Finding a Coach

Michael Phelps, everyone knows of his Olympic and swimming success, has a coach. I’ve written a number of times about coaches. I believe in face-to-face one on one coaching.

A friend of mine, Andy, is not a professional coach. But, he can coach. He’s an ex-college quarterback and pitcher. He has a degree in psychology. He coaches people everyday in business. He coached me in golf.

I like golf but no longer play the game. I played for the social aspects of the game. (A lot like 3D archery) Once on a course with Andy, I found myself wedged in a trap. Before I could swing, and before making matter worst, Andy asked if I’d like some advice. He instructed me on how to get out of the jam. Following his instruction I laid down one of the best swings ever and put the ball inches from the hole. Andy’s first words were, “Man, you are very coachable.”

Well, I’ve had decades of being coached. Archery is one area where finding and keeping a coach is important. What decades of athletics have taught me is how to recognize a good coach.

For triathlon I had a good swim coach. He was not a triathlete; he was a collegiate swimmer turned coach. He was good, nationally ranked before he became a coach. He didn’t make me much faster, but he did make me a lot stronger. For the distances I raced, coming out of the water strong was important. And, after his coaching I did move up in the swim field from the bottom 25% to the top 25%.

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Other coaches were not so good. There is one key element to weeding out a bad coach. That is, does that coach ‘coach’ or spend your money lecturing on his glory days. If the coach you have hired is more focused on himself or herself – find another coach. Remember, the lesson you are paying for is about how to make you better.

(To my prior archery coaches – this is NOT about any of you)

Playing in the Back Woods

This morning Brenda, my wife, and I headed into Elizabeth City to workout at the YMCA. It’s a bit of a hike in from the country to the big city. Brenda had a couple of hours of gym time planned. My Y plan was less ambitious– I’d swim and lift weights. Then, while she continued her workout, I headed over to PGF Archery to shoot on their indoor range.

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Pool at the Y in Elizabeth City

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Swimming and lifting weights does take a toll on arms. Archery afterwards isn’t as smooth as on days where those two prior exercises aren’t on the menu.

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Nice to have a range so close

Fortunately, PGF Archery is essentially across the street from the Y. From the time I leave the range to walking through the front door of the Y about a minute has lapsed. The way we work our Tuesday and Thursday schedules is Brenda works out that extra hour while I shoot, then I pick her up, and we head out for lunch and home. Home, back into the sticks of rural coastal North Carolina. Here, we are sandwiched on one side by woods and the other by water.

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The water side of home. (Yes, the Carolina Skiff is not on the lift. We’re getting a new trolling motor. It’ll be home next week.)

Once home, today, my neighbor, Jimmy, a retired police officer, was sighting one of his rifles. Like many police officers, Jimmy is an excellent shot with a rifle and pistol. His practice range, like mine, is in his yard. He and Amy, his wife, are the other two permanent locals along our secluded one lane resident maintained gravel road.

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It was extremely windy here during the afternoon so I shot from the protection of my shed.
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The woods side of home

Coming home to shots being fired is not uncommon or bothersome.   Rather, it is a matter of course. Jimmy was once a competitive shooter. These days he shoots for fun. But, over time he has shared a number of shooting observations that have been applicable to archery. Whenever he talks about firearm shooting I listen and learn. Later, in the afternoon, while I was shooting arrows, Jimmy came down to talk about shooting.

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Jimmy, going me in my shed, showing tighter groups than I was shooting today.
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Running a mile or so from home.

It’s pretty cool living way back in the sticks. Just image young kids with nature at they’re doorstep. Being able to run and play outside in the woods. Pinging, safely, around with BB Guns or 22s. Or shooting a bow and arrow. Being on a river and able to fish, crab, ride around in boats, kayaks or on paddle boards, and go swimming. Able to hop on a bicycle and go for a ride with little to no risk of being hit by a car. Having their dogs to play with on their land without fence or leash. Or to grow a garden and harvest their own vegetables.

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River with her favorite toy playing in the yard.
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Close up of Jimmy’s shooting

Rather, image a couple of 60 plus year old guys doing the same things. Live the dream.

