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.

Moving and Practice Don’t Mix Well

We’re moved into our new home in Good Hope, Georgia. During the first seven days here we: unpacked, had a small barn build, had a fence (14,000 square feet of fencing) installed, had the pantry, laundry room, and master closets stripped and rebuilt, bought two TVs, installed one TV on a wall, got a new washer and dryer, got Dish TV set up, and finally got the internet. We, also, got our Georgia driver’s licenses. The house looks good and there are still more changes scheduled or being planned.

All of this moving activity has impacted archery practice. Pretty much eliminating practice. That’s not good considering Sunday is the Georgia State Indoor Championship. I’ll shoot it regardless of the lack of practice. The tournament is so close, 32 minutes away; it would be a crime to not show up.

I am looking forward to having everything in place here at the new house. That’s will lead the way to some order and routine. Until then, I’ll rely on my base preparation and hope to not miss a target.

Working Hard and Looking Like a Model

We’re fix’in to move. Nearly everything I own is boxed packed and disassembled. Where are the movers? They’re not late; I’d hoped they’d be early. So, here I sit, bored with nothing to do other than waste brain cells scanning the Internet of anything at all of interest.

During that scan I uncovered a common theme among a select group of individuals. The more apparent it become the more comical is seemed. Collectively, I’ll judge and label them as Posers.

In cycling we have a similar group. In cycling we refer to them as “Freds”. A Fred is that cyclist that has all the gear; wears expensive Pro-team replica uniforms, has watched every Tour de France, and is eager to toss out self-worth at a moments notice. The only flaw with Fred is Fred can’t ride.

Sure, Fred can peddle a bicycle without crashing. That is unless Fred happens to be in a group of other riders and has not yet been dropped off the back of the pack. Fred in a bunch of riders is a serious hazard. Not that other riders worry for long, Fred is gone soon after the pace begins to climb.

In archery there is a counterpart to Fred. These are the individuals I refer to here as Posers.

As is scanned and scrolled over the Internet these Posers began to pop. Common threads began to catch my eye. The first suspicion was how often  these Posers had so many absolutely pristine photographs of themselves.

Admittedly, I am jealous. Online, in my case, the photographs are awful. Those I discovered of me reek from nerd or geek to sweaty, snotty nosed, and disheveled. How is it that any image of me seems totally without the composed grace of a Poser?

Taking a deeper dive into the Poser, I sought remedy to my shamed ego. Then, another clue surfaced. The Poser images seemed to have been professionally captured.

I confuss that professional photographers, mostly lining some race course, have taken a number of pictures of me. I have shamelessly posted them here and on social media. I am not without sin.

The difference is that, unlike the Poser, I was mostly unaware of the shot being taken. Occasionally, I’d see a photographer on a racecourse and I knew she was snapping pictures. Sadly, my awareness was often too late to “fix” myself up. I’d round a turn in a race and there’d sit someone with a fancy camera and ‘Press’ name tag. There I’d be with a grimace, snotty nose, and glazed eyes.

The Poser photographs are of people composed, clear-eyed, sporting perfect skin, and wide smiles with sprinkling teeth. Occasionally, they’re emitting a stern look almost philosophical in nature. It is as if the Poser is somehow trying to portray a spiritual appearance before or after something meaningful that is about to or has just occurred. Seeing such sincere expressions on other athletes made me glad I’ve only once been digitally frozen in time while taking a “natural break” on the side of a road. (Lake Placid Ironman, 2011 – urinating next to a bush. Posterior view only. Professional Photographer, Larry Ten Ecyk. Thanks, Larry.)

The final clue of the Poser that pushed me over the top of this ridiculous barrage of posing is make-up. Upon close inspection it was obvious many of the Posers are wearing make-up!

Wearing make-up to compete. Wearing make-up to shoot. Wearing make-up to hunt! (Women and men) Yes, we’ve seen those Olympic sprinters lining up for a 100-meter sprint wearing make-up. We’ve noticed their beauty and grace. We are aware they are wearing make-up. They are also being paid millions of dollars to run great and if they look good while doing so, fine. Pay me millions (even thousands) to shoot a bow, run or ride a bike, and someone can slap make-up on my face. (It won’t help; I’ll still sweat it off, grimace, blow snot and look bad in general.)

These Internet Posers aren’t Olympians. They seem to be individuals with more money and ego than necessary. They engage professional photographers and make-up artists to capture them posing as make believe athletes. Certainly, there are Posers that look good doing whatever it is they are trying to look good at while doing it. I remain apart from that group.

Two years ago a photographer was accompanying a newspaper reporter at an archery tournament where I was competing.  The reporter wanted a picture of me to use with his article and asked permission before setting his photographer loose upon me.  I agreed and the photographer followed me around doing gyrations with her camera while clicking away pictures.

That day the news duo showed me the picture they’d selected to run with the newspaper article.  The article ran, the paper’s editor had chosen to exclude the picture of me. Again, my fifteen minutes denied.

Perhaps, Posers think the image of them looking good doing something athletic will encourage Nike to send them a contract. It won’t. If you’re good enough Nike will find you. Should that happen you won’t need to worry about make-up or looking good. You’ll just need to be great at your sport.

Archery manufacturers don’t seem quite as discriminating as Nike. Hunting apparel companies, well… a nice face and body can lead to an income as a model. Heck, is many cases, when it comes to archery or hunting a beer belly is not a disadvantage.

In fact, Posers seem to be play-acting as models in hope of becoming an outdoor adventure model. Certainly for some it has worked. To them I say, “Good on you!” From what I’ve scanned online today, among Posers many aren’t seeing what I’ve seen. All of them, however, are better looking than me. At least, they are more photogenic. And overall, no sweat, dirt, grimace, or run away boogers.

38 Hours

We’re nearly all packed for our move to Georgia. The movers load our furniture and boxes on Friday. They can’t get our “stuff” to us until the 22nd through 24th of January. Really bad timing for archery.

We’d anticipated being in our new home by the end of December. Hurricane Irma put the builders behind schedule. The time infringement is now on archery practice and a few major archery tournaments coming up in February. Oh well, that’s how it goes.

We’re still in our house here in North Carolina for the next 38 hours or so. There’s not a dish unpacked. We’re eating off the china we in our Winnebago for camping. Today, 100% of my archery equipment was packed. I shot three arrows at 18-meters before I disassembled my bow – hit a 10 and two nines. Yesterday, when no one was noticing I slipped away for a decent practice. But, that’s it for a while.

Hopefully, I can get some practice in while we’re in Georgia waiting to moving into our new house. We’ll be staying with our daughter and her family until our “stuff” arrives. She’s only 10 miles away from the new place. And she’s close to Ace Archery in Social Circle. There may be a number of, “Has anyone seen David?” “No, and his truck is gone,” moments while we wait out the arrival of our possessions.  Then, there’s bond to be a, “Where have you been,” inquiry.

The house here still hasn’t sold. We had two offers this past week but both were too weak to accept. The second was close and we referred a counter offer to the potential buyer.

Until it sales, I plan to continue to come back and forth in the camper and enjoy some trips to the Little River and the Outer Banks. Who knows, if it isn’t too much of a burden to make the drive we may just keep North Carolina house as a vacation home. It is why we bought it in the first place.

In the meantime, I am anxious to get archery practice back on track.