We’ve been on vacation. It was fun. I could write a lot more about how much fun we had but what’s the point. It was our vacation not yours. Writing about our vacation hoping others will read about it and enjoy our experience is like force telling someone about the dream you had last night.
We have some cool vacation pictures and I might share a few of them – although that remains to be seen. What I will write about is a missed opportunity.
I don’t know what exactly was the opportunity. I do know I missed the call. I hate to admit it, but when America called I wasn’t home:
Yes, I know this was a robo call. Robo calls have led me to keeping my phone in the ‘Off’ position 90% of the time. I wish the missed call from the United States had been notification that Congress had found a solution to end the public nuisance of robo calls. Or just have the FCC police the robo callers using public nuisance statutes to prohibit the nuisance.
This morning I spoke with my long time friend and former USA Cycling World Team Coach. He’s been in involved with competitive cycling for over 55 years. He’s never doped or had any of his athletes dope. He’s lived in a clean athletic world at a time with doping was unchecked.
The phone call was among other things a friendly chat. We hadn’t spoken in over a year although we stay in touch on social media. Social media is okay but a call or seeing someone face to face is much better.
He is a great coach and has won a number of National Cycling Championships as an athlete. He knows how to ride a bike and to inspire other riders to excel. There’s even a race series named in his honor, The Nestor Cup.
The call was initiated by a question I sent to him. I’d been looking at time trial results for a few riders in my age group. I noticed a number of them held speeds matching individual time trial speeds of professional cyclists reported during the Tour de France. Those data seemed very unlikely without some form of artificial support.
I wanted to know if those speeds were natural. I didn’t suspect they were and the former coach immediately called a foul. He added he’s observed a lot of riders today picked up the sport in their 40s. They missed those early youthful years of development. They wanted speed, had money, and were doping. He estimated as high as 60% of older cyclists may be doping.
I think the number is high but lower than 60%. There’s a lot of attention being paid to doping. Doping regardless there is still a problem with doping cycling. (1) Amateur athletes don’t seem too worried about getting caught. Many don’t need the sport to support them financially and have nothing to lose if they get caught. Furthermore, the current opinion on doping seems to lean heavily toward to older athletes. (2-4). In the past I’ve written at the rate is probably around 25% of older athletes are doping based on research I’ve read. (5)
According to my former coach, “These older guys have the money and they want to win, so they’re doping.” He added, “If it were less expensive to test riders, we’d catch more.”
No matter, I’ll probably race bikes again. I do miss it. It would only be in a time trial – less chance of a crash that might mess me up in archery. Don’t even get me started about the doping in archery. Well, I’m started….
If you’re on a beta-blocker, over 50, and don’t have a therapeutic use exemption and compete in archery you are cheating. I doubt you’ll get caught. You’re over 50 and no one seems to care whether or not you’re taking a beta-blocker for hypertension or other problem or if you get eat some of your buddy’s drugs before a tournament. The sport organizations would rather have your annual dues and registrations fees than worry with sportsmanship. Heck, you can get your dope online. (6)
At night our dogs frequently go crazy over the critters that roam around our yard. Using a trail camera I recorded foxes and possums using our front porch as a short cut from the woods on one side of our house to the other. The dogs always seem to know.
Placing a camera at the side of the house it showed that possums and feral cats have created an avenue to the woods partly on our driveway. In those woods on our property there an abundance of deer, raccoons, possums, foxes and squirrels. All of them have paused to be photographed at one time or another. It seems odd that there have not been any armadillo digitally captured.
When I downloaded the sim card out of the camera at the side of the house it revealed what has to be a really dumb move. It was kind of funny. Here it is:
There are fields where I am an expert.(1) As many of you too are experts at something. It might be that you are an expert electrician, builder, surgeon or athlete. Don’t you find it odd when someone that has never done what it is where you are an expert and that someone decides to provide advice to you at your job?
Before I go further I am removing archery from my areas of expertise. I’m good at shooting a bow and I’m a USA Level 3 NTS Coach but compared to other endeavors archery doesn’t come close to sections of my life where I remain an expert. By expert I mean one the top in the World.