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Yep, a pretty nice place to hang outside and play.

The Cost of Competition and Attraction for Athletes to Compete

There is a post of mine that will follow a message posted in 2004 on ArcheryTalk and data from kaycircle.com posted in 2010.  I read both after I’d written my post then I added them along with this introduction.  The posts aren’t exactly the same but they are related in theme.  Here’s the ArcheryTalk message:

“Come on now guys!! there is a lot of money being thrown around in archery!! millions and millions of dollars are spent every year on archery equipment for hunting, 3D, Target ….” (1)

Now the Kaycircle.com post:

“How much does a Professional Archer make per Year? Average Annual Pro Olympic Archery Salary Range

Archery has started to become a more popular sport in recent times. While there are not many full-time professional archers, Olympic archery contestants can earn a lot of money. The general salary range for Olympic archers is between $36,000 and $97,000. Serious archers who win tournaments on a regular basis can take in between $10,000 and $75,000 depending on their skill. They may also be paid for endorsements, training, running shops, and working with archery companies to develop better products.” (2)

Here is my post:

Competitive events for athletes are pricey. Decades of paying for and competing in sports has given me a perspective on cost.  When I measure the price to shoot it comes across a bit high in my experience. That opinion is based on venue of the sport, athlete support, volunteer support, vendor support, athlete appreciation, and marketing efforts made by stake holding companies to promote the sport throughout all levels of athletic accomplishment.  I gave that some thought then considered what I pay for to enjoy different types of competitive events.

An Ironman 70.3 race is going to cost a lot, around $250.00 to race. A full Ironman costs around $700.00. That’s big bucks and I’ve paid that and more many times. That cost is one of the reasons I don’t race Ironman brand triathlons any longer.  I still train for them, albeit with less effort and mileage, and would have no difficulty doing a short triathlon tomorrow.  But, archery gives me my competitive ‘fix’ and is less expensive – well, maybe less expensive.

It can take years to prepare for an Ironman. By the time an athlete is ready, that person will have to fork out big cash to enroll and ‘tri’. A major archery tournament’s registration, as it turns out, can cost $300.00 to $500.00. Pretty much the same as an Ironman triathlon – but more expensive than most triathlons. It can take years of preparation to reach level where spending that kind of money to compete is a sound investment (questionable investment). There are similarities to a point between an Ironman and an archery tournament.  But, the differences between venue and athletic recognition is vast.

If you can afford the pricey archery tournaments, even if you are a top professional, take a pause.  Odds are you are not a (for example only – but applicable in other sporting venues) triathlete.  Now, go to Youtube and search for Ironman World Championship.  Of those athletes, in 2014, perhaps 200 were professionals.  The other 2000 were amateurs. At that event there were 2.27 volunteers per athlete (5000 volunteers in total).

Those volunteers (speaking from experience) make getting through a labyrinth of sign-in, document control, drug control, and generally getting to the starting point a breeze.  Overall, there is an air of athletic respect.  That respect was not limited to the top pros.  It spread equally across all ranks and age groups. We don’t get that level of support in archery and maybe we don’t need it.  Archery is a lot safer than a triathlon and that may reduce the need for volunteers.

Should you think that for some reason the ‘treatment’ of a triathlete is different due to some unknown, check out a marathon on Youtube. I’ve run marathons in the US and abroad, only as a amateur.

Once I  was invited to run the Tokyo Marathon.  There were 42,000 runners in the race. Let me be clear, I am a poor excuse for a marathoner and have plans to never run another. But, while in Japan, before, during and after the marathon the Japanese treated all runners with amazing respect. After the run, I was directed to my post-run gear to find everything laid out and organized for me near a shower.  Seriously, as an archer, check out the differences between a major archery event and a major marathon.

