Wind to My Back

The wind has been awful out here on the Little River. I can’t remember a day without white caps. It makes archery practice a challenge. Early in the mornings the wind is typically not so bad. That has not been the case for a while. Cycling is good in one direction.

Remember that feeling you had when you were a kid, riding your bicycle with a tailwind pushing you along. That how it was today on an out and back ride from home.

There was a cross wind as I pedaled down my road. Once I turned right there was a furious tail wind. Within minutes I was in my biggest gear pushing as hard as I could. It didn’t take long for that to taper into a nice tempo in a large gear cruising at 27 mph. It just felt so good.

Before too long I reached the turn around point, that is where things changed.

Chasing my shadow on the ride home.

Fitness and thinking about 2018

My fitness program is not exactly what I’d call an archery fitness program. It is different because I still consider endurance sports and try to stay in minimal shape to perhaps compete in other events. Of course, once I make a decision I’ll make a plan. This is the time of year I begin planning for the next year’s events.

What should we do next year?

In that plan will be a weight loss program. I am not overweight but since my last triathlon in 2013 my body fat percentage has increased from 4% to 11%. That is not racing weight. 2013 was a hard year of racing for me. I raced 12 times in 2013 and that wasn’t a big deal. From 2006 until 2013 I raced at least 12 times a year. However, in 2013  two of the races were Ironman events and one was the Mt. Evans Ascent.

The Mt. Evans Ascent was one of the hardest races of my life. Here’s what the race’s website says about that race:

Although the air will be noticeably thin at the starting line, Echo Lake’s 10,600 feet of elevation is just the beginning. The climb totals nearly 4,000 vertical feet – much of it above tree line – as you make your way 14.5 miles to the finish line located at the summit of one of the most recognizable peaks on Denver’s mountain skyline – 14,264 foot Mt. Evans.

For a guy that has lived most of his life at sea level – that race was a bear! To make it tougher a week prior to the Mt. Evans Ascent I raced in the Ironman Eagleman. The day after I raced in Boulder, but it was only a 5K.  It was actually on that week in Colorado that I became interested in archery.

I was in a sporting good store and noticed some bows in the shop.  I was killing time so I asked a salesperson about the bows.  It all sounded pretty interesting. A couple of months later I bought a compound bow. I’d never planned to compete at any level in archery. That changed.

I like running events, triathlons, cycling (time-trials only – no need to risk a crash because of some squirrelly rider) and duathlons. I’ve pretty much ruled out another triathlon anytime soon. Archery, running and riding are about all I can fit into my schedule. There’s no time to swim.

Not my best discipline

Running is easy. I do that nearly every day. Running races are also easy. They’re inexpensive and can be short or long. A 5K is a breeze. A marathon is a bit more effort. I have no idea how many 5Ks I’ve run. I also can’t recall how many 10Ks or half-marathons I’ve done. Half-marathons are nice because you can pace yourself and still not feel totally wasted after a race. A 10K hurts the entire race and a 5K hurts a lot and then its over.

I do remember exactly how many marathons I’ve run. They all hurt in a different way. After my 7th marathon I figured it was enough, but perhaps not.

Running – you can do it anywhere (I just replaced to blue Nikes I’m wearing in this photo) This raced was a 1/2 marathon in Maryland.

I also ride a bike nearly every day. I run in the morning and ride in the afternoon. But, archery practice twice a day eats away at time needed to drive to a pool. An hour in the pool means another hour of travel.

Aside from specific archery goals for 2018 I am considering some endurance sports competition. In that regard, off-road duathlons keep popping into my thoughts.

A Good Day to Play

It was a good day to play. There was early morning running with River and Coco. Both have gotten over leg injuries and are nearly 100%.

The morning’s highlight, running with River and Coco

After running I drove into Elizabeth City to shoot indoor 18-meters with friends. Of all the fun things I did today, archery did not rank number one.

I shot all over the place, including a few tens. But, mostly nines and a couple of eights. It was just a royal pain.

Archery was so disappointing that after I got home I took my stabilizers and sight off my Elite and grabbed my Mathews Conquest Apex 7 and started from scratch. I’ve never done well with the Mathews bow. But, I really needed a change.

Cycling was the high point of the outdoor play. Seriously, riding a bicycle is such a source of freedom. I suppose some people feel that way about running. Sure, running is pretty good, but for me a bike is a tough act to follow.

