New Neighbors Decrease by 50%

Recently, a couple purchased one of the lots in our development.  The lots are all nice sized ranging from around 10 acres to as small as 3 acres.  All back up to undeveloped land or farmland.  It is the country.

If you move to the country you are choosing a life style.  Unlike city life where activities of daily living such as buying groceries or getting gas are just a short distance away being in the country means a trip into town to fulfill such chores.

Town might not mean a large metropolitan conglomerate.  In fact, our closest town has only two stores.  One is a Dollar General and the other is the “Good Hope General Store” which has stood in its location since the early 1900s.  The “Good Hope General Store” offers a limited supply of groceries, has a deli, and sells gas on the side.  Major grocery shopping for us means a trip to Watkinsville, Madison, or Athens.

Downtown Good Hope

Good Hope is the closest town to where we live and the where the recent couple built their new home.  Good Hope has a population of 288. The Atlanta metro area (a little more than an hour away), by comparison, has a population of 5.6 million.

The lady, who amounted to 50% of the pair of our new neighbors, was accustomed to a more metropolitan area.  When she settled into her new home she noticed her Internet reliability and speed were mediocre. Admittedly the Internet here in the country is substandard.  But, those of us that prefer the country are willing to deal with inferior Internet.

If you’ve never lived in the city then you don’t have a frame of reference.  City life offers high speed Internet, easy access to food of all sorts, and plenty of entertainment if you’re willing to pay for it.

We’ve lived in Atlanta, Savannah, Augusta, Baltimore, Cleveland and Pittsburgh.  Savannah and Augusta don’t really come up to big city standards but are indeed cities that seem massive compared to Good Hope. We’ve also lived in Easton, Maryland a great small town.

We moved to Good Hope, Georgia from New Hope, North Carolina that has a population of 3104.  We sold that New Hope house to a couple from South Carolina preserving the population balance.  The Internet was better in New Hope, but we were further from gas or groceries.  We lived on the fringes.

In New Hope it wasn’t unusual for horses to roam into our yard, escapees from down the road, and chickens that weren’t ours were common visitors.  We also knew most of the local dogs by name. It is a truly country area.

There are chickens here in Good Hope as well.  Once again, not ours that roam our property.  There’s a rooster that crows a lot which I don’t mind.  In fact, I enjoy his declarations and his cocky attitude.  Many days while I’m practicing archery he or some of his harem of hens drop by to watch and peck.

Our new lady neighbor didn’t like the rooster.  She made a point to visit the owners of the chickens to issue a complaint.  Honestly, you can’t hear the rooster if you’re indoors.  If you go outside you might be hear his melodies floating over your background. Roosters aren’t for everyone.  This one wasn’t for the new neighbor.

Possum taking a short cut at night across our front porch

Then, there are the dogs.  In the country people have dogs.  Dogs bark.  Here in our development we’re far enough apart that occasional barking isn’t a bother.  There are no psychotic hounds yelling all night.  There are occasional night barks because there are occasional visits by critters out of the woods who are less tame. Barking dogs warn those visitors away.

This fox is getting a bark

The new lady wanted to learn, by asking, who is everyone in the area that owns a dog.  She didn’t explain why she needed that information. There are 16 houses out here and 9 of them come with a dog or dogs.  A few folks have two or three dogs.  One family has three dogs and a few of pigs.  Pigs don’t bark and don’t bother people with loud vocals.

Cows grazing very near us

There are also lots of cows around us.  They can be heard at night and during quiet days.  Cows don’t bother most people.  Somehow the cows got on the former city dwellers nerves.

Not only were the cows audibly offensive to her they contributed to an olfactory insult.  I believe that sense’s infringement was imaginative.

What she most seemed to abhor was gunfire. One night a chicken house raid a by a skulk of foxes led to four blasts from a shotgun.  The urban transplant was out in her nightclothes demanding whether or not the chicken protection crew knew the time.  It was dinnertime for foxes and they had not be invited to enjoy a chicken dinner. (The human time was 9:45 PM)

Later, she was heard to complain about some boys being taught to shoot by their father.  The boys had been armed with BB guns, a pellet gun, and dad held a 22, the calibrations ascending with age.  They weren’t learning near her house but the reports could be heard.  That event led to police being called.

The officer responding explained that in rural Georgia gun owners could shoot their guns.  He explained the father of the boys was supervising them and their targets were safe.  She left in frustration; the officer took a few shots with dad’s 22 before continuing on his rounds.