You might think that because so many people are involved in those other sports that it isn’t a fair comparison to archery. Such consideration could suggest that other sports have more participates than archery thus warrant more support money, athletic recognition, marketing and promotions associated with those other sports. If you thought that, you’d be off point: Certainly there are 60 million runners /joggers in the US. (3)  However, there are only 1.9 million triathletes and there are 18.9 million people in the US that participate in archery who over the age of 18.(4,5)  That’s a lot of people shooting arrows. All of those sports comes with a price to the athlete. Just some sports seem to glorify their athletes more so than others.

Then there’s the high cost of sporting events that keeps many average wage earners out of major competition. Shortly after I started shooting I was on a trip and stopped for a few days in south Georgia.  I found a local indoor range and I was there practicing. Another archer arrived, stood next to me on the line and began shooting nothing but Xs on a Vegas 3-spot. He was still shooting them when I left.  The shop that hosted the range explained the X-shooting archer was there everyday and never shot anything other than an X. It was like going for a jog with the local running club and finding a 2:06 marathoner that never ran other than the local club events.  The X-shooting archer, as explained, didn’t travel to compete because it cost too much and there was nothing in it worth winning.

Then there’s the price-tag of equipment. Gear for a triathlon can cost well over $10,000 (a good bike and wheels can cost over $10K). Archery gear is less expensive but not cheap. A ‘good’ bow, sights, rest, stabilizers, arrows, and release can easily be over $2000.00. There are certainly less costly way to compete. Still it is not cheap.

Running is a lot less expensive. Most running shoes last 6 months and cost around $100.00. Running attire, while expensive, lasts for years. And you don’t need the most expensive label to run. Wal-Mart or Target can set a runner up at a significant savings. Archery, however, is a bit irksome when is comes to cost to compete.

A local or regional 3D shoot can cost between $15.00 and $35.00. These are great social events and places to hone skills. Sure they’re fun, but $35.00 is a lot of money to shoot 20 targets. (My local price is less than $35.00 / 3D shoot. Regional 3D fees are higher) The major 3D tournaments are much higher when it comes to cost, but those events give archers a luxurious 40-target competition (more if you make the shoot off).

In a recent indoor tournament the registration fee was $40.00. Excluding the 6 warm up arrows we shot it was a 60-arrow tournament. That’s about $0.67 per shot or nearly a buck a shot. Other local or regional indoor contests might have a lower fee, like $20.00, and have 10 ends of 3 arrows. It works out to the same price per arrow to compete.

For perspective, I looked at the price of running events. Specifically, I went to Active.com and Down East Running then reviewed a list races and their registration fees. The average cost for 5K and 10K runs came to $30.42. You can see that is relative to the price of a local archery shoot. But, there are other significant differences. All of those shorter races provide swag and winners often receive awards worth displaying. Sway and thoughtful awards attracts runners. These small events aren’t going to have cash awards. The bigger runs will have cash awards. For amateurs, swag is nice.

Swag means gifts. Sway might contain t-shirts; discount cards, free food and water. In addition to swag and at times among the swag bootie,  there have been restaurant meals, frozen turkeys, and event short vacations.  You don’t get that in archery. In fact, you don’t your own bring food to a tournament you could end up premium at the event to eat.

Most archery competitive events I’ve attended have decent reasonably priced food, but some folks go over the top when trying to squeeze a buck from a hungry athlete. By they way, there are no 5-Star take out sandwiches regardless of the inflated price. Dry white bread, processed ham, and condiment packages are never worth $10.00.

To be fair, I’ve eaten some great burgers at archery tournaments. Particularly at Mid-Del Archers in Harrington, DE cooked by Clyde! Worth every penny! Heck, once Clyde even threw in a free burger for River, my dog. Clyde became one of River’s fast and great friends with the flip of a burger. And I’ve had fantastic barbeque at shoots in Madison, Ga.  Of course, I had to pay for it. On the other hand there is often free food at runs and triathlons. Not always great food, but frequently good free pizza, pasta, soft drinks, fruit and other foods. In those events, I’ve not gotten the impression that everyone connected to the race is trying to milk more cash out of me. Too often in archery it has seemed that too many people are trying dig a little deeper into my pocket.  It’s not so much I mind paying to get something I want, but I do mind feeling like I paid for more than I got.

