Some differences between city life and country living

Living in a city is okay. I’d done it and found it enjoyable. Living in the country is good as well. There are obvious differences.

When I write that I’ve lived in a city I mean in the heart of the city. When I lived in Atlanta I was near Buford Highway, inside the parameter, but in 1976 not the center. Later, living in Kennesaw, GA it was a little like living in the country, however, by the time I lived there, mid 90’s, Kennesaw was the suburbs for Atlanta. A good example of the heart of a city was when I lived in Cleveland, Ohio. There I lived at 12th and Euclid, pretty much the SA Node of the city.

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Hertford, NC

When I write that I live in the country I don’t mean suburbs. From my home in North Carolina, the closest town, Hertford, is 14 miles away. Hertford has a population of 2176, about that of a large apartment complex in Atlanta.

City life was fun. There was always something to see and do. If you don’t mind crowds and have patience with traffic it’s a good life. Riding a bicycle can be a challenge, but there is always a path to follow. Shooting a bow means an indoor range or driving to a club outside the city limits. IMG_3334

In the country there is also a lot to see and do. The scenery and activities are different from a city. Riding a bicycle is easier – there are a lot less cars. In fact, during my ride of 20 miles yesterday only 2 cars and one truck passed me.

Another country life advantage is that if I want to shoot all I need do is step out of my front door. In fact, I can shoot from my front porch at two sets of targets. It certainly makes practice convenient. Other unique advantages to where I live is I can fish and crab from my bulkhead or off my dock. And, if inclined, I can hunt from a tree stand after a 4-minute walk from my house into the woods.

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The down side is if we need anything that has to be purchased I’m making a long drive in the truck or car. Despite this very slight inconvenience, I find living in the country is generally better. If I need to get back to a city, I’ll make the drive knowing I’ll be back in the woods or on the river momentarily.

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Éirinn go brách

It was practically hot this St. Patrick’s Day, 80° F (27°C). It felt great and I was outside all day. This is a summary of my play.

It started with an hour and a half of shooting a 3D deer from 20 to 50 yards distance. Afterwards I wrote for a bit, had lunch, and then napped under several large oak trees in my yard. Following my break I checked my email for directions to this weekend’s 3D tournament, which had arrived. A nice surprise among my email was a message letting me know how much I’d won in last week’s competition. Not a lot of money but better than a sharp stick in the eye.

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Then it was time to go kayaking. Brenda, my wife, and I paddled from our house several miles up river. We paddled into the wind going out so we’d have a tail wind coming home. In the smaller creeks that are bordered by trees wind isn’t a factor. Out on the Little River, the wind can kick up waves. In fact, on the trip home we had small waves as the wind had begun to increase. The waves weren’t high enough to surf a kayak but definitely sufficient for bit of a lift and push.

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Once the kayaks were stored I headed out on my bike. I only rode 20 miles since the kayaking had eaten into my cycling time.

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Cycling merged into my afternoon archery session and I practiced for another hour before heading back to the river to toss toys for River, my lab, to retrieve.

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The day wound down with a dinner of corn beef and cabbage, a St. Patrick’s Day tradition for our family. Éirinn go brách

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Another New Week

On Monday, following a competition, I reset my week in preparation for the next event. By starting early, I have less wind to content with during morning archery practice. My second session in the afternoon is almost always windy. That is also the time I train on my bike where I look forward to the tailwinds.

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Getting out of bed early has its rewards

Winter is slowly giving way to spring and yesterday was a warm 70° F (21°C). My upcoming archery events are all 3D and practice during the calm morning was excellent. Because I’d ramped up to a shoot on Sunday, I only practiced an hour for each Monday session to promote active recovery. Wednesday is my long day where I’ll spend 5-6 hours shooting before tapering for the next event.

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Three good at 50 yards – I’ll take these any day.

I don’t simply go out and shoot for same set amount of time on every day. Neither do I shoot a set amount of arrows. I have light days and heavy days. I’ve set up my archery training similar to how I’d set up a race-training plan. The archery plan includes other fitness activities.

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This 1997 LiteSpeed remains my favorite road bike

The main non-archery fitness activity on Monday was a moderate bike ride with a few harder efforts. I didn’t get on the LiteSpeed until 4:30 PM and it was windy. Wanting to enjoy a moderate to fast effort I rode into the wind until my turn around at 15 miles. The ride was 15 miles of windy work followed by 15 miles of pure exhilaration pushing my biggest gears. The ride home was 12 minutes faster than the ride out to give some idea of the resistance I faced cycling out followed by the push during the return.