When I worked I considered myself the best in the World at what I did. On occasions I received unsolicited awards for my work. Not a one is on display in my home. I have a friend that won a number of Academy Awards; he keeps a few on display in his basement. The other Oscars are stored in a box. He’s certainly an expert at his job. It would never occur to me to give him advance on his work.
The Global Awards have a division for the type of work where I was involved. Once I thought I might earn a Global. I was a runner up. They gave me a nice framed award for not winning. But, I did come close with only a $10,000 budget from which to work. (2) So, I find it amazing when people feel the need to educate me with their business acumen, especially when they’ve never worked in business. I also find it amazing when some bike shop technician tries to educate me on cycling.
There’s a local bike shop I visit for parts and repairs. They employ a bike tech that in his mind is an expert on a variety of topics from cycling to business to science. Yesterday he tried to sale me tires I didn’t want. I needed new tires, which is why I was in the shop. My choice didn’t meet his opinion of what he thought I should be riding.
I explained the tires I selected from the wall display were ideal for the bike and my riding. He offered the tires he would rather I purchase which would make me go faster. I suggested that my legs were in fact what might make me go faster. Further, I pointed out I ride a bike for fun and had no intention of racing in the near future if ever again. In addition if I did race it wouldn’t be on that bike. He couldn’t leave it alone and claimed I was ignoring science.
First, I never ignore science. I’m a bona fide scientist and science fueled my career along with law and business. Secondly, I doubt the bike tech has ever gone as fast or as far on a bike I have in the past.(3) I wanted to puff up at the tech and explain I’ve raced for a living, raced in Europe, and placed as high as 4thin a cycling world championship.(4) Additionally, I’ve been a member of a USA Team that included cycling and raced at the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. (5,6) Yet, I said nothing.
I did get the tires I wanted and the bike tech put them on the bike while I left to purchase another blueberry tree to plant. The bike was ready when I returned with the tree sitting in my truck. While checking me out he asked if I was following the Tour, as in Tour de France for non-cycling readers.
I told him no I wasn’t explaining I didn’t know any of the guys racing any longer and wasn’t interested. I am interested enough that I’ll purchase the DVD of the race when it is complete. But, since I don’t know of the riders I’ll watch it later.
I didn’t add that when I raced for Trek and trained sometimes in Kennett, MO I’d share my training route with Lance Armstrong so that he could ride the route while he was visiting Sheryl Crow. Sharing that with the bike tech might have meant I’d need to hear his lecture on doping.
As I left the bike shop with my newly installed tires not once did I consider racing a bicycle beyond a possible time trial. The bike tech was shaking his head as he considered the old fool leaving with non-recommended tires.
Best of 2011 Respiratory Care RT: Rode Decision Makers in Respiratory Care, October 2011, 24 – 26
Finalist Award, The “Global Awards” for Marketing Communication- Quantum Launch, Oct. 1997
It was time to break up practice. That meant, morning dots and the afternoon 3D. I’ve been shooting a lot of dots. The difference between dots and 3D is like bicycle road racing compared to mountain bike racing. Or running on the streets versus trail running. Either way it is all fun.
The break was refreshing and will gradually work into a spring training program. The old 3D targets on my range are really beginning to need replacing. There’s this old coyote that gets shot on his hind end because the original chest area is completely split. His days of repair are long gone.
There’s a trail camera on the range. It is on a line with this javelina. This little tayassu tajacuis set so that it can be shot out to around 45 yards. You know that varmint will show up at all your 3D competitions in 2019 setting at your maximum distance. Count on it.
Anyway, this camera snapped a picture or two of me as I was working back to take aim on the javelina at 75 yards (no I think it was 37 yards.)
I’d ordered some work pants off of Amazon. They seemed fine to me. They felt durable enough. Naturally, they were too long so I had them hemmed. After bringing the home I wore them the next day. Everything seemed fine to me. Then, Brenda, my wife looked at me wearing those new work pants.