My wife, Brenda, is not an archer.  She is an athlete.  She’s been around sports and was a professional in her field (at 62 she still practices between 1 and 4 hours per day 5 to 6 days per week. Yes, she is in better shape than you are. Yes, she made money in her field of sports. No she didn’t make money overnight -it took years).  She and I were talking about the differences between archery and other sports that we are familiar. I asked her, “Why is it, do you think, that archery seems to not get the recognition like, for example, triathlon?”  Her response surpassed me.

What she said is, “Look at triathlons, look at the athletes, now consider archery. Archery is not sexy. It is not exciting.” She went on to describe what she’s observed in archery compared to other sports.  What is apparent to her is that archers look and seem to match more closely to bowlers only not as fit.  (This is not a jab at bowlers – you bowlers are more fit than archers) Until archery can come up with a “Tiger Woods” or some other breakout elite it is not going to receive the marketing efforts by companies that promote other sports.

I understood and agreed adding it is a shame that in archery a major draw to the sport are fictious movie characters or comic book figures now appearing in TV shows.  Sure there are a handful of folks making a living in the sport of archery.  But, they are far from mainstream.  Their biggest audience are the fans that rush to buy whatever brand bow their hero is shooting today. (To be sure, anyone willing to pay me to shoot their bow has a ready archer – and that will be the best bow in my humble opinion.)

The companies that make that bows keep the prices of their top end models all very much relative to the other brands.  They’ve done their marking research and know your price points and their competitors price lists. They all seem to work toward enabling the fan archer to drop a grand or less every year or so for a unneeded new bow. (From my short time in this sport one of the biggest errors I’ve seen is archers replacing their equipment too often.  I’ve seen guys change their bow model 3 times in one season. Well, it’s not my money.)

In 2017 the cost to compete will be a major factor regarding when and where I shoot. Essentially, 2017 will come down to a cost benefit equation. The point is, to me, it seems that the general appreciation for the competitive archer is somewhat under valued. I make this conclusion on the cost, reward and marketing effort put forth to attract athletes to the sport.

Reference:

1.) http://www.archerytalk.com/vb/showthread.php?t=151647. WIHoyt. Nov. 2004.

2.) http://www.kaycircle.com/How-much-does-a-Professional-Archer-make-per-Year-Average-Annual-Pro-Olympic-Archery-Salary-Range

3.) http://www.statista.com/statistics/227423/number-of-joggers-and-runners-usa/

4.) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/29/triathlons-popularity-participant-all-time-high_n_3670543.html

5.) https://www.archerytrade.org/news/survey-says-18.9-million-archers-are-active-in-u.s

A Narrow Win

I don’t know Tim all that well. He seems like a really good person. We’ve crossed paths now three times. Only two of those meetings as competitors in the same class. The last meeting he won in a shoot off by one point.

Here we were again shooting against each other. We shoot similar equipment. Again in this tournament we shot the same lane, this time I had A and he had the C target. It was reversed on our first indoor 18-meter meeting.

Having shot sixty arrows in the first event we had the exact same number of 10s and 9s. That led to the shoot-off, which Tim won.

Tim and I weren’t in a contest as two lone archers.  There were other competitors we needed to out perform.  In my opinion, Tim was the guy to beat if I wanted to win.

The latest event was another remarkable contest. During the entire 60 arrow tournament we were within a point or two of each other and the score flip-flopped throughout the day. Going into the last end we remained separated by just one point in my favor. Tim shot first and hit two 10s and a 9 leaving little margin for error.

As my group approached the line for the final three arrows someone started the timer but no one blew the start whistle. The line, frozen, watched the timer run down the seconds. Archers began yelling to blow the whistle. Finally, an official signaled the line to shoot – we were down to 92 seconds.

What I wanted were three 10s. Having lost 28 seconds thanks to a delayed start added some intensity to the requirement of shooting at least as well as Tim to pull out a victory.

Oftentimes I practice with a timer. I know it takes me on average 85 seconds to shoot 3 arrows. That’s the average. It has taken me as many as 97 seconds to shoot three times. I had 92 seconds. The first thought I had was this sucks, which ate another couple of seconds. The next thought was that I needed to hurry and do this right. It was that or Tim would win again.

