Already Time to Start Thinking About 2018

I’ll not be going to the ASA Classic or the IBO World Championships. I’ve not yet made it to the Classic. I have competed at the IBO World Championship three times, twice in amateur divisions once in a professional class. While either or both would be fun, my skill at 3D isn’t at a level to warrant the travel. To be fair, I have improved at 3D. My scores per arrow from 2016 through 2017 ranged from 8.9 to 10.4 with an overall average of 9.7 points per arrow. That’s not horrible, but it won’t even get me into the top 5 in my age group. It looks like an average of 10.4 points per arrow is the point where a road trip becomes a gentle risk.

My trips to the IBO have been awful. Each time I was in over my head. The first trip to Ellicottville, New York was an experience – only. I’d only been shooting for ten months. The second was actually better even though I shot horribly. The 2016 trip to Seven Springs was a nightmare. So, missing the IBO isn’t going to make me cry or lose sleep.

The Classic, well that’s another matter. That would have been fun even though I’d have to be on the high end of my scoring curve to do well. Hey, it could happen. It’s happened to you a time or two. You showed up at a 3D tournament and could smack a 12 with your eyes closed. It hasn’t happened to me yet. That is smacking a 12 with my eyes closed even though there were shots that got off when my eyes were closed.

It is time to start planning for fall and 2018. Many of these plans will include 18-meter practice and tournaments. Along those lines will be how far I am willing to travel to shoot. Naturally, as my 18-meter average improves the distance I’m ready to travel increases.

It’s a little sad not to be heading to Pennsylvania or Alabama in a few weeks. But, not all that sad. There’s always another tournament around the corner.

Well, all seems right in the Universe

It’s exciting! Brand new fresh arrows. Not a single tip flattened. No cut or shot through vanes. No paint scrapes. Shinny new. You can’t wait to shoot them.

After the first end you go to retrieve your new arrows. This seems to happen every time. At least the arrow wasn’t ruined.

Never fails. All is right in the universe.

Short Term Goals

 

Setting goals is important. Setting achievable goals requires a little common sense. Sure, someone might say, “My goal is to shoot a perfect 600.” A 600 is certainly achievable especially if the archer is currently scoring in the 590+ range. Even if she’s scoring 483, sticking with it a 600 can become a reality. But, it could be a long unrewarding haul as she works toward perfection. I think it is better to set attainable goals in a timely fashion and then moving goals to the next level.

There is a goal posted on the edge of a shelf in my Red Barn. The barn is where I stand to practice 18-meters. I see that slip of paper with the number 570 on it before and after every end of arrows. The goal is only a number. It’s a total score for 18-meter 3-spots and it is not 600. Currently, the value is 570.

I’ve scored higher than 570 five times in 2017. I know when I shoot a 3-spot at 18-meter I’ll score, on average, between 560 and 569 at home. During a tournament, I’ll bounce around those numbers. But, my current goal is to know I’ll score between 570 and 579 every time I shoot 18-meters before I reset the goal. Once I am consistent at 570 the target goal will become 580. Once at 580 the goal moves to 590. These are short-term goals.

There are also timelines for achieve the goals, each is set at 4-weeks. That changes in November where the score bar is set at 595 – only a 5 point increase. Why set a smaller point increment near the top of the scoring range? Because it seems like gains, even marginal, at the upper echelon will be harder to achieve.

Sure, I could go ahead a set a goal of 60X on a 3-spot. Eventually, I’d achieve that mark. But, I think it is better to set incremental goals that work toward a longer-term goal.

(Since posting this a few hours ago, I’ve moved my goal to 580)

Practice, Beach, Practice

Usually, mid-day break is lunch a nap then more practice. We decided to break the routine when Brenda, my wife, suggested, “Let’s go to the beach.” And we did.

Virginia Beach, VA

We left home right after I showered from morning training. It’s still hot and archery can be a sweaty business when practiced outside. We left with plans for lunch at Virginia Beach. Afterwards we’d spend some time on the boardwalk.

Brenda

Virginia Beach is nice. If you’ve never been there and can plan a trip, do so. It is different compared to the Outer Banks. They’re both about the same distance, around an hour drive, from our home on the Little River at the Albemarle Sound.

