Getting the Dope On

I am not new to international sport competition. I have a medical background (PhD). I am fairly new to archery.

For decades I competed as a junior, senior and an age grouper in running, cycling and triathlon. I was pretty good on a local and regional level in the US. I’ve gotten on the podium a few times at National events and earned a place on the USA Team for the World Championship Long Course Duathlon.

I did okay racing in the smaller events in Europe. I have trained or raced in: England, Germany, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Israel, Australia, and Japan. Racing, however, is not the sole area my interest in sports and health.

I have published a good many peer-reviewed medical manuscripts most on medical aliments, some on sports physiology. I was on faculty at a major medical school where I did much of my research. I’ve also given medical presentations of my academic work in those same countries where I’ve trained or raced. After over four decades of sports competition and medical research I have gotten pretty good at spotting dopers. (I have never pointed anyone out I suspected. Although, some I suspected in cycling and triathlon did get caught.)

In age group competition, the doping is bad. In archery is seems worse than other sports among age groupers. I understand that banned substances may be necessary for the well being of many age groupers. However, it does give them, what I consider, an unfair edge in archery.

Being athletic is good. Shooting a bow isn’t all that phyically demanding compared to competing in an Ironman or running a marathon.  Archery requires a different kind of skill.  Still, archery practice combined with a program to improve physical fitness will benefit an athlete.

It isn’t easy to remain fit for a lifetime.  It is less easy to be an athlete.  It becomes increasing hard for amateur athletes and professionals where income from sport do not provide a living wage.  For them work gets in the middle of the day meaning training becomes more of a scheduling trick. It is possible.  Athletes that take on the extra effort to remain fit enough to reach a podium without banned supplements shouldn’t be, in addition to their work, put into a position where they must surpass other athletes unwilling or unable to adapt a total fitness program.

Some age group archers that are not physically fit yet practice consistently have an advantage over athletes who shoot and combine healthy life choices with competition. The poorly conditioned archery age grouper that is able to consistently practice shooting can have the competitive advantage of drugs used to compensate for high blood pressure and abnormal heart rhythms.  Those drugs assist both the patient’s condition and shooter’s ability. As such they do not need to approach archery as a complete athletic process. Rather, they can practice with their bow, be in miserable overall fitness (non-athletic) and have the advantage during competition of their prescribed drugs.

Individuals that are on beta-blockers may be able to receive a therapeutic use exemption (TUE).  In many cases, beta-blocker use might be reduced or eliminated through healthy choices and exercise.

Dr. Sheps of the Mayo Clinic writes:

If you’re overweight, losing even 5 pounds (2.3 kilograms) can lower your blood pressure. As you slim down, it may be possible to reduce your dose of blood pressure medication — or stop taking your blood pressure medication completely. Don’t make changes to your blood pressure medication on your own, however. Do so only after getting your doctor’s OK.

Remember, high blood pressure isn’t a problem you can treat and then ignore. Even if you’re able to stop taking blood pressure medication, it’s still important to maintain healthy habits. Here’s how:

  • Eat a healthy diet — the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is an effective eating plan for lowering blood pressure.
  • Get 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week.
  • Limit alcohol.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Schedule regular checkups with your doctor to make sure you’re keeping your blood pressure in check. (1)

Being new to archery I have found it frustrating to train hard and enter an event on an unleveled playing field. Shooters are clean or they or not. If an age grouper is taking a beta-blocker at a minimum they should have a TUE. But, so long as USA Archery allows the unchecked use of beta-blockers by age-groupers during competitions it is not promoting the overall health of the sport.

I doubt that USA Archery is going to put much effort into screening age groupers using banned substances without a TUE.  For age groupers that are fitness focused they need to shoot well to win knowing that similarly trained unfit archers talking prescription drugs have an edge.

From USADA and applies to WADA:(2)

Substances Prohibited in Particular Sports

Some sports have additional rules about the use of beta-blockers. If participating in any of the following sports, please consult the current WADA Prohibited List or Global Drug Reference Online (GlobalDRO.com) before using beta-blockers.

P1. Beta-Blockers

Beta-blockers (including, but not limited to atenolol, bisoprolol, carvedilol, esmolol, labetalol, metoprolol, propranolol, sotalol, and timolol) are prohibited for the following sports:

  • Prohibited At All Times (in-competition and out-of-competition): Archery, Shooting
  • Prohibited In-Competition Only: Automobile, Billiards, Darts, Golf, Skiing/Snowboarding in ski jumping, freestyle aerials/halfpipe and
  • snowboard halfpipe/big air, and Underwater Sports as specified.

