Wishing for more than one bow.

I had to switch arrows the other day. With only one bow, switching arrows means re-sighting the bow for the different arrows. Which, in turn for me, means shooting a block from various yardages from 20 to 50 yards in order to select a yardage tape that most closely interacts with the sight calibrations and the pre-printed yardage tape. It is a royal pain in the ass.

The process eats away at practice time.  It is slow and tedious.  There are  athletes that love fidgeting with their gear.  I stand apart from that crowd.

Some archers select 3 known yardages to measure against a tape. I use 7: 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 and 50. It can be done with three or so I’ve been told. Even better it can be done using a computer program to customize the yardage tape if you have access. I don’t have access to such technology.

The reason for the switch was an indoor 2D event in Elizabeth City, North Carolina at PGF Outdoors and Archery. Not knowing what they’d planned, whether they’d have all the paper animals pinned up at 20 yards or whether they’d have targets from 10 to 25 yards, I figured I might want to make some sight adjustment during the event. As it turned out, I missed the competition in order to attend a funeral.

Honestly, I could have probably done just as well having left the bow set up for indoor 18-meters and using slight elevation adjustments aiming the pin to compensate for any yardage variance.

When I raced bikes I had plenty of bikes. Two for mountain biking, two for track, three for triathlons, and seven road bikes. These bikes weren’t cheap. Heck, some of the wheels (or in the case of a single rear disk wheel) cost more than any compound bow on the market. My top end tri-bike, with its super components and racing wheels is a $10,000 rig. The thing is, I didn’t pay nearly that much for it. My most expensive bike, at today’s price of $12, 499.00, listed for $7000.00 in 2001 when I got it from Trek. I was on one of their racing teams so the price didn’t apply to me. Yet, I have only the one bow.

To be fair, there are two bows in my shed. One is the first real bow I bought. In my opinion it is un-shootable. It’s a Mathews Conquest Apex-7 now out of production. I understand a lot of archers were very successful with it. For some reason, that success never filtered over to me. I even sold that bow once and the new owner kept for a few months before returning it to me. His experience with the bow no better than mine. In fact, his time trying to shoot that bow led to enough frustration that he gave up the sport for a while. When he began shooting again he was using a traditional bow.

I’ve always maintained, from the day I bought that Mathews Conquest Apex 7, at full price, that it didn’t shoot right. To this day, I believe there is something not right with the bow. I frequently pull it down, shoot with it, and have some limited success.  It never lasts.  It was the only bow I had for competition for years. But, it never felt right. I took it to shop after shop seeking a remedy.  Most shops had little to offer.  Eventually I got a lukewarm confirmation from a Mathews dealer that the bow was somehow fouled, it was too late to return the bow to Mathews. The dealer was less interested in helping me with the Apex-7 than selling me a new Mathews bow in order to improve my game.

“Yes, this bow isn’t right”, shop’s technician.

“So, can you fix it,” me.

“No, Mathews has to do it and your bow is outside the warranty. You are better off buying this new Mathews bow.”

I did buy another bow, from a different shop.  My scores improved immediately.

After years of getting bikes for free or at cost it is hard to pay full price for any sports gear. I’ve still got cycling clothing in the original packaging that it was in when shipped to me. Teams gave me more than I’d ever use. But, it would be nice to have more than one bow.

Ideally, there would be one bow for field archery and 50-meters, one for indoor, and one for 3D and hunting. Ideally, they’d all stay sighted for the arrows used for each venue. All bows, of course, with the corresponding stabilizers and sights. That way, I could just grab one and shoot whatever venue I wanted or needed. You know, like hopping on the right bike for the occasion.

Perhaps, one day I’ll shoot a bow as well as I once peddled a bicycle. On that day, just maybe some bow manufacturer will take notice and who knows, I could end up with more than one bow. But, forking out money for more archery equipment simply rubs me the wrong way.

Personally, I think people who change their bow every six months are people wasting their money. That opinion is less likely to endear a bow manufacturer to my cause. Heck, I suffered with a somehow fouled bow for two years before I decided the poor scores couldn’t be entirely me. The new bow and immediate improvement was the validation to that 24-month debacle.

I’ve heard that the top professionals can shoot any bow. Sure I can shoot any bow. I suppose it has a lot to do with knowing your form and release. Either way, I’d still like more than one bow. But, remain tight fisted on my cash. As so, I’ll be frequently adjusting my sight to deal with a change in venue and arrow.