Arrows one and two hit fine. The third, if I rushed and hit anything less than a 9 would mean either a loss or a shoot off with Tim. Tim is far more experienced than I am and I didn’t want another shoot off.

As I aimed to send the final arrow 18-meters away in an attempt to hit a penny-sized mark someone behind me began yelling, “5, 4 , 3…..”  I really appreciated the countdown. I knew it was close but wasn’t certain on time. The countdown really helped.  A millisecond before “1” was yelled I released the arrow, the last arrow of the tournament with no time to spare – it was a nine.

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Back home River proudly wearing my 1st Place Medal.

That final nine was enough this time. Another one point difference.

Back and forth with releases

My friend was once a serious archer and shot in the pro class. Today, he shoots less because running his bow shop keeps him too busy. He suggested I try his thumb release. It was fine as are my hinge releases.

Shooting with a hinge seems cool and a lot of the top archers use a hinge release. I’ve noted that the hinge style release is not the exclusive model for top archers. Over the 38 months that I’ve been shooting, I’ve been keeping data on hinge versus thumb. There is no difference, well one point in favor of the thumb.

Nevertheless, I have reverted to the hinge style.  Once I find just the right place for my anchor I think I’ll have it.

Working With Hand Placement

Using a hinge release there seems to be, at least for me, a variance in the arrow placement that is depends on where I anchor my hand. There is also the matter of comfort, easy of release activation, and sway control that fluctuates with where I anchor the hand and release. Today I worked on refining that specific location.

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Repeated as exactly as possible with only a shift in the anchor point pulled the arrow away from center.

Certainly, I have a good point where I anchor. Nevertheless, that point has been a general placement arrived upon though practice and coaching. The practice today was intended to further polish the anchor point. That was one part of the practice. The other part was to experiment and learn what happens with minor variances of the anchor point.

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Notes on the shots and results

Throughout the practice I keep notes on shots. Those notes may help as I find the point of maximal benefit for hitting a consistent point on a target – shot after shot.

All Day Training

It was cold enough this morning, 36° F, and windy enough to run me into my shed to practice 18-meters. The space heater inside the shed makes a significant difference and being blocked from wind is a bonus. But, this practice was just part of a long day.

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This space heater on the wall is excellent on cold days.

I shot for about an hour before heading into Elizabeth City for my fitness training. At the Y the first order of business was swimming. For whatever reason the Y here keeps their locker room at meat storage temperature. It’s bad preparing to get into pool; it is awful during the return trip. Being wet walking into that locker room is painful. Not as bad as sitting in a tub of ice, but bad enough.

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I moved the Tower of Targets to face the shed. Typically it sits closer to that leaning pine tree.
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The view from inside my shed toward the target (prior to moving it forward)

There is no break here in the locker room. A quick shower and change for weights. Weight lifting is a Monday, Wednesday, Friday activity. Afternoon archer practice following those mornings can be a challenge. Before getting to that challenge and after weights there was time spent on a treadmill.

Some folks can run on treadmills all day. I have a friend that routinely spends two hours exercising like a human version of a hamster. Six miles is the maximum I every gone on treadmill. If I plan to run far, I prefer doing it outdoors.

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Preparing to ride inside

With the treadmill behind me, it was home for lunch and more archery. Yes, as I thought, my arms let me know I’d been to the gym. While I didn’t shoot any worse or better than par for me, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday archery practice is less of a muscular marathon.

Writing now, I am on a break. Next on the plan is time on a bike. Why all the exercise, well it is good for me and good for archery.

The Right Number of Arrows to Shoot Per Day

I am working on my 2017 training and competition plans. Out of curiosity I looked for plans written by archery coaches. There were a lot programs. Many of them where nothing more than a review of how to fitness train for archery. The USA Archery plan was a data entry spreadsheet. While there may be a good plan out there I stopped looking. What I was finding wasn’t all that informative. Heck, one plan was an endurance cardio plan that had been poorly modified for archery.