Our lady friend may have reached her limit after giving grievance to innocent dog owners regarding howling that went on during the night.  No dog had been left outdoors the unfairly accused pleaded.  Her country neighbors explained what she’d heard wasn’t a pack of dogs. She’d stood out in her backyard during the night fuming over coyotes.

I’m not a dog

Our new neighbor, the one that remains, is a bachelor.  His ex-wife offered a non-contested divorce and has fled to Jacksonville, Florida.  Perhaps, she’ll have a simpler life dealing with traffic, hurricanes, flooding, and power outages.

Peaks and Valleys

In every sport with every athlete there are peaks and valleys in performance.  In archery there are times when it seems easy to find the X.  There are times with arrows seem to circle the X just missing.  It can be frustrating.

Maintaining a log of data you can review your peaks and valleys.  Over time, with consistent practice, those gaps between highs and lows diminish.  The gap remains, only the intervals between them narrow.

When you begin entering a slump pause to evaluate what has changed?  Is it fatigue or over training?  Is your form slipping?  Is your mind elsewhere?  Did anything drift with your equipment?

The answer to a dip in performance may make itself obvious.  Sometimes having your coach watch you practice and that extra set of eyes may notice something amiss in your process you’ve overlooked.

If you don’t have a coach at hand try something different.  An easy approach to helping discover what is wrong is simply changing your release.  If you have two different releases they’ll activate slightly different. The change may help you keep or regain your edge.

If you’re over training take a break.  You should have recovery days planned within your training plan.

If all else fails check your gear.  Things can shift with a bow.  Cumulative incremental shifts can add up.

Expect that all days aren’t the same. But, you can work through anything.

Recovery Time: What Everyone Knows That I Don’t Understand

Chris McCormick is a world champion triathlete.  He wrote a book about his experiences as an athlete.  In that book he described a younger triathlete who McCormick felt could become great.  A problem McCormick noticed with the younger athlete was that the fellow was working too hard.

McCormick talked to him suggesting he might add some recovery time to his training.  McCormick at the time of their meeting and training together was mature for a professional triathlete being in his 30s. The younger man was in his early 20s.  McCormick warned him to ease up on occasion to allow for adequate recover without which could lead to burn out or injury.  The twenty year old ignored the advice and not too long after was injured and a bit burnt.

In a post here not too long ago I wrote about recovery.  In that post I described my training. I pointed out that I don’t maintain a level of cardio training today as an archer that I did in my youth.  Still, I do train at what I consider an age appropriate level.

Cardio training is a method to help prolong health and give me a longer runway for archery.  Archery satisfies my need to remain competitive.  Certainly, achieving competitive goals remains possible as an age grouper in other sports.

I have a friend that is 69 and runs ultra marathons.  He’s an amazing athlete.  I know a woman in her mid-80s that still does high-level triathlons.  Again, amazing.  Neither started at a early age both picking up endurance sports in their 50s.

I started endurance sports at 17 and stopped at 57.  Forty years seemed to have been a limit for me.  When I tried stopping I was very unsatisfied.  I needed to compete.  Archery is an outlet for that desire.  Of course I still run and ride but the primary goal is to maintain fitness and prolong my experience in archery.

Along with that sport experience comes decades of understanding recovery. I understand it but do not always follow my own advice or knowledge.  I am prone to over training.

In the prior article about recovery I pointed out that as we age recovery times are often required to be more often and longer.  A reader somehow got another message.

He sent me a note pointing out that everyone understands recovery.  That was news to me.  I am still trying to find the right balance.  He somehow believed I am still in my 50s.  He further suggested my training along with the aches and pains associated were typical for a 50 year old, with the luxury of time, however not realistic for someone approaching 70 as he is approaching 70.

I took that comment as a compliment. The older critic, approaching 70, is pretty close to my age as I approach 70.  He is older by a few years but within my age group. He seems to be fairly fit results of his foundation of years of hard work.  He suggested my life of luxury has afforded me at 50 to be able to train the way I train.

That’s not true.  I’ve been able to train the way I train because I have had great coaches that ensured I had adequate recover whether I wanted it or not.  The result was minimal injury and little burn out.  Sure it is unlikely I’ll do too much racing in the future but not entirely out of the picture.  It isn’t that I burnt out on it after four decades, it became too expensive.