I didn’t see anything amiss. Belt was on, no tags left on the pants, both legs matched in length, and the zipper was in proper placement. I’d not sat in anything nasty or unknowingly ripped the seat. What could be so funny?
Brenda finally pointed out that it looked line my legs were in tubes. Whatever did that mean?
The trail camera on the 3D range – well, now I know. Yes, these are some dumb looking pants. I am embarrassed to admit, I’ve worn them in public.
It was 41°F for my US friends and 5°C for just about everyone else in the world. Either way it was cold when I started my morning 18-meter archery practice outside. My bow had spent the night in my 2006 Ford 150 and it proved just how well it absorbs the cold. Cold or not it was time to practice.
I thought I’d dressed just right. I thought I’d stay warm. I was wrong. Certainly, I could have gone back inside and added my layers. Call it stubbornness or laziness, but I didn’t want to take the time or hike back to the house. I was on the range and I was going to stay.
I had a simple goal before practice, that was to shoot 60 tens in the outer 10 ring and no less than 40 arrows in the inner ten ring of a Vegas style 3-spot.
I planned to take my time, go through the shot process, don’t rush and make every shot count.
That plan held up though warm-up (that’s only an expression – it was never warm) and the first 30 arrows. By then, the ‘taking my time’ element had shivered out of my plan. I still shot well until the last arrow. With snot dripping from my nose I put too much heel in my bow hand lifting an arrow slightly out of the big 10 ring. I might have been able to prevent it if I could have felt my hand.
The temperature will increase by 23°F by this afternoon. (Sorry my Celsius friends your on your own.) I should have thawed by then and am looking forward to another run at 60 arrows in the big 10.
Hurricane Florence didn’t have much of an affect on Georgia. But, she did have enough of an influence on the weather to impact archers shooting at the Georgia Archery Association State (GAA) FITA Outdoor Championship.
It has been nine months since we moved back to Georgia. This is our home State and we’d made the move from our vacation home turned permanent residence in North Carolina.
The NC home was great. Off our front deck the distance to the bulkhead was just 18 yards. The bulkhead separated our property from Little River, which feeds into the Albemarle Sound. The views and water access were amazing. Our pier and dock led us at our boatlift 50 yards from shore. It was wonderful, except for the hurricanes.
Every year we’d have some storm spinning up our river. Most years there were multiple storms. Rarely, did we have a huge amount of damage. Always there was some damage and a general clean up. Sometimes there was a real post-storm mess. As with all storms we either rode them out or we headed to the hills. It depended on the category.
Florence didn’t do much to our old place in North Carolina. Of course, we sold it in May of this year so it wouldn’t have been our problem should there have been damage. Nevertheless, we loved that place and keep tabs on the storms that might intersect with our old home. We still have friends living on the Little River and we stay in touch.
What Florence gave to the Peach State was a rainy windy day for the second half of the Georgia State Outdoor Championship. For me, it meant I wouldn’t surpass my personal best score of the 1440 possible points that could be earned over two days shooting 144 arrows. Despite the second day’s wind and rain I exceeded my lowest score finishing 8 points below my average practice score. It wasn’t what I’d hoped for when the pre-storm weather forecast suggested warm clear days and 5 mph winds. That forecast didn’t hold.
The first day was rainless and the winds were around 7 to 10 mph – not bad. Day two of the weekend tournament brought rain and wind at 8 – 14 mph with gusts up to 22 mph.
Compared to what our Tarheel friends were going through the less than ideal conditions for archery was not very meaningful. It is a coastal North Carolina fact of life that hurricanes are going to happen and they’ll often bring real damage and suffering.
During one storm when we stayed to face it, a Category 1 Hurricane that have been downgraded to a Tropical Storm, I needed to head out during the storm to save boards on my dock and pier. The water had risen to near level with the dock and pier, about four to five feet higher than normal maximum. As the waves crashed into the boards they were eventually breaking lose. Trying to stave off a loss of boards I grabbed a battery operated drill a box of deck screws donned foul weather gear and went into the tempest hopefully to save parts of my pier and dock they seemed to be fighting to escape. Walking toward the pier I thought of Lt. Dan in the movie “Forrest Gump” during a hurricane yelling to Heaven, “You call this a storm?”