About 2 miles from home I rode though all this glass. I didn’t notice it until I was in the middle of it. Made it home without a flat.

More archery followed the bike ride. It was not as much fun.

Coming to a Close of Vacation

A weeklong break from “sports” has come to a close. It has ended in Tignal, Ga. To facilitate the forth coming ramp up to full activity here in Georgia there is a bike, running gear, a Mathews Apex 7 and half a dozen Black Eagle arrows. There is a range for archery, trails to run, and miles of open road to ride. There was also time to drive over to Abbeville, SC and watch the eclipse.

This “Fetish” is a great bike.
This photo is for those who know bikes
These Georgia back roads are great for cycling
Practicing out to 50 yards with pins
Zoomed the photo in to capture the target. The chair at 25 yards is for my father-in-law, who is 89, when he’s practicing with his crossbow.

 

Yes, this was cool. There are more photographs of the eclipse on my Facebook page.

Cutting it Short

Work wears you down. It wears me down, maybe not you. But, I know when to take a break. This morning it was time to give it a rest.

I wasn’t shooting poorly, I was shooting tired. The fatigue and tiredness were not solely from shooting. It was a combination of shooting four -five hours per day, running and cycling every day, and in between doing a massive amount of lawn work.

Lawn work includes about 7 miles of mowing. Yes, I measured it with a GPS, it is 7-miles. Those miles are just the ones covered on a John Deere LA 105. It does not include the miles of weed whacking, handling a push mower to get the areas where the tractor doesn’t reach and going over it all with a backpack leaf blower. See the lawn includes my 3D range, so it is a lot of work. Today, it caught up with me.

The morning archery practice started after skipping a run. It went okay, not great. Using a 5-spot, hoping a change in targets would be refreshing; I ended up 300 and 50X. Not getting 60X on a 5-spot was a warning.

It was time to take a break. I might skip practice this afternoon.

Going Long

Of course, the day started by running with River. We’ve been disappointed for the past few days since Coco has not joined us. Coco has an injured leg and been absent during her infirmary.

River and Coco checking things out on a trail. River has missed her friend over the past few days.

And certainly, next on the list was a bike ride. Riding a bicycle remains one of my favorite activities.  Cycling is as close to flying as we humans can do under our own power.  Yes, I know there are one or two experimental human powered flying machines, but you and I aren’t going to be climbing into one of those things. We can get on a bicycle and ride.

People pay to take tours to view scenery like this. I see this everyday.
More of the swampy areas I passed on my ride

Then, it was down to business – archery. Yesterday’s practice informed me of where I need to train. Long shots. To be specific, long 3D shots. Knowing a big blue, red and yellow ringed level target is 50-meters and hitting yellow is easy. Not know the distance, having all the targets a different color and size, then wedging them among trees over uneven terrain is more difficult. So, today, I didn’t shoot any foam target under 35 yards.

45-yards seemed long enough on this coyote. I don’t care who you are – this is a long shot at a small target using fixed pins. And it feels real satisfying to hit 10 or better.

I shot 10 arrows, two sets of five, at 35, 40, and 45 yards at a lot of fake animals. I didn’t make it to all my targets. I’ll finish them tomorrow and will skip the bobcat and rabbit. Not that I wouldn’t like to try them at long distances, their not positioned to be shot longer than 35 yards.

There’s not enough cleared woods to back off from this target more than 35 yards. I doubt I’d ever see it at that distance. I doubt I ever see it in a tournament. But, I will see a gator and that target’s center ring is lower than this bobcat’s.

It was tempting to shoot from fifty yards. But, I’m not real sure about my 50-yard pin. If my foam animals were larger I’d have tested that bottom pin. It seemed wiser to examine the fifty-yard pin later against something larger than a cinnamon bear. Of course, where the ten ring is on the cinnamon bear there’s a leg below it. If I’d shot low the arrow would probably have ended up in the leg. A high shot and goodbye arrow. I wasn’t up to shooting $18.00 into the woods.

Fifty yards was tempting. I stopped here at 45

What I can say is that after an hour or so, 35 yards seemed close.

Met up with this critter on the run home this morning. The wildlife I see every day here in rural North Carolina is amazing.