Archery is a lot less expensive than triathletes, easier to find events compared to cycling, and a sport that is much less age dependent.  So long as I maintain the best level of activity and recovery I should last a pretty long time shooting arrows.

Here’s the thing, finding the best point where recovery is needed and just plain soreness needing to be worked through is a tough balancing act.  As the 60+ critic pointed out everyone understands recovery and aging.  So, everyone, of you have sound advice I’m listening.

It’s Not What You Know…

Mama often told me, “It’s not what you know, and it’s who you know.”  There’s a lot of truth to what Mama said.

When I worked a day job I knew a lot about my field of employment.  Academically, I’d earned a doctorate and a law degree.  Even so, I never let my schooling get in the way of my education (M. Twain.). Along the way, as I piled up college credits, if some credentialing exam’s testing requirements had been satisfied by my study I took the test.  I piled up a lot of credentials as a result.  Most I never needed.

Over the years I built up a lot of knowledge and made a lot of contacts.  Those contacts eventually led me to a very satisfying career.  Without the contacts I’d still have had a very enjoyable career in academia but not one that could have been as richly rewarding.  As it turned out I was able to retire at age 57.

The early retirement offered me a chance to work at a sport.  At 57 cycling or triathlons would have only been fun pastimes. Archery, which I stumbled upon by chance, meant if I got good enough I could earn a few dollars.

I have earned a few dollars here and there.  Those rewards have been exclusively shooting league events.  Among them all I’ve had to compete against archers often younger than my children.

In my age group I’ve done well at the NFAA and USA Archery events as a non-professional.  USA Archery, of course, doesn’t have cash on the line.   The ASA and IBO offer cash winning as does the NAA.  There is also money available via contingency programs.  However, the big money is set-aside for the young professional archers not the Master/Senior level athletes.

Shooting, as a Senior Pro and winning everything wouldn’t yield the return of a young professional winning one of the major events.  On the bright side archery is not as age impacted as other sports. On the down side, all the young pros are really good.  In other words, once you hit 50 and if you shoot outside of the Pro division you’re not going to reap much reward. That’s too bad if you consider most competitive archers are over 50. (1)

There’s the potential for an older archer to become a “Pro” Staff shooter.  I have no idea to the extent of support a “Pro” staffer receives.  I tried that pathway with minimal success.  I mostly got support in the way of discounts on equipment. One company, that had known me as a triathlete, gave me some free stuff.

During a tournament I learned an opponent was a “Pro” Staffer with one of the companies where I held a “Pro” staff position.  I further learned he’d received hundreds of dollars of free gear where I had been awarded a 25% discount.  The gifted archer has never beaten me.  But, he knows somebody at the company whereas I know no one at the company.  Mama was correct.

Reference:

  1. hitting-the-bullseye-reel-girl-archers-inspire-real-girl-archers-full

The Goat is Home

My TRU Ball Goat release busted.  I called TRU Ball.  They gave me instructions for it to be returned so that they could repair it.  I shipped the Goat back regular (the less expensive method) mail.  Seven days later that Goat was back in my hand. That is hard to beat when it comes to customer service.

During the Goat’s absence I tried shooting an old True Fire thumb release.  The trigger on that release has no sensitivity adjustment.  This meant having to move my thumb to active the release.  That didn’t pan out.

Next I tried an old Scott Black Hole 3. It was just too cold. Sure, you might be a wizard at adjusting this type of release to make it more sensitive – not me. I’ve tried and given up. Every attempt at finding that perfect spot where the hinge releases, when I make the adjustment, is either too hot or too cold.   Next I used an old Scott Long Horn Pro Advantage release.  That was just right. The release setting set by a tech at Scott.

Even though I ‘mostly’ use back tension to active my Goat in the thumb trigger mode I am less comfortable with a pure back tension hinge.  When I make a mistake with a hinge style release it is a whopper. With a thumb activation I can be a little less careful.

Still, I enjoy shooting exclusively a hinge style release.  For years it was all I shot.  Then, a bow tech, who seemed knowledgeable, claimed thumb releases were the better approach.  It wasn’t as if he was trying to sell me a thumb release, the shop where he worked didn’t have any thumb releases in stock at the time.

I’d been using a Scott Black Hole 3 my wife had purchased me as a Christmas gift in 2014, a few weeks after I’d started playing around with archery.  A buddy of mine used a Black Hole 3 and it the total extent of my knowledge of hinge releases.

