A Small Victory

The Georgia State / USA Archery Indoor 18-meter Championship where I competed, at Georgia Southern University, wasn’t too bad.  I didn’t win.  I ended in 3rd Place among the Senior Men’s category shooting an Olympic Recurve.

For those that don’t follow archery, men’s senior is 21 – 49 years of age.  If I’d entered using my age group allowance I’d been in the Master’s 60+ class. I’ve competed in both age groups shooting compound bow.

At Georgia Southern everyone inside the Georgia Southern Shooting Sports Education Center is required to wear a mask, a precaution against spreading the Covid-19 virus.  Since I am approaching 66 years old, a high risk group, shooting where masks are being worn seemed a better choice that the other location in Georgia where the competition was being held.

Some archers feel that a mask interferes with that shooting.  I don’t think wearing a mask is much of a problem.  Catching Covid-19 has a greater risk of being a problem and dropping a few points in archery because the mask got hung up in a bowstring.

Taking a 3rd place during a pandemic is just fine by me.  I am happy to be able to fine a safe environment where I can go play.

Taper

In nine days I’ll be heading to the Georgia State and USA Archery Indoor Championships. At the moment I am shooting like crap.

Over the past week or so my practice scores have been decreasing.  The volume of practice has been high.  Obviously, fatigue (hopefully) is a symptom of reaching a point of diminishing returns.

A friend of mine is an ex-pro golfer. He once said not to go into a tournament tired.

From past sport experience I understand that excessive fatigue can impact quality of performance.

With that in mind I’ve dropped my daily arrow count o 140 arrows broken into two practice sessions.  Still my scores aren’t competitive.  However, they are creeping up, again.

This afternoon during the 4th quarter of my practices my groups began getting tighter.  I’d jumped from 8.45 points per arrow to 8.8 points per arrow. Then, on the final five ends the average increased to 9.125, closer to where I expect to be shooting at this point with my recurve.

It was hard to stop shooting, but to continue deviated from the plan.  There’s nine days left before I hit the road for the tournaments.  That is a realistic taper.

Since I began shooting an Olympic recurve 186 days ago I’ve taken 49 days for compete recovery.  I understand that shooting a recurve isn’t something that can be picked up over night.  Still, I’ve managed, starting with a lower volume of arrows per day and working my way up, to shoot 16,728 arrows. That’s an overall average of 122 arrows per day.  I’d peaked at 1000 arrows per week but have now dropped to 700 (allow two days break per week at this point) per week.

It feels like a huge drop in volume.  I hope it works.

I am runner and not afraid

I’ve been a runner all my life.  Nike had an ad that read, “Athletes Run.” I’ve done and still do a lot of athletics.  So, I still run.  Runner’s World, a periodical, sends me their magazine.  I look forward tor receiving it.

What I find is the magazine is primarily a long list of printed commercials.  I rarely see any new gizmo that I’d purchase.  There is often a pearl or two in an issue of Runner’s World.  Along with those pearls there is some really dumb advertising.

Now, you know Runner’s World doesn’t produce the content of an ad. They accept payment and run the ad.

In the current edition, Volume 56 Number 1 on page 21 there is an ad for CBD oil to relieve pain.  I was interested and read the ad.  In the third paragraph, last line, in association with comments referring to the amount of CBD on a product’s label and the amount contained in the product the writer explains there may be differences.  In such that the amount of CBD oil on the label was not the amount in the product 70% of the time. There was no further explanation.

This might mean that the variance is 1% of 10%.  It wasn’t quantified. But, what caught my attention was sentence on the subject, “And, as a consumer, that’s terrifying!” (Exclamation included in the text)

Reading those words I shook my head.  Clearly, the marketing communication group that came up with the ad was void of anyone that had ever experience terror. If this causes someone to be terrorized they probably need to remain behind locked doors.

Curious, I looked further into the terrifying claim:

US Pharmacopeia and emerging standards from medicinal cannabis industry leaders, a ±10% allowable variance was used for product labeling (ie, accurately labeled = 90%-110% labeled value, underlabeled >110% labeled value, and overlabeled <90% labeled value).(1)

Research that tested CBD oil found the mean variance was 10.34: and the median was 2.76%.  (1)

When I’d  finished reading the ad I had remained calm.  I completed my paper work, flushed and moved forward with the day.

