Mental Errors

During this season’s 3D circuit I have been focused on the IBO World Championship. Here in North Carolina the 3D archery format is ASA. This means there isn’t an equivalent IBO Pro Hunter Class. So, I’ve been shooting against archers with a bit more gear than I am using on my bow. My bow is equipped with a short stabilizer and fixed pins.

Over this few months I’ve had some good shots and made some dumb mistakes. The dumb mistake I repeated this weekend. The original error was a shot I knew I could hit. The target was a coyote, something I shoot often, that was 35 yards out. My 35-yard pin and my 45-yard pin are both yellow.

I lined my yellow pin up on the center of that coyote and let ‘err rip. My arrow cleared that coyote by at least four feet. Wrong yellow pin. Opps.

The second dumb mistake was a repeat of the first only this time on a mountain lion. I have a mountain lion on my practice range. I shoot it all the time. This particular shot was 34 yards. My red pin is set for 30 yards, my yellow for 35. I carefully lined up my top green pin (20 yards) and my second pin (the red) and shot the mountain lion for 25 yards. My arrow slid neatly under the target.

In both cases I was close on seeing the yardage. In both circumstances we were past the mid-point of the shoot and I was beginning to mentally drift. Both shots cost me points. Both were mental errors.

On average including the two misses my mean score per target is 9.85. Other archers (n=13) shooting at similar distance, the winners only, averaged 0.7 points per target more than me. The range for winners (top scores per tournament at the 45/50 yard max range) was 206 – 218.

This isn’t as bad as it sounds – I almost never shoot for the 12 rings. If I hit the 12 it is a lucky miss of the center 10. The center ring in IBO is an 11 and because my training is aimed at the IBO, their main 3D shoot of the year, I have been practicing for that tournament. It is also not as good as it sounds because I don’t know the number of times I might have scored an 11 versus a 10 under IBO rules.

After August I am putting my scope and long stabilizer back on my bow. Having one point to align with the target, so long as my yardage isn’t off, might end up paying higher dividends. Statistically, one point more would be great.

Stinking up the range

When Brenda and I were first married she did my laundry. That lasted about 5 years when I offered to wash my own dirty clothes. The offer wasn’t because I am such a nice guy and wanted to do my part of the domestic chores; she kept losing my socks.   In the thirty years since, when I’ve washed and dried my clothes I’ve never lost a sock. However, there are other laundry matters where I have failed. One of my washing and drying short falls became apparent this past weekend shooting at the Lenoir County Archers ASA Qualifying 3D competition.

IMG_3898
Even though we got on the course early, it was already backed up

I have a simple policy regarding laundry. Essentially, if it fits in the washer the requirements for a load of clothes is complete. I do not raise any issue of prejudice based on color. Dark and light apparel are washed together. All receive the same treatment, cold water only, detergent nearest to reach, and never any bleach. For 30 years, this approach has served me with only an occasionally noticeable flaw. That flaw is I sometimes forget I’ve put clothes in the washer.

For example, on Thursday I may discover my clothes are in the washer. Then, I can’t remember for certain when I washed them. They get a sniff test and if the wad of nearly dry clothes doesn’t smell sour, they’re probably good for the dryer. Even a minor sour smell can be fluffed out by a dryer.

IMG_3899
We had some good shots, 2 twelves and 2 tens on this one.

In fact, the dryer has salvaged many loads of slightly off sniff clothes. When the drying is done the smell is most of the time barely noticeable. In the winter months any lingering foul aroma is not a serious problem. In the hot humid summer days of the South, perspiration is a catalyst for throwing off the dryer embedded stench. That was exactly my problem yesterday.

The t-shirt I’d worn for shoot was one that had sat in the washer for an amount of time that was hard to determine. However, it passed, just by a small margin, the sniff test and was dried along with all the other contents from the washer. After drying, all the clothes, t-shirt included, seemed okay, again by a slight margin.

The problem on the range became noticeable after only 3 targets. It was very hot and humid day. I was sweating like the pig that knows it’s dinner. At the third stake I began to notice the earlier olfactory mistake in judgment.

IMG_3900
There is a standing black bear at the end of this lane. We faced some long shots on this range. I guessed this at 47 yards for a 10.
IMG_3902
Finally on the road to home

Had I been alone I wouldn’t have been too concerned. But, people surrounded me. When saying hello and shaking hands I’d lean into the hand extension stretching my arm and keeping my shirt and reek as far back from the unsuspecting nose distal to the approaching hand. While waiting for a stake to clear I’d keep my distance from the other people in my group.

By the time we reached the mid-point of the range the fog around me was so thick I considered leaving for the sake of the others. Now, no one said a word. Heck, no one else may have noticed. To be fair someone in a nearby group, it was crowded on the range and there was little to no wind, had what appeared to be a nonstop gastrointestinal disruption that at times was audible. In that matter, it wasn’t my concern and my funk seemed the more offensive.