Another Wet, Cold, and Windy Day in June

Coco coming to say hello to River and I while running

Before I went out to run and ride my bike I put on warm-up clothes for running and a jacket and leg warmers to ride. It was cold and raining. This is some very unusual weather we’ve been experiencing here on the coast of North Carolina. The rain is not uncommon, the temperature is low for this time of the year.

End of this road while cycling

I spent a few hours out on the 3D range in long pants, two shirts and a sweater. Things weren’t so bad once I was out of the wind. But, it was raining a little and still cold.

The rain eased off a bit during 3D practice

What remains incredible to me, it is June, near the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and the low temperature has been in the low 50’s with a high in the upper 60’s.

Walking past my 50-meter target, sure it is impossible to pass without shooting it

By tomorrow it will be back into the upper 80’s and we’re expecting low 90’s this weekend. That will be more like it.

Unusually Cold Here On the Coast of NC

I’d ride this on my mountain bike, today I was on my road bike

The past couple of days have been intense 3D practice. Tuesday was repeat shots, 25 at each distance, from 20 to 40 with 5-yard increments. For that exercise I used: two bear, a badger, a turkey, two deer, a mountain lion, coyote, and a javelina. Today, so far (the weather has chased me indoors) was a mock tournament. Before shooting I had a nice, cool, damp, run and bike ride.

These boards were slick – you don’t want to slip off the edge here.
It’s pretty cool looking at the end of this pier

For the mock tournament I shot 20 targets from about 18 yards (a mosquito) to 35 yards. I was hoping to break even maybe even shoot a little up. I ended up 15 down.

I hoped this would be the start of a run of 11’s. It wasn’t

Sure, the weather was nasty. It is 63°F, windy and there’s a misty rain falling. Yep, that’s right, 63°F on the coast of North Carolina in June. It was ‘colder’ this morning when I went for a run and bike ride. It was also breezier when I was on the bike. To ride I had to put on cycling tights and a jacket. We missed setting a new low temperature last night, when it dropped to 55°F, by 2 degrees.

This Eastern-Eyed Click Beetle – (Alaus oculatus) – didn’t seem to be enjoying the weather. I did get him to click and hop for me.

This type of weather for June was typical when we lived in Pittsburgh. Here the average is 76°F. Still, the conditions didn’t warrant shooting indoors, not even with a light rain that was not constant. The rain did pick up just as I shot target 20 of my mock tournament.

The rain has eased off (again), so I’ll head out and shoot some more – maybe things will improve.

I Ran, I Cycled, I Shot, and Then I Napped

Over the past week or so I’ve changed my training routine. It’s good to change your training around. Today, I added another change.

What I’d changed was to go cycling to first in the morning rather than running. I had been running to start the morning being joined by my running partner, River, a Labrador retriever. What was obvious, River was not happy with the difference.

Of course, I changed riding times – I put new tape on these handlebars. Couldn’t wait to go ride. Note the water in the yard. It has been raining a lot.

So, I changed again, adding a run with River, before cycling. River seemed to approve of this modification. We ran, returned home where I swapped over to a bike. This manner of exercise is fine with me.

River likes morning runs and meeting up with her friend Coco.

After the running and riding I moved on to archery practice. Rather than shoot 3D first and leave 50 meter for the afternoon, I shot 50 meters first. This too seemed just fine.

This paper has withstood a decent amount of rain.

At 50-meters, I shot one warm-up end of 6 before shooting another 72 arrows. I was getting pretty hungry before I finished.

Yep, this sometimes happens. You get what you pay for and this was inexpensive.

The whole process started around 0730. It was completed around noon. I’d had breakfast around 0650. Breakfast was a freshly blended fruit and yogurt smoothie. Smoothies taste good, but they do not last. Noon meant lunch – a barbeque sandwich with Cole slaw and ice tea to drink – and I was ready for it.

This sandwich speaks for itself.

After four and half hours of exercise and a high calorie lunch, it was time to enjoy a short nap. This is my typical routine. Train in the morning, have lunch, take a short nap (less that 45 minutes), then work into the afternoon schedule.

There’s a thunderstorm and pouring rain at the moment, so as refreshed and ready to start the afternoon training plan, things might get put on hold.

Don’t Do What You Did 37 Years Ago!

“I’m going for a quick ride, “I told Brenda as I headed out the door this morning. Her response, “Don’t do what you did 37 years ago!” She wasn’t referring to me marrying her, which I did 37 years ago.