References:

1.) https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/expert-answers/blood-pressure-medication/faq-20058056

2.)

Athlete Guide to the 2018 Prohibited List

Nice shooting Mr. Lain and here’s your lunch…

I’ve been practicing archery with a new crowd. Well, they’re new to me. They all know one another. Each one seems to have a fairly easy time hitting Xs. This group practices at Ace Hardware in Social Circle, Ga. From what can be guessed most are still in high school.

There are a few veterans in the Social Circle mix. These old war horses smack X after X.  On the line you’ll hear them, “$5.00 on the last arrow closest to the X.”  Then, “Okay.” There will be six Xs .  The last arrow closet to the X, meaning dead center, wins $5.00. As yet, I remain apart from contributing $5.00.

I’ve been practicing with them on Tuesday and Thursday nights. It is a downright humbling experience. There’s generally at least one archer that will shoot a perfect score. The others will come close.

For me, a perfect score has yet to happen. There are occasional nice ends. Those are always acknowledged by the youngsters with, “Nice shooting, Mr. Lain.” Then, they skip off, laugh and giggle, and check their smart phones, before lining up to shoot three more Xs and repeat.

Reo Wilde in the Elite T-shirt. Winner of 9 Gold, 3 Silver and 1 bronze at various World Archery Championships. (1)

Then, there are those fellows that show up and shoot perhaps a hundred or more Xs in a row. Being around such good archers does help to raise the game to a higher level.

(1)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reo_Wilde

Starting to Settle In

We’re so close to being completely into our new house. There are still several projects on the list.

The land behind the house still isn’t cleared enough to put out a 3D range. We’re waiting on a builder to put up a second shed for the lawn tractor and kayaks. These are the remaining two big projects.

River enjoying a deer antler while I practice. Practicing with a brand new Elite Victory 37.

Then, we still have things, including our RV, at our place in North Carolina. That means a trip to haul those things down to Georgia. In the meantime, I am trying to get in archery practice and maintain decent cardio workouts.

Finally, I do have a nice area to train for 18 meters. I will have a nice 50-meter range near my 3D range when the land clearing is completed. There is also a nice place to run, nice road cycling and really nice off-road biking right from my front door.

Still getting a feel for my new bow.

The road riding is great. Empty roads, little traffic, and rolling hills. There are dogs. Yesterday, one four legged sprinter gave me two informational gathering bites on my left foot. It wasn’t painful nor did the bites break skin. I was more worried about this little dog getting hung up in a wheel and knocking me down and his teeth. This was the first time a dog has ever bitten me.

I really think it was the dog trying to figure out was I was. The bites seemed not very aggressive. Dogs get a lot of information through taste. Stinky human foot took this microcelphalic a couple of tastes to learn I wasn’t a threat. On the return home I made certain I was carrying enough speed so that sprint as he might, the varmint of the Jack Russell variety couldn’t catch up.

All in all we’re starting to settle in at our new home in Good Hope.

Clearing woods and pitiful archery

Moving is more than simply having one house loaded, moved to the next, and then unloaded. Although, that is a major task, there are all sorts of landscaping that needs to be done on our property.

We have three acres of thick forest behind our backyard. Our “backyard” has now been fenced and sodded. But, the land beyond the fence is practically impenetrable it is so thick. There are a couple of old trails that pass across the land, but other than those passages navigation is a challenge.

The new 18-meter set-up

This land is where I want to put a 3D range. I’d, also, like a place for picnics and short hikes when the grandkids come to visit. To have that means clearing the land. After three days of hacking and chopping I was beat.

This patch wasn’t too bad
Targets waiting for a home on partially cleared land

On top of the clearing work I’ve been trying to run every morning, shoot after running, then hack, chop, and pull, eat lunch, get on my bike in the afternoon then chop some more and finally get in a second archery practice. Let me tell you, that kind of work and archery do not mix – at least for me.

Tools for the job

 

This section is starting to open up

By the end of the third day it was all I could do to lift my bow. That night I joined a local archery competition and shot horribly. The next day I hired a crew to help with the land clearing. I’d found my physical limit.

Wonder if any body is home?

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Looking out the window here at our new home in Good Hope, Georgia, there is an unusual sight. There is blue sky!

It has rained and rained since we move here a couple of weeks ago. The rain has hampered some of the work we’re still doing to the property here. Despite the bad weather things are moving along.

What is hurting the most is archery. Two days a week I can’t shoot at the indoor range located in Social Circle, Ga. They are closed on Sunday and Monday. Shooting outside is now possible, except when it’s raining.

Looking at the sky I now see the blue was only a tease. Maybe it won’t rain and just remain overcast.