Despite the concern over my aromatic malfeasance I did find moments to enjoy the course – one of the most challenging I’d shot. Even though I’d previously qualified for the ASA State Championships wanted to try for a different division. I don’t know the results, yet, as soon as we shot the final target I turned in my scorecard and high tailed it home for another shower and change of clothes.

Hot days in Elizabeth City

The short drive to compete on Saturday was great; the 2nd place was a disappointment. North Carolina has produced some great archers and you can’t expect too many wins shooting outside the 10 ring.

IMG_3859
A scenic hike up to registration

The course was tough with a lot of small targets in dark holes placed “way back out there.” The 20 targets took nearly four hours to shoot because of big groups during which the 94°F temperature along with high humidity was rough on a lot of people. I wasn’t one of them.

IMG_3865
Brandon’s arrow sliced this tree and he still got a 8.

The temperature and humidity were fine for me. I simply blew a couple of shots I should have hit better which hurt at the end of the day. This next week I’ll be focusing on small dark targets in dark holes at 35+ yards.

IMG_3866
This little critter (I walked closer to take this picture after we pulled our arrows) was at 38 yards. It wasn’t the longest shot on the smallest target, in the darkest spot.

When this was all said and done,  it was great to see folks I’d missed for the past month.

Moving, Shooting, Racing and Missing a few Great Events! Go Ben Go!

For the past four days we’ve been packing up our house in Easton, MD to make the permanent move to Hertford, NC. Hertford is the closest major “town” (2- traffic lights) but we’re actually in a smaller community, New Hope. Some of the local here refer to it as No Hope.

Unknown
Downtown Hertford

Because of all the packing and moving, which isn’t over, I’ve not shot in four days. I am feeling a bit antsy to get out and shoot. While in Easton I was able to get in some nice early morning running, but no cycling, swimming or shooting. Moving gets into the middle of the day and messes everything up.

When I finally had a chance to check out my emails, back in NC,  and review this website I read a comment from Ben that he and some other archers are doing the Ironman Timberman 70.3 in August. Ben invited me to join then in the race. Oh, the pain of it!

images-5
70.3, my favorite distance to race

Timberman is one of the 70.3 races (I’ve done 11 at that distance) I haven’t done. 70.3 miles is a distance I really enjoy. I checked and discovered the race is still open, which means I could sign up and compete. It is killing me not to enter. However, the IBO World Championship is the week before and to do both I’d probably just stay in New York and Connecticut for the time prior to the IBO through the Ironman event.

August is also when my kids and grandkids are coming to visit us in NC. You know, I’d love to do all of the races and tournaments. Sadly this year I have to miss a few fun competitions. I am just going to have to be envious in 2015. Good luck Ben and please keep in informed. I’ll enjoy hearing about your Ironman adventure. Next year my friends, next year!

IMG_0790
Stay calm, there’s always another race

Good Day in Plymouth, NC

Good day in Plymouth.  Set a PR at a max distance of 45 yards using pins. Starting to get the hang of the new bow. Lots of 12s and 10s. Next step, all 12s.

x. IMG_3616 IMG_3617IMG_3615

During the tournament I wore my Garmin Forerunner 310XT.  The distance walked over the course was 1.38 miles in about 1 hour and 45 minutes.  Often it takes longer to complete the 20 shots at 20 targets but this day I ended up on the range early.  It is a bit like mountain bike racing or trail running.  Get into the woods first and fast and you’ll end up with a good time over the course. In today’s case a fast time and a good score.

Thrill in the Hills3
Yes, this race was cold, wet and muddy.

May 9th Beaufort County Archers’ 3D Shoot

IMG_3594
Despite the earlier start time for the shoot, I awoke as usual

Saturday was another 3D tournament at the Beaufort County Archers Club near Washington, NC. With tropical storm Ana headed our way the shoot start time was moved up an hour earlier. A lot of people stayed home thinking they’d at a minimum get rained on. In that, at least, they were correct.

Living on the coast of North Carolina we’re going to be hit by hurricanes. Tropical Storm Ana didn’t reach hurricane force. However, when it passes over house today it will be a tropical depression. On Saturday Ana was only a slight nuisance and brought a bit of rain and wind.

During the tournament we got sprinkled on twice and soaked once. Fortunately for our group the downpour coincided with the final target. We rushed to the clubhouse and by the time we reached it the rain had stopped. Everyone was dry within a short time.

IMG_3591
I noticed a few bear tracks in the mud and fed a lot of mosquitos

I shot with pins and my new Elite 35 for the first time. The max distance for me, in this event, is 45 yards. I did better on the first 10 than the second. When I left for home there remained others on the range that could push me out of first. Scores aren’t yet posted, so I’ll have to wait for the results.

Rest and Review

Thursday was an off day. I’ve been shooting a lot while trying to hit the target with my new bow. It has been a challenge – one that I’ve not yet surmounted.