My afternoon archery session had been strictly for amusement. The wind blowing off the river meant shooting any other way than for entertainment would be a frustrating endeavor. I have one 3D target in the yard and I shot it from all sorts of distances and angles. My wife watching me shoot my foam deer at 40 yards challenged me to, “Shoot it in the eye.” The challenge was irresistible. I hit it about a centimeter high on the nose and nearly lost an arrow. I’ll ‘probably’ not try that a second time. But, it was fun.

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Opps

Recalling Mondays when working the medical profession I recognize how my effort during that career paid off. Today, I work at archery and sports with the same determination and enjoyment. I’ve never dreaded Mondays. Monday is the day to reset and begin fresh.

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The ZXT

The Mathews ZXT isn’t their top shelf product. I bought this one for hunting. The price was right and its size meant carrying it in the woods and up a tree stand would be easier than a longer heavier bow. The reviews on the product for 3D competition aren’t the best I’ve read and the bow speed isn’t the fastest. But, I really like this bow.

IMG_1379While practicing with my Mathews Apex 7  I felt my arrow placement was faltering. My ZXT was in my truck so I left the indoor range and got that bow. I decided to shoot it for a bit to see how it felt.

I took a few shots to sight it – I hadn’t shot it indoors weeks.  Once I got it sighted I took ten shots on a 5-spot.

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Every arrow was in the X or cutting the line. Not a bad light quiet bow for a decent price.  Later, I learned from an experienced bow technician that Ider wheel (cam) on the top limb of the Apex 7 is leaning a bit off center.

General Training

I’ve mentioned that I ride a bike, run and swim. I do one or more of these activities as part of my training 5 days a week. Archery is practiced 6 days a week, including a day where I compete. I reserve one day for rest and recovery.

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Rest is important

Exercising to stay in shape and promote health is a daily endeavor for me. I doubt I’ll race as often in the future as I did in the past. I’ll try to complete 5 to 10 races a year, which is plenty. These days, I race for the t-shirt. I’m frequently in the top 3 finishers in my age group and ahead of most in the overall. For, me at 60 years old, racing is more about the fun than the finish time. Archery is where I get my competitive fix. Archery isn’t as age dependent as many other sports.

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Race bibs and 3rd place medal from a few weeks ago

In archery I train five days a week and compete on the sixth day. I leave one day for recovery. On many days I shoot, then either run, ride, swim, or a combination of those activities.

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View along one of my training rides

Often, I run in the morning, then shoot, take a break, shoot some more then go for a bike ride. The result is I am outside a lot and stay in pretty good shape. Also being outside (versus sitting around indoors) and staying fit can help longevity in archery.

If you haven’t added a supplemental form of exercise to your archery training, give some consideration to incorporating a fitness program. In the long term you’ll be glad you did.

Paying Dues to the Wind

Shooting outside is almost always fun. There are days when cold, rain, snow, and wind make it more of a challenge. Today was one of those challenging days.

In my yard I have targets ranged up to 60 yards. The plan for today was to shoot at unmarked and marked distances from 20 to 50 yards. One look at the chop on the river was enough to tell me that training this morning was going to be rough.

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Early morning chop on the Little River

The 51°F temperature wasn’t bad; in fact it was pretty good even if a tad bit cool. It was the wind, as indicated by the turbulent surface of the Little River that was going to be a problem.

Wind constantly raging at 15 mph with gusts to 20 mph will rock your body and mess with your shots. On my range, at 40 – 50 yards there was nothing to block or in anyway inhibit the wind. As a result I held my maximum yardage to 35 yards.

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A Jolly Roger flag at 47 yards

The wind’s force blew my poorly balanced faux-deer over a time or two so I moved it to a secondary position. Here the fake deer had more support and I had better wind barriers.

Moving the deer to a bag-supported stance I banged its legs into the ground. From this area of my property I can shoot from my porch or near a storage building that lends protection from the non-stop wind.

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From that harbor the maximum distance is only 26 yards. Twenty-six isn’t a long, but I have made some poor 26-yards shots in the past. So, I worked this distance for about an hour.

I will always have wind to reckon with, it’s part dues paid to live on the Atlantic Coast. There are ways to deal with wind and it is a small price to pay to be on the water.

Man, it’s Cold!

The temperature here on the Little River was 28°F (-2°C) with winds blowing from 14 mph to 21 mph (22 kph to 34 kph). It felt like 17°F (-8°C) outside. Granted, this is warmer when compared to many places and there was no snow (there was ice). Nevertheless, it was nippy shooting outdoors.

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This duck didn’t seem to be enjoying the weather a whole lot.

Where we live the closest public indoor range is over an hour drive in cooperative traffic. The traffic along that drive, passing the Norfolk, Virginia maze of messed up roads, is never cooperative. The trip can easily become a 2 to 3 hour automotive crawl. My best option was to dress warm and practice on my property. I’d much rather be cold and outside than warm and stuck in a vehicle on the road.