Four Years Ago in Virginia

Facebook occasionally pops up an old photograph on a user’s timeline that Facebook thinks has some historical importance to the user. As a user you are able to re-post the image. Like all Facebook users I get them. I’ve never re-posted one.

One such image that did pop up on the 8th of this month, February,  got me thinking. It was a photograph I’d take at my first archery tournament. It was the Virginia State Indoor Championship. The photograph was four years old.

I’d only been shooting a bow for 12 weeks. I’d hired a coach and he suggested I attend the tournament and compete. To encourage me he said, “I think you could be competitive.” The stroke to my ego was all it took – I entered the tournament. My equipment was a Mathews Conquest Apex 7 set up with a Trophy Ridge 5 Pin sight and a short stabilizer. I seriously had no idea what I was doing.

The ‘historical’ picture did get me wondering what my score was on that day four years ago. Checking my data I read the score – it was bad. But, from that event I did learn a number of things: 1) bows can have scopes, 2) bows can come with long stabilizers, 3) judges blow whistles that announce things archers should do, and 4) archers stand really close to one another while shooting on a line.

From that experience my bow has evolved and now has a scope on the sight, long stabilizers and lots of weights. I now know what the whistles mean. I rarely poke other archers on the line with my arrows or bang them with my bow. Yes that does occasionally happen, that is my gear might touch another shooter. But, that is only while everyone is jostling around before folks have found their space within their box.

A couple of other things have changed during this 48-month period. The inner 10 ring is now “the” ten ring for USA Archery and there is now non-stop music playing during indoor tournaments. Neither came to me with any welcome. Over time, both became fine with me. The music is mostly enjoyable, so long as I don’t have to hear a Taylor Swift song. And the small ten ring seems to be getting bigger all the time.

That tall fellow is some ‘Big-Time’ archer. I have no idea who he is but some of the folks there seemed to be impressed so I took this picture.

Although the Facebook pop-up image will appear here, I’ll not be posting it as a separate piece of history on Facebook. On Facebook, you’ll only see my logo when I share this post.

The Stock Market and Archery Scores

Lately, my scores have taken a serious nosedive. Nothing that has caused me excessive worry. It is understandable that my scores, which had been steadily climbing over the past couple of years, would suffer during a prolonged migration home to Georgia with its accompanying lack of practice. Sure, the scores suffered but there is no need to panic.

Archery

Lately, my investments have matched my archery scores. A couple of nose-dives but nothing that has caused me excessive worry.

US Stocks

At the moment, the market has a slight dump up, so do my scores. So, from here on I’ll use my archery scores as an indicator of the market and invest accordingly. Seems as good as anything else.

Second Place at the Georgia Indoor Championship

I knew the move to Georgia would have an impact on my shooting. I was right. My shooting has been off.

At the Georgia State Indoor Championship this past week I took second place. The second place isn’t the issue – my score is the problem. It doesn’t take long going without practice to drop an average score by a lot of points. I’ll blame, the packing, moving, closing on the new house, unpacking and putting things where they belong, and inability to practice for the drop in accuracy.

It has been said in sports one of the greatest abilities is availability. That is too true.

A packed arena at both shoot times: 9:00 am and 1:00 pm.

Getting back into a routine will bring my shooting to moving in the right direction. For the moment, the scores are reflective of the stock market.

A real positive is that the tournament was amazingly well run.  In and out in under four hours. Excellent. Home in plenty of time to watch the Super Bowl.

New Tires And A Tried Lecture

One of the chores I’ve been putting off for years was replacing the tires on my LeMond Maillot Jaune road bike. The old tires were slick as ice. Because I have other bikes I have been lazy about changing those old tires.

Changing tires is one of my least favorite chores. It is also an inexpensive chore to farm out to a bike shop. Since the shop is selling a customer new tires installing them can typically be done for a small addition fee. In some cases as low as $5.00 per tire or even free when you purchase new tires. (I like free)

I’d tried to get this done in Elizabeth City, North Carolina at the one bicycle shop in town. I dropped the bike off expecting the new tires within a matter of days. Weeks later the Maillot Jaune was still wearing old sad tires. Rather than wait any longer I picked up the bike and connected it to my Computrainer where a flat wouldn’t leave me out in the sticks changing a tube that would likely go flat before I made it home. There, on the Computrainer is where this wonderful all Campy Record equipped bike sat for years. When we moved and I took the bike off the trainer. It was packed along with our household possession onto a large truck.

Notice the green tape? It’s a numbered sticker from last week’s move.

Once the movers arrived at our new home in Georgia the bike like everything else was off loaded from the truck.