Taking the day off is always stressful. If you’re competitive you may understand. It’s easy to fall into the thinking that more is better, when in fact a day off is a necessity.

Because I didn’t shoot on Thursday,  I had time to review my progress as an archer. Scores, form, sponsorship, financial breakdown and equipment maintenance are on the list of items I consider or look over when taking a break from the physical aspect of the sport.

My summary  made a few things clear: I’m going to need to add the long stabilizers and scope to compete for money. I need more sponsors. I need to win more and bigger events.

IBO World Championship 2015

I received my “Official Invitation” to compete at the IBO World Championship in the mail yesterday. It is a leap going from amateur to pro not only in the distance to the target but the price to compete.

My options for qualifying meant shooting as a Master (amateur), Senior Pro without restriction in stabilizers, sights, etc., or in the pro hunter class. The IBO doesn’t have a pro class for Masters. Their senior pro age begins at 50. I chose, this year, to try qualifying in the pro hunter class.IMG_3549

The advantage is that I shoot most frequently with the equipment used for the hunter class. The downside is that there doesn’t seem to be sub-sets for age. The age doesn’t disturb me, as much is the number of competitors that can qualify in what could be a large group.

The price is another big jump – nearly $100.00 more than shooting as an amateur. Still at $170.00 to enter the price is a lot less than an Ironman event. Ironman events range from $650.00 to $725.00 just to enter. But, at least in archery I stand a chance to win my money back.

Shooting in Toccoa, Georgia

When I travel for reasons that aren’t primarily related to competitive shooting I look for a tournament that can be tied to the trip. This trip to Georgia was for my oldest grandson’s birthday. Turning 5 he’ll point out that he’s no longer a little kid. I’d make plans to enjoy a birthday party and find a shoot.

IMG_3527
Sean in control of his celebration

In Georgia, aside from cake, ice cream and presents there was boating, fishing, trail riding by mountain bike and ATV, and a lot of archery. It’s great shooting there. The range I’ve set-up is surrounded by trees and forest and has very little wind. Back in North Carolina there’s wind everyday – the price paid for living on the coast.

Before going back to my home state I asked around in search of a 3D tournament on March 26th. Big John Chandler came through recommending a contest only 63 miles away from the lake house in Tignall. The 3D shoot was being put on by the “Soul Hunters”.

IMG_3135
“Big John” is a man that can be relied upon for help

I’ve competed in a number of “Soul Hunter” events in Elizabeth City and thought “Soul Hunters” was some sort of religious franchise. I learned from Wolfie Hughes that he’d come up with the name “Soul Hunters” and the group in Elizabeth City had asked if they too might use it.

Wolfie, at first glance, doesn’t come across as a ‘softie’. But, talking with the man I quickly learned that his manly-man appearance covers a big heart. He’s sincere about what his group is doing and agreed to share the name “Soul Hunters” with the group in North Carolina.

IMG_3534
Wolfie Hughes – has a heart of gold

I’d spoken with Wolfie by phone prior to making the trip to Georgia to make certain that their 3D event was on and to get directions. The directions were a bit cryptic but after a couple of driving misses I made it to the range.

The group in Georgia rents space from the Lake Russell Wildlife Management to set-up their range and run their shoot. The range is breathtakingly beautiful. The course was in full spring foliage and far from flat. On the coast where I shoot a lot it’s nearly exclusively flat. Here everything was up or downhill. Georgia is one of those states that include an Atlantic Coast line, mountains in the north, and flat land in the middle. North Carolina is similar but I’ve yet to make a shoot on the western hilly part of that state.

IMG_3533
Great location for a 3D shoot

After I arrived at the event and paid my registration fee I took several warm-up shots while doing what I always do – hunt for a party of shooters I can join. Today, that wasn’t really necessary. Before I could even ask, Dwayne and Patti invited me to shoot with them.

IMG_3531
Dwayne and Patti made be feel as if I’d known them for decades

Both are good archers and preparing for upcoming ASA events in Alabama. Dwayne works for Georgia Power and Patti is a chiropractor and a former exercise physiologist. She noticed my Ironman tattoo and that started an interesting conversation.

It turned out that Patti had also done an Ironman as well as adventure racing. She did endurance sports until she broke her knee. Today she focuses on archery.

IMG_3530
The three of us, Patti, Dwayne and I, had many tight groups .

I really enjoy traveling around and meeting other athletes. In 3D archery there’s time to talk between stakes. During indoor events, talking is a bit too distracting for me. But, outside in the woods, the pace is more relaxed. The folks I met in Toccoa at this tournament were welcoming as are most native Georgians.

I enjoy shooting everywhere I compete. But, I really love coming home to shoot. Being back in Georgia is different than going to others states. There’s a feeling I get when I’m home, I suppose I’ve got red clay in my blood. No matter what, it was great to finish this trip with an archery tournament in Georgia.