We didn’t go to the beach to get into the water. The water a few steps away from my front door is enough for me and it is a lot warmer than the Atlantic at this latitude. But, the waves off the ocean made me wish I’d brought my surfboard. Believe me, I’d have worn a wet suit if I’d gone into the water with a board. Alas, the board was at home next to a wetsuit.

Statue of the Greek God Poseidon

After hiking about 5 miles on the beach we headed home – back by 3:45 PM. Time enough to get a full afternoon archery practice completed. Not bad at all!

USA Archery North Carolina State 50-Meter Championship

Once before I tried a 50-meter event. It did not go well and for a while I swore I’d never do another. It wasn’t the distance or weak shooting that caused me to curdle. It was the hours and hours and hours of sitting around, shooting a little, and sitting some more. Never in my life had I experienced a sporting event as miserable. In fact, after around 6 hours of the mess I packed my gear and went home. A year later, I decided to give it another try at the North Carolina State 50-meter Championships.

Camping near Burlington at Jones Station in Mebane, NC

The second try compared to the first was about as different as night and day. We shot 12 warm-up arrows, 72 qualifying arrows, took a 40 minute lunch break in the middle and were still finished in about three and a half hours.

Smashed my thumb while setting up the campsite. I promise, thick leather gloves are a real skin saver.

Prior to this episode I practiced a lot at 50-meters. Fifty meters is not an awfully long shot, but long enough that is you don’t practice you’ll be losing arrows or sticking them in the blue rings when it matters.

During practice it was often hot and humid here on the eastern shore of North Carolina where I live and train. I was glad I’d never let the weather conditions keep me off the practice range since there were nearly (or possibly) record-breaking temperatures in Burlington, NC during the two-day tournament. A fellow archer had an electronic thermometer with him and recorded the temperature at 100°F. That evening the local weather woman agreed and then expanded the claim broadcasting an achieved heat index of 111°F.

Folks getting their tents up. When everything is in place it looks like something out of the Renaissance.

The heat didn’t bother me too much; I was acclimated to the temperature. Heat has never really caused me to suffer as much as it seems to impact others.

This fellow was looking for a shady place to nap
Hard to believe this was a decade ago

In 2007 at the USA Triathlon Long Course Duathlon* qualifier for the World Championship it got asphalt melting hot. I earned a spot on the team because I outlasted faster duathletes in the heat. The World Championships were another matter. It was so cold on race day I was cramping before I’d even started the first run. I don’t think I ever warmed up on that day. Getting warm was not a problem in Burlington.

Two of the biggest problems I had were the slope of the field and the sun. Neither was a major issue, I prepared for each possibility. But, the main problem was four minutes versus five minutes.

Somehow I’d gotten the impression we had five minutes to shoot six arrows. I’d trained with a stopwatch to maximize the 5 minutes. Opps, we only had four causing a few anxious ends – like 12 of them. More than once I’d look at the clock to learn I had 57 seconds or so to shoot two arrows. I rushed a lot of arrows.

The result was that I ended up shooting subpar hitting several eights and one seven for the day. Honestly, I can’t remember hitting a seven prior the one I hit rushing to beat the clock. The seven wasn’t even the final arrow of an end – I had plenty of time.

River, showing off my medal and blowing a kiss

When it was all done I did not shoot as well as usual. I also didn’t hit rock bottom. Best of all, I shot well enough to win.

*A duathlon is a multi-sport event consisting of a run segment, a bicycling segment and lastly another run segment.

Extra Effort by a Tournament Official

The 2017 North Carolina State 50-meter Outdoor Championship was a hot one. The heat index was estimated a 111°F. The measured ambient temperate on the range was 100°F. The temperature is not what impressed me. It was the head judge that impressed me most about the tournament.

Tents starting to go up about an hour before warm-up

George “Guy” Hutcherson was the main ‘everything’ for the tournament in Burlington, NC. From organization to awards, he did a lot. He didn’t do it all, he had help. But, Guy was the guy. He kept it all running smoothly.