Reference:

(1) Marcel O. Bonn-Miller, PhD,1 Mallory J. E. Loflin, PhD,2 Brian F. Thomas, PhD,3 Jahan P. Marcu, PhD,4 Travis Hyke, MS,5 and Ryan Vandrey, PhD, Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online. JAMA. 2017 Nov 7; 318(17): 1708–1709.

Published online 2017 Nov 7. doi: 10.1001/jama.2017.11909

 

 

 

That Was Awful

It was 37°F when I practiced this morning.  Cold by my standards.  The cold was something the wind was something else.

The wind was blowing so bad, gusts up to 30 mph, that it blew out my ‘Mr. Heater’ outdoor propane heater, repeatedly.  I’d see arrows kick their fletched end when caught by a gust – at 18 meters!

For the afternoon practice it had warmed to 39°F.  To compensate with the warmth the wind picked up.

When I came inside from practice my wife felt my hands.  She then said, “You must have wanted to shoot pretty bad.”

Cold and Rainy Practice

I can take the cold or I can take the rain but the cold and the rain is hard to take. This morning’s practice was both cold and rainy.  Practice was still practice.

If you’ve done a few outdoor archery competitions you may have been caught in the rain. Shooting in the rain is a condition that will happen if you enter enough archery tournaments that take place outside.  Archery doesn’t stop for rain.

Archery does stop for lightening.  Running around with a lightening rod in your hand can lead to shocking outcomes.  If the rain isn’t a storm that causes the judges to call the event and you want to finish you have to shoot through the weather.

It is a good idea to practice in the rain.  Typically, the rain is associated with outdoor distances.  Practice at the moment, here, is 18-meters.  So, I could have skipped the rain since it is unlikely I’ll ever face rain during an indoor tournament.

Nevertheless, I shot through this morning’s rain.  It wasn’t stormy weather just a constant light rain.  It actually became kind of fun.  The temperature was around 40°F so even the cold wasn’t horrible.

Sometimes is can be fun to break a daily pattern by practicing in less than optimal conditions.  Despite the conditions this morning I admittedly enjoyed the session. This afternoon, according the local weather report, should be dry.

Another Winter Day

I was hard to shoot today.  The weather was the matter.  It was cold and windy.

I’ve got a nice outdoor propane heater I stand near while shooting in the cold. It doesn’t get used until the temperature is below 40.  At 40 with the right amount of clothing it isn’t bad without the heater.  However, that right amount of clothing makes archery difficult.

Today I wore nearly the right amount of clothing and used the heater to compensate.  Had it not been for the wind 18-meter practice would have been fine.

Days like this it is easier to stay indoors. If we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic with unrealized promises of a vaccine no doubt I’d have been practicing on an indoor range. Alas, I remain antibody free and susceptible.

So, that means practicing in the cold, wind and at times rain.

It is Cold, Again

Like last winter and the winter before this winter is cold.  Unlike the prior winters I am not headed to an indoor range to practice.  The ranges where I’ve practiced in the past are mask free at the peak of a pandemic.  It is easier to warm up after practice than it is to recover from lung disease.

With that in mind I head outside and stand next to an outdoor propane heater trying to stay warm while not setting my self on fire.  The colder it becomes the layers of clothes I wear.  The more clothes I wear the lower my scores become.

It is a balance to wear the right number of layer and still be able to clear my bowstring on the release.

3 O’Clock 10 followed by a 3 O’Clock 10

This is Georgia so I know warmer weather isn’t that far away.

Cold!

While running the trails this morning it was cold, 24°F.  By the time I was outside shooting it had warmed up to 27°F.  When I finished shooting it had warmed to freezing.

I’d worn all the clothing possible and still be able to draw my bow.  The apparel wasn’t enough to stay remotely close to warm and too much for decent arrow placement.

An hour of cold was enough for the morning practice.

Arrows, Arrows, Arrows….

