the weather was cold and windy. It had been raining and snowing meaning the range promised to be muddy. That promise was kept. River, my lab, came with me and would need to wait in the truck while I shot.

Clyde and Jim, Officers of Mid-Del, were on hand in the clubhouse to assist with registration. Jim is a very dedicated archer. In addition to his range management duties he is diligent in his support of Delaware Senior Olympics.

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River, tail wagging, happy to see the guys

Clyde may be the best archer in the world, I won’t know. What I do know is Clyde makes the best hamburgers in the world. His burgers are better than any other I’ve ever tasted, they are quite amazing. I have no idea how he does it, but they are really very, very good.

After signing in I found two guys I knew, Bruce and Al, to shoot with. Our group also included Shawn and Anthony. Bruce and Al have been to numerous IBO World Championships. Both shoot in the Senior Hunter Class. Shawn was shooting in the Open Class he’d be a bit further back from the target. Anthony is a paraplegic and would be shooting from the stake in from of Bruce and Al’s.

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Not the groups’ best shots of the day, but pretty good.

The course wasn’t completely muddy but there was enough. Much of the ground was still frozen and hadn’t turned to mud. Anthony had a few tricky spots that required some serious effort to maneuver his wheelchair. Anthony plays Lacrosse, basketball, and tennis so the 3D terrain wasn’t too demanding.

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Shawn in the center, Al on the stool and Anthony in the wheelchair
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Forgot to take a photo before I started eating

Along the way we picked up another archer shooting a traditional bow, Charles. Charles is very experienced and has earned high finishes at the Nationals and has won many major competitions. On one target our compound bow group had practically circled the center 11. We said, “Put it in the middle, Charles!” He did – it was an incredible shot that was followed by yells and cheers.

Finally off the range, my primary objective was one of Clyde’s burgers. River joined me in the clubhouse. She could smell the burgers and acted very hopeful. Neither of us was disappointed. Like I mentioned, I have no idea how he does it but Clyde cooks is one amazing burger.

It was great seeing the  guys in Delaware. I wanted to stay longer but needed to drive back to North Carolina.  I left with the two things I’d come for, a burger and a ticket to the World Championship.

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Another great burger and tournament, thanks Y’all.