The warning was about an incident 37 years ago, almost to the day. Actually, it was 37 years and one day ago. It was the day after we were married and still Honeymooning on Hilton Head Island, where we lived.

We spent our Honeymoon night at the Hilton Hotel. Then, we checked out and went to our home at Palmetto Bay.

On that day, the day after getting married, we decided to take in an afternoon movie. We didn’t have a newspaper and there was no Internet, so we didn’t know what was showing. Rather than drive the car I planned to make the trip to see what was playing on my bicycle. I felt like I needed to get a few miles in and the ride would be nice. It would only take about 30 minutes. I said to her, “I’m going for a quick ride.”

Twenty-five minutes later I was making the last turn on my way from the theater. It was a sharp turn, and I wanted to sprint out of it. As I got up over my handlebars jumping into the turn, my front tire rolled off the rim. I went down hard.

The next conscious memory I have of the occasion was a woman’s voice, coming from over me, saying, “He’s really hurt.” I was really hurt. The impact knocked me out. I have no idea of how long I laid there, fortunately, it was not a busy road. Aside from knocking me out, the crash had taken a lot of skin off my face. Talk about a face plant.

The women over me wasn’t alone, her boyfriend or husband was with her. He wanted to leave me there, so an argument ensued. Eventually, she offered to drive me to where I needed to go, like a hospital. I said no, I could make it home; I remember the conversation clearly, but the image of the couple, to this day, remains hazy.

There was no riding the bike; the tire was off the rim. It didn’t matter, I didn’t even try. I don’t remember walking back to Brenda. One minute I was carrying on a conversation with a women’s voice, then I was knocking on our front door. I held the handle so she couldn’t open the door. When I felt her pull the doorknob I resisted and said, “Don’t get alarmed, I’m hurt.”

My request somewhat failed. As yet, I hadn’t seen my face or how much of it was missing. A quick look in the mirror, and we were on our way to Hilton Head Hospital.

I worked at the hospital. When one of the ER nurses saw me, and knowing I was on my honeymoon, I received a pretty severe scolding. After some clicking of tongues and wagging of fingers, they sent the nursing supervisor to the ER to clean me up. She was a retired, Army nurse a bit hard-core. Naturally, she too started in with a fresh scolding this time with more colorful language. She took no pity as she scoured debris from my facial wounds. With all sincerity, I promise you it really hurt. I was too dazed to make any recommendation, like lavaging with 2% lidocaine first. I mentioned this to her a year or so later. She smiled with true Nightingale countenance and admitted it had crossed her mind.

After she’d imparted me my lesson it seemed Nurse Rachet was done. Nope, my face needed to be wrapped. Of course it did, flies on a road were eating the half that was left behind. The only way to manage the wrapping of gauzes was practically theatrical. On completion, from my upper neck just below my mandible, to the peak of my cranium, I was decked out in a Halloween mummy mask. My mouth, nose and eyes were all that remained un-bandaged.

You can be assured, Brenda was not pleased. She got over being upset once her mind was made up that this little set back wasn’t going to ruin our beach week. The very next day we were lounging poolside at the Hilton and on the beach. She arranged a small tent made from a beach towel to conceal my B rated horror movie get up.

Not wanting to be more of an early marriage disappointment, my guess I would provide more excitement as the years passed, I suffered quietly while my head baked in the heat.

During our 37 years of marriage, I have been sick once. Throughout those decades I raced bicycles then turned to triathlons. One illness, and well I don’t recall for sure, but a lot of road rash. We love to enterain and tell stories of me sticking to the sheets due to overnight dry ooze from seeping wounds.

My personal favorite was when I crashed in Pittsburgh cutting a small artery. What an impression it made squirting blood. But, that’s another story.

Thirty-seven years – I promised Brenda life with me would not be boring. Amazingly, Brenda is still my wife; lesser wives might not have had the patience or stomach. (Funny, that reminds me of the time she fainted when I had an arterial line put in as part of a research project – that’s another good story.) I suppose Brenda is a curious person. She seems be always be waiting, at times on edge, to see what will happen next.

I don’t remember what was playing at the movies that day 37 years ago. We never made it.

Addendum:

Three important things I’ve learned from crashing on a bicycle:

  • If possible, look for a soft place to land – hit there.
  • When you hit – roll.
  • When crashing, always fall away from traffic