But, it got me thinking, not that this is an exclusive element to performance, how many arrows do top archers shoot per day?

The range was vast. There were people claiming to be elite archers than practice a few times a week and shoot about 100 arrows per week. One person posted that Olympic archers shoot 5000 arrows per week. I did the math on 5000 arrows a week -nope that’s not a real number.

Most of my daily plans call for a minimum number of arrows for each day of training. The quantity of arrows isn’t the focus. The primary aim is the type of shooting.

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I often start out like this, but it doesn’t last.

Practice for 3D might be yardage repeats. Shooting repeats will end up having a lot more arrows shot that stickily 3D target practice. The difference could be as many as 60 arrows. For 18-meters I might end up shooting 300 arrows in a day. For 50 meters it will be less because I’ll spend more time walking back and forth to the target. There is only so much time in a day.

Here’s what I know, I can spend about 6 hours a day shooting before it becomes a low return exercise. I know that for muscular endurance and neurological  development it take a lot of arrows.

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Yardage repeats mean breaking arrows.

Right now I’m shooting on average of 156 arrows a day. That’s the average. Some days I may only shoot 30 arrows, active recovery days. Other days I’ll shoot over 200. But, I’m not just slinging arrows. And the time spend shooting excludes blind bailing, and fitness workouts.

Nearly every day is broken into two or three pure archery practice session. Each has a specific goal. The pure archery training takes from 1 to 6 hours. Every week I include a light day and there is always a heavy day. Then, there are days that are real specific or very diverse.

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Shooting Robin Hoods is expensive. When I am working on form I often use a less expensive arrow so the loss isn’t so great. Here I was trying to get it right a 60 yards. Trying to pull the group over to the center.

So, the right number of arrows for me, at the moment seems to be around 1092 arrows per week. Thirty arrows a few times a week are way to little, 5000 arrows per week seems like an exaggeration. One thousand ninety-two is a good number if archery is your only job.

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Pin nock have saved me some money.

(Note: Shooting a lot means going through a lot of arrows. It would be real nice to have an arrow sponsor.)

Needed 3D and a New Bird

Training for 18-meters is fun. Shooting in the woods is, well, more fun – at least for me.  Lately, though the focus of training has been 18-meters. My primary bow, an Elite 35 Energy, is set-up for indoors. To shoot 3D I have to make all sorts of adjustments, twists and turns. Then, the reverse is needed to go back to 18-meters.

I admit, I frequently make the adjustments twice a day. It doesn’t take long, about 20 minutes to get everything sorted. It can make a person envious of folks that have multiple bows.

Actually, I have two bows. Aside from my Elite I have my original bow a Mathews Apex 7. Today, after a couple of hours at an indoor range, I decided to grab that Mathews and set it up for 3D.

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I shot my less expensive arrows in case I was all over the place

Once home from indoor practice – wait. Indoor practice was more than shooting for two hours. It started with swimming followed by weight lifting, which added another 90 minutes to training. After that, at home, I added a short stabilizer to the Apex 7 and a pin sight.

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3D practice with River includes “throw the stick”

It took a short while to get my pins relatively set before impatience pulled me into the woods. The pins were on at 20 yards and 40 yards. Outside of that is was guesswork.

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The yellow pin looked like a choice selection for 35 yards (the old bird)

A bonus was a new turkey. I’d ordered it at PGF Archery in Elizabeth City where I practiced earlier in the day. Weeks ago I cleared a spot for a new target and the turkey was within my budget. This bird is set so that to retrieve arrows the approach is from behind. That allows from a more nature landscape between a stake and the target.

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The new bird on the range

Being in the woods, even with a ‘nearly’ set bow and sight, was a nice break to the back and forth walking done when training at 18-meters.

Six Days, Two Archery Competitions

The first event was the inaugural opening of the PGF Outdoors, Indoor 18-meter League competition. The next day was travel leaving the first shoot in Elizabeth City onward to Brevard, both cities in North Carolina. From Brevard I would drive to Columbus, NC to compete in the USA Archery sanctioned Green Creek Archery Club’s Fall Indoor event. During the trip we’d camp, hike, tour and visit our life-long friend, Ken.