It didn’t seem like a wise use of money to fork out big bucks for high-end equipment when switching to an Olympic recurve from compound bows.  (145 days ago) Why do that when the compound bows were in the $800.00 range purchased new. It wasn’t as if prior archery gear had been high-end.

When it came to high-end gear the nicest pieces of equipment associated with the compound bows had been the sight and release.  Those were high quality Axcel/TruBall products.

The arrows shot using the compound bows had been purchased and prepared by folks that, at the time, seemed to know better.  Two out of three times their suggestions were correct.  For the remaining third the arrows are too stiff.

Some ‘expert’ on YouTube presented a video suggesting that spine calibration is a myth so long as the arrows shot are fletched.  The video he posted was an experiment where he fired off sets of arrows of various spine strength using fletched and bare shaft arrows.  He was shooting a recurve bow. I repeated his experiment.  My results yielded an opposing result.

I’d hoped for similar results.  I’ve got some nice arrows, those among the good 2/3 of my moderately priced arrows and wanted to upgrade the Easton 1000 arrows I’ve been shooting with the Olympic recurve.  What I found is that the stiffer more expensive arrows didn’t bend properly and the tail end of those arrows hit my riser.  The flex between nodes simply wasn’t flexing properly. I was hoping to save some money by avoiding the purchase of new arrows.

The Easton 1000s are excellent beginner’s arrows.  I’ve won two State Championships using a $249.00 Olympic recurve in the Men’s Senior Division shooting those $5.00 arrows.  However, I know the $5.00 arrows are holding me back when it comes to a few extra points. (For now there is nothing wrong with the inexpensive bow)

The tip of the Easton 1000s comes included along with fletching for the five bucks.  The tip is 65 grain, which is okay.  The fletching is a bit tall again okay for indoor tournaments.  Okay is not great in competition.  The set up does mean being just a hair off on form and the shot will be completely uncompensated.  In words too often associated with archery gear – these arrows are not very forgiving.

Part of the lack of forgiveness is that the spine of an Easton 1000 peaks at around 29 pounds.  As I’ve improved I’m pulling 34 pounds. On a 3-spot with the gear at hand I’m averaging 9 points per arrows without a clicker (I don’t have one yet). I believe with a stiffer spine and more weight on the tip I’d get my average per arrow up a little.  The current fletching is dragging on my rest and that too can be improved by shooting a smaller profile vane.

If I cut the 1000s a bit that would stiffen the spine. But, adding a heavier pile weakens the spine.  Changing the fletching isn’t an issue aside from I know it needs to be done and simply haven’t done it.

The best bet is to purchase new arrows with the correct spine, cut them to the correct length, add the correct pile weight to compensate for the cut and have low profile vanes.

Victory Archery, a maker of arrows, does have a moderately priced arrow that, per their spine calculators, meets the spec for my current shooting. Lancaster Archery does have them on clearance (the 2019 version).  Even so, spine, nocks, vanes will still run around $250.00.

My estimate of points per arrows gain for the $250.00 investment is 0.18 points per arrow against a vertical 3-spot.* It seems like just a little but it really is a lot of gain.  I just hate spending the money right now. (It also might help to adjust the tiller to positive versus neutral)

* calculation based on distance from center, 60 shots, measured in the yellow only. (45 our of 60 arrows. 15 red arrows attributed to form errors and dropped) Distance mean variance on average times spine weakness estimated percentage.  (1.6 X 0.11 = 0.176 rounded up) 3-spot, outdoor, no wind – when it is windy all bets are off.

The NFAA Indoor Nationals

As I approached the site for my shot at the NFAA Quarantine Edition of the Indoor Nationals all I could think was “shit”.  There wasn’t a mask in sight.

The tournament venue for me was in Gwinnett County, Georgia.  That county has the second most Covid-19 cases in the state, around 50,000.

I’ll be 66 in a few months.  My age group is one of the harder hit clusters.

I had a mask with me.  My mask protects others by reducing my expiratory ‘plum.’

The others in this case, other archers, seemed not to care they might be asymptomatic.  Their ‘plums’ are harmful to me.

I left. I was and remain disappointed.