From the direction I typically shoot, the range runs north to south. The wind was blowing from the north and there was no hiding from it. I moved the face of my target to aim from west to east and used one of my out buildings as a wind block. This worked just fine.

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In the distance is the target, beyond the orange and white bags on the right.

The problem to overcome remained the cold. There wasn’t anything do about the temperature. So, I dressed with as much clothing as possible without changing my form so much that it became a hindrance. That meant not wearing enough to stay warm for long.

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Range in the attic at Shore Sportsman in Easton, MD. Minutes from our home in Maryland.

On days like these I miss being 5 minutes away from an indoor range. I am also envious of the private indoor range just 15 minutes up the road. I ended up shooting, freezing, going inside, thawing, and repeating the process. The weather will eventually improve and I thaw fast. All the while, I kept in mind, Spring is just around the corner.

(You may question why I regularly convert from English measurements to metric. It’s because a large percentage of my readers live in countries that use the metric system. For them 28° is warm. )

Twelve Months of Putting It On the Line.

A complete year has passed since I began recording this adventure of archery and outdoor activities. During that time 84,846 people read 176,746 of the pages on this site. It also had 1,222,538 hits.

The average length of time people spend on the site is 3.1 minutes. That’s about the amount of time it takes to read a daily post. Eight percent (8%) of readers stayed on the site from 15 minutes to an hour. A small percentage (1%) has stayed on the site for over an hour.

I am pleased so many people are interested in archery and other outdoor activities. I am happier still you’ve been able to overlook my frequent editorial errors. I am also proud that several articles from this site have been reprinted and others are forthcoming in hard print.1

Thanks, again, for reading.

David

Reference:

1.) Lain, D: An Archer’s Day and In Trouble Again. North Carolina Bowhunter Magazine. Winter 2015 pp. 28-30.

Another cold and wet day in Georgia

It is cold here in Tignall, GA. Currently, it is 37°F (3°C) and sleeting. This weekend I’ve made plans to run a race on Saturday and compete in a 3D tournament on Sunday. The weekend weather forecast is for more cold and rain on both days.

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View from the deck.

In North Carolina, over in Raleigh, next weekend is the Dixie Classic 3D competition. I considered driving back to NC to compete in the Classic. Checking the weather at our place in Hertford, it is currently 27°F (-3°C) and snowing.

Maryland is colder. In Easton, the conditions are 19°F (-7°C), but it is sunny. Sunny or not, 19°F is too cold to really enjoy hours of outdoor archery practice – at least for me. You can bet I am not driving back to Maryland.

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Deck range showing the recent repair resulting from a pine tree mishap

I’ll stay put in Georgia and consider driving to Savannah. It is 42°F (6°C) there, but it’s raining. While I ponder driving on frozen roads, I can grab a bow and shoot it on the deck.

The deck provides a 15 yard covered range for practice. I can shoot awhile; go back into the house, thaw, and repeat the process. When the sleet and rain eases I’ll take a mountain bike out for a ride. The trails though woods won’t be slippery.

Sitting inside isn’t a lot of fun. I’ prefer being outside, even if for short excursions. Cold and wet is not ideal, but there are ways with which it can be dealt. For now, I need to deal.

Spending time with Big John

Big John Chandler is a USA Level 3 archery coach. He’s also an expert bow technician, an expert archer, and a good guy. I recently spent time with him at the Lake Oconee Golf and Archery in Eatonton, GA.

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My principal issue, when I made the appointment with John, was I wanted to shoot a larger diameter arrow using my more expensive bow. I’d been using smaller diameter arrows. A few other bow techs explained all I needed to do was adjust my sight to compensate for the variance in diameter and not worry about my D loop placement. Their enlightenment didn’t match what I’d been taught in my physics classes. Could it be that these bow techs were better informed in physics than my impressively credentialed college professors?

Arriving at John’s shop we talked a bit. Then he started me off with a simple paper tuning shot. I regret not taking a picture to have shared here. It was clear the arrow, one of the larger diameter arrows, was indeed shooting cocked up to the right and not just a little. My physics professors were vindicated.

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This Apex 7 looks like a toy in Big John’s hands

John took my bow and on closer examination discovered other equipment errors that frankly didn’t come as a surprise. He worked with me for three hours until satisfied that the bow was tuned as best as could be in the limited time available.

He’d work and then he’d watch me shoot. Then, he’d work some more and watch me shoot some more. Along the way he made observations and offered suggestions to improve my form.   The form errors were those mistakes easily noticed by an experienced coach. There was no debate from me regarding the adjustments he recommended.

The day sailed past and I needed to leave. It would have been nice to have stayed longer but I had to get home. Before I return to North Carolina I’ll try getting back to Eatonton to see if I can get some more of John’s time. It would be time well spent.