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Setting up camp Day 1

Shoot number one was the kickoff to the fall indoor league at PGF Outdoors. Each week they allow archers to compete on either Thursday night or Saturday morning. The flexible timing is good for most people. It can be difficult for families to join a league that only shoots at 7:00 PM on a school night. The alternatives allow schedule constrained people two choices. Even with the divided schedule there was a fair turn out for the Thursday night event.

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PGF Outdoors League

Friday, Brenda, my wife, and I along with our two dogs River and Nixie headed to High Point, NC while hauling our Winnebago camper. The final stop would be Brevard, NC where we’d camp. On Sunday, the day of the second event, I’d drive to Columbus, NC to compete in the Green Creek Archers USA Archery Sanctioned 18-Meter fall event.

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The lake at Oak Hallow

The drive across North Carolina is a long one. If you can it is fun to stop along the drive then spend a day enjoying the diversities across the State. North Carolina offers beaches on the east and mountains in the west. It is really a very beautiful state and a great place live (even if you are a Georgian from birth and at heart.).

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One of the several wildfires burning in NC

We did just that, stopping about midway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pisgah National Forest. Midpoint was near High Point. The Oak Hollow campground where we stayed has 110 sites of which only 20 were occupied. The campground was very clean and there is a nice sized lake next to the campsites.

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Oak Hallow is a large campground that was nearly empty.

From Oak Hollow we packed, reconnected camper to truck, and headed to Brevard for two nights at the Adventure Village. By comparison to Oak Hollow, Adventure Village is a dive. Well, my any standard, this campground is a dive. What Adventure Village has going for it is location. The campsite offers easy access to excellent hiking and mountain bike trails. It is close to Brevard, which is a very cool city, and where out life long from Ken lives.

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Campsite number 2, days 3 and 4
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Night in Brevard

Ken and his late wife Dianne are our children’s’ godparents. It was always a treat when we get to see Ken, which is several times a year. While I competed at the indoor tournament held on Sunday, Brenda along with Ken and two of his friends attended a classical concert in Brevard. Later, when I returned, we headed to Ken’s house where dinner was prepared and I mostly watched the Pittsburgh / Dallas football game. Sadly we didn’t get to stay as long as we’d have liked because there was still a two-day drive home and another shoot to attend.

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Smoke in the mountains near our campsite

On the round trip we stopped in Mebane, NC. There we stayed at the Jones Station RV Park. That is one of the nicer parks where we’ve stayed. We’ll plan to stay there again.

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Campsite number 3

We needed a few supplies and wanted to visit the Historic District so we headed into Mebane. Mebane is located mostly in Alamance and Orange Counties of North Carolina.  Named for General Alexander Mebane, Jr., and American Revolutionary War general and member of the U.S. Congress, it was incorporated as “Mebanesville” in 1881. Mebanesville became Mebane in 1883.(1) The town had a lot of Southern Charm and some really good-looking restaurants.  Alas, our meal ready back at the camper

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Morning fog, not smoke, in Mebane

We did, however, need bread and a few other groceries that we’d eat once we got back home in New Hope. Additionally, we wanted to find a Redbox and rent a movie. Of course, the camper has an entertainment center, flat screen TV, and DVD player – camping is not what I remember from my youth in hot canvas tents. So we ran a few errands while we returned to camp.

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Beer row in Lowe’s

In Mebane we discovered a Lowe’s Food Fresh Smart. We’d never been into one the Lowe’s grocery stores. We were very surprised. It was well stocked, bright, clean, and the service was exceptional.

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Produce section

After the food purchase we headed back to our caravan. There we ate spaghetti and meat meals. Outside it was damp, foggy and misting so there was not much after dinner hiking. There was morning hiking the next day.

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Heading home

Once, the morning hikes for the dogs were completed we began the final leg of our 6 day trip. Home again, home again – two shoots down.

Reference:

1.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mebane,_North_Carolina