Guy was everywhere! He set out targets, drew lines, set stakes, helped with check-in, answered questions, and ran the show. For a minute I wondered whether Guy had a twin. No, he did not have a twin and his red face was evidence of how hard he was working in the heat.

Never once, did I hear a short answer or abrupt comment come from Guy. He helped everyone in need. He ran a smooth tournament that did not become bogged down.

When it was all over with surely the man was exhausted. I hope he has a break to recover. Guy Hutcherson – I appreciate all the work you put into this NC event. It was hard; anyone watching could not have missed how hard you worked. Thank you.

North Carolina State Outdoor Archery Championships

I’m headed to Burlington, NC for the USA Archery North Carolina State Outdoor Championships. This will be nearly a first for me, that is a 50-meter tournament.

I’ll be camping at Jones Station near Mebane. The Winnebago is hooked up and ready to hit the road. The campground is about 15 minutes from Burlington.

Once before I tried a 50-meter tournament, but walked off the range before it was completed. That one was in Georgia. It was really a sporting experience that remains hard to believe.

In Georgia, after six hours of judges trying to get archers through 72 arrows we were still shooting. It was truly amazing. Heck, I had to leave – I had to get home. Home was another 3 hours on the road. Later, I learned the event wasn’t completed until 11:00 PM. I’d arrived at 2:00 PM. That soured me on 50-meters.

During that tournament the sky was clear, very little wind, and a tad on the hot side.  To this day, I have no idea why the officials could not keep that tournament rolling. In hindsight, it was a waste of time.

I’ll give it another try this weekend. The posted start times gives me the impression that shooting 72 arrows is not going to take six hours.

Shooting Before a Crowd

It was only practice, not some big ‘to do’ in a converted warehouse, gymnasium or arena. No, practice took place along side of my yard. Nevertheless, spectators were right on top of me.

These hard to see dragonflies lighted on my 50-meter stake only inches away from me

One shy onlooker watched me from a distance and was quick to duck away if we made eye contact for long or when I began to approach.

This is a large turtle that popped up in the river to watch archery practice – or so it seemed

Then there was this crowd in the bleachers. It was a noisy group in constant motion.

The feathered onlookers were dive bombing me

And finally, the one fellow that sat off shore a few yards and watched. Once we made eye contact, he to ducked away.

This guy watched from his boat, he left when I began to approach him.

Overall, an interesting practice session.

 

 

Amazed, Dumbfounded and Thanks

The data I have on this website from my GoDaddy account, as far as I can figure, only stores for 12 months. On the 13th month, the earliest month of collected data is dropped. Thus, a 12-month loop.

I check my data at GoDaddy every month or so and am dumbfounded. Certainly, I am not a great writer and what I post is full of over-looked typos, poor grammar, fragments of sentences, and other mistakes that make expert writers shake their heads.

Nevertheless, and not withstanding the literary pain inflicted people that understand language better than I, I continue to crank out posts about this adventure in archery. What is amazing, a lot of people read those posts.

Over the previous 12 months, 160,713 people visited this site. Those visitors read 387,364 pages and the site had 1,218,128 hits.

Amazing and thanks.

Harder than I Thought it Would Be

I’d been shooting well for 50-meters. It seemed a bit too good. I measured the distance using a range finder from the stake – 52 yards. I thought it was suppose to be 54 yards.

Double-checking, 50-meters is 164.049 feet. Using a tape measure I learned why my shots had been so good- the distance was six feet short. Six feet doesn’t should like much. Still it gave me a rough time for a couple of hours after I made the distance correction.

The yellow is off center to my left to avoid hitting the tripod’s support legs

To make things more different, I rotated my target. I can’t shoot an arrow into my target back stop if the foam block is sitting centered. The arrows end up with about a 1/3 to ½ poking out the rear of the foam block. The arrows in the center smack the center leg of the tripod, which flattens or bends the tips. So, I position the paper target where arrows clear the tripod’s supporting legs. Then I spin the target so that I get to practice on the corners. A few more feet in distance and the lower right corner gave me a fit.

This lower right was getting me worried

The pain didn’t last, thankfully. During my second practice on the same set-up I shot as well as I had been doing before I made the changes.