So, being detached from the trainer the LeMond was going to have another try at getting new tires. I removed its Kovochi wheels and took them to Sunshine Cycle’s in Watkinsville. There I’d finally select new tires.

The wheels wore old Continental’s that were 21mm in width. That is narrow. All my other road bike tires are 23mm wide. Now, there are all manner of “research data” related to bicycle tire width. If you’re a serious cyclist you’ve already read a lot of that tire width research. I, too, have read a good amount of the work on tire width. Honestly, I don’t care a whole lot about the data presented in most of the papers I read. I care about the feeling I get from where the tire meets the road.

I love the feel of 21mm tires. I love the sound they make rolling on the road. Most of all it is being able to feel the road. So, I tried to get another set of 21mm tires to replace the old. It is a rare tire, the 21mm, and I didn’t expect to find them at Sunshine Cycle’s. They didn’t have any 21mm, so I bought 23mm along with new tubes. The work was done is about 30 minutes.

Even though the job for Sunshine was a fast bit of labor I didn’t want to wait having other errands to run. I came back the next day to settle my bill and get the wheels. When I picked up the wheels as a bonus I got a free lecture.

There are people in the world that are self-proclaimed experts or know-it-alls. I suppose they’re good-natured folks that believe sharing their wisdom is a mission. When I cross paths with such an expert I must wear a look of ignorance because too often I get a free lecture.

I always listen. There are times when the wizard’s pontifications reveal pearls of knowledge that I don’t yet own. Even lectures where the information shared is already in my head I listen to be polite. Picking up my wheels, I had to listen to be polite. However, the speaker nearly crossed a line.

That line is where the actor orates in a manner of speaking down to his audience of one. He will further throw out the affidavits of others to bring home his point. In that bike shop presentation, of which I will not repeat to prevent blood oozing from your eyes, I was put into my place for wanting 21mm tires.

An old license. I probably still have older ones laying around. This one is a “Cat 2”

I was admonished by the expertise of what the “Cat 1 and Cat 2” riders are currently sporting on their wheels.   My reprimand for the 21mm tires was non-stop while the reasons for my error highlighted the room.

Let me state that Sunshine Cycle’s is one of the best bike shops in the world. I’ve been visiting the shop off and on for about a quarter of a century. I’ve been in bicycle shops all over the world. My all time favorite the Yellow Jersey in Savannah, Georgia is gone. My second favorite Star Bike shop is still in Savannah. Sunshine is tied with Star for first place since the Yellow Jersey is gone. Second place is the Bianchi bike shop in Florence, Italy. When I raced in Italy, they were a great help getting me signed up for races.

An old international license used for racing in Europe.

Now, I don’t know what other “Cat 1 or Cat 2” riders are currently using on their bikes. I stopped bicycle racing in 2011 and had been focused on triathlon since 2006. I suppose if a cyclist is racing Paris-Roubaix his bike might be rolling 25mm or 28mm tires. Like I said, I don’t know. As a former, “Cat 1 or Cat 2” cyclist, I do know what it is I like to have on my wheels and 23mm is wide enough for me with the occasional 21mm to get a feel for the road. But, I suppose I just have that look that projects ignorance with a need to be lectured. Despite the speaker’s intent, I will order 21mm and ride them.

Finding Space to Shoot at Home in Georgia

We fenced in part of our property here in Good Hope, Georgia. For the first time our dogs, River and Nixie need to live within the box. Both grew up on the Little River in North Carolina and have little experience with a fence. Their days of being free range dogs are behind them.

It’s not a small box, around 14,000 square feet, but it is still a box. And within that box I needed to set up an 18-meter stop for targets.

The first arrangement was nice and level. However, the sun was always in my face. The area within the fence has little to offer when it comes to level ground. But, the sun always directly in my eyes at the initial target placement meant finding the next best place to set my blocks.

Along the northeastern edge of the fence lays the second most level potential and didn’t need addition tree removal to shoot 18-meters. So, there is where the target now sits.

Shooting a bit downhill. More blocks of brick will fix this problem.

One of the things I’ll miss about our place in North Carolina is the shed where I stood while practicing against a 3-spot. No wind hitting me, level and best of all heat. That little space heater was a real treat even on the coldest of days.

Practice was a little rough. It has been weeks since I’ve been about to have a practice routine. You can see the metal fence we ran across the from of the house facing the road. In the woods I put up black vinyl coated chain link.

This is Georgia, so I am hoping for some warmer days coming soon. Before it gets too warm I’ll have the 50-meter range and 3D ranges in place. For now, with all these 18-meter tournaments on the calendar it’s all about short shots at little dots.