Because this buddy was a ex-pro (he made certain you became aware of his past and present glory) I thought he must be doing something better than me. So, when Brenda asked what I wanted for Christmas I told her a Scott Black Hole 3 release. With that request I exhausted my complete knowledge base of hinge releases.

Until that point I’d been using a finger trigger release.  I think it was a Scott Little Goose.  The Little Goose was a nice release.  I lost it when I sold a bow and the case it was in.  I’d forgotten to remove the Little Goose  from the case and it was gone forever.

On Christmas morning of 2014 I unwrapped my new hinge release then watched a YouTube on how to use it. Despite a bit of nervousness having heard all sorts of tooth breaking, lip busting, and nose bleeding horror stories of hinge style shooting I set out to master pure back tension.  The mastering remains unattained.

Thus far, I endure injury free using a back tension.  Nevertheless, I let the bow tech at the thumbless release shop convince me to use a thumb release over a hinge.  I found one at a different nearby archery shop.  It was the True Fire release.  They were too happy to accept my money.

Over time, it became clear that that choice, the True Fire, was excellent for hunting, less so for target shooting.  The sensitivity on the model I owned was simply too dull in that it required to great of a movement for me to activate.

Months into working with the True Fire, I was mentally stuck with a thumb.  Each time I worked to switch back to a hinge every poor form habit, which you can get away with using a thumb release, was so much a part of my shooting that the practice with pure hinge release was frustrating.

Luckily, another bow tech at another shop suggested I try the TRU Ball Goat.  I could set it to trigger the way I wanted.  It fit so that I could use, to some degree, back tension to activate the release.

Actually, a good archer can use the Goat with back tension with or without the thumb approach.  In my hands, well a hybrid approach is a fair description.  Sometimes I get the back tension, sometimes I thumb it, and sometimes is fire an arrow seemingly by magic. (The arrows is flying toward the target and I’m not yet ready)

Then, my Goat broke.  I pulled out the old True Fire. I gave up on the True Fire, after shooting a 533 out of 600, and eventually migrated to the Scott Longhorn Pro Advantage.

A few hundred arrows with the Scott release helped reestablish a better shooting form.  I really had to focus.  It was focus or miss.  After 500 arrows using the hinge or so I was shooting pretty good with it.  (No arrows were lost during the transition)

Just as I was getting comfortable with the Longhorn Pro my Goat came home.  The day it arrived I used it in a local league competition.

The league competition here is tough.  It came down to 2 ex-pros (both have only ever had jobs in archery), a kid that is ranked number 1 in the Nation for his age group (he never misses the 10 ring when it is the outer 10) some fellow I don’t know that seemed like a big shot.

I say he seemed like a big shot because he talked a lot about the shoot offs he competed in at Vegas and Lancaster. He was using some thumb style release.

I’m not  sure he could have shot a hinge release.  His chest was so puffed up he scapulas were practically fusing between ends.  He, too, didn’t miss any ten rings. And then me shooting the just returned Goat.

The Goat did just fine even if I was a bit off the mark.  I ended up with 2 nines for the evening but that was good enough to put me in the shoot off.  Oh, there’s money on the line at these local events and I wanted the money. During the evening I’d gotten the feel back for the Goat and felt there’d be no more nines.

Using the Goat I’d need to shoot against, Steve, an ex-pro cover boy.  By that, he I mean he was once a celebrity archer who his many sponsors used in their marketing material.

The final bit for the evening was the shoot off.  After 6 arrows, the amount used for this shoot off, Steve and I were tied.  It would come down to one final arrow, closest to the center wins.  My arrow was 50% in the center X and 50% out.  His was 75% in the center X and 25% out.  Steve won.

When it was over (for me), Big John, a USA Archery Level 4 Coach, commented that I’d shot well.  I hadn’t.  The league is only 30 arrows, not 60.  I should have been able to hit the larger 10 ring 30 times, I managed it only 28 times.

Maybe if I’d used the Scott Longhorn Pro I might have performed better and maybe not.  It seems I end up with about the same scores regardless of what release I’m holding. Sure the True Fire didn’t work out, but in the past, using that insensitive release I’ve scored well. Either way, I remain more comfortable with the Goat.

Comfort is good, laziness with form isn’t. It is easy to get lazy using a thumb.