On the pier and dock I played a wet version of Whack-a-Mole trying to drill boards back down or pulling them free to reduce the pressure on the structure. The winds were high, waves often crested over me when I knelt to secure a board, but I didn’t lose a single board or my drill, and only a few deck screws found their way to Davey Jones’ locker. The hat I’d been wearing didn’t make it back; sadly it was a favorite that been given to me by one of my daughters. (If both of you are reading this think Christmas 2018 for a replacement.)
During Hurriance Florence as I watched some weather guy rocking back and forth being punished by unyielding wind I thought about that dock and pier. I also wonder what the weekend weather would do for the Georgia Archery Associations tournament. Still watching the reporter and wondering I pointed out to my wife, while seeing this poor fellow on the television reporting live, that he sure seemed to be having a tough time keeping his footing. It seemed a bit exaggerated.
Archers got some wind while shooting in that GAA tournament over the weekend. The storm was certainly a point of conversation. The weather guy’s rocking and rolling in the wind was a hot topic. Many viewers of the weather reporting had reach the conclusion that the guy was faking it.
The reporter’s performance had been inadvertently spoiled by a couple of guys calmly and easily walking around behind him oblivious to the wind impacting the reporter.
While he is on camera there is another tale-tell sign of the actual wind speed. It was being displayed live on the upper left of the television screen. The sustained wind was 29 mph and the maximum was 42 mph.
Storms have hit many people over the years. When one comes along families have to worry, leave home and pray that everything turns out for the best. For some those prayers aren’t answered in a manner they’d hoped. For others everything turns out fine. For a few that stay put to ride it out the storm becomes their last ride. Amid the real news of the impact of such storms as Florence, there is no room for make believe.
On Facebook I read a post by an older archer who complained of an event organizer that eliminated the Senior Hunter Class (IBO System) after a series of planned events had begun. The writer of the post is one of the Senior (over 50 years of age) archers impacted by the decision. He was not pleased with the event organizers dropping a class wherein he’d been competing since the initiation of the competitive series.
From what could be gathered throughout the Facebook conversation regarding the elimination of the Senior Hunter Class, it appeared there were not enough Seniors competing to supply a large enough pool from which to have a winner surface. The set of Seniors included three archers.
I do understand that having only three Seniors means there is a guaranteed place for each archer: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. The organizers reasoned that was not enough people to truly make for a serious competition.
To some degree that is true. However, the organizers opened the class at the onset of the tournament series and as such should have kept it open until the finale. Instead, well into the series they combined the Senior archers with the Men’s Class (men 21 to 49 years old). The unilateral decision to drop the Senior Hunter Class angered those Senior Hunters that had been competing against each other. The anger, in this situation is warranted.
The move to drop a class of shooters after an agreement to open the class was wrong. On the other hand, I understand that if only 3 archers show up then that is not much of a competitive crowd from which to have an eventual champion. But, the archers can only compete against those who show up. It is not there fault if organizers have not created a market incentive to draw more shooters.
It boils down to this: The organizers had a duty to keep the Senior Hunter Class open through the event series regardless of how many archers competed in the class.
(No, I am not one of those displaced Senior archers. I am not that young. If those folks in their 50s think their competitive pool is dwindling let them wait until they are past 60. More on this later.)
I take nearly all the photographs on this website. That’s the reason there are so few photographs of yours truly. There’s also the irritation of looking over pictures of me. When I see them I’m as joyful as I am when I hear my own voice on a recording.
When I worked a real job I needed a greeting on my voice mail. I tried my best but there was nothing to be done that would improve the way I sounded to myself. So, I got somebody else of create my voice mail greeting.
I can’t get a model to pose for me in photographs. I don’t own Photoshop so there’s no way to make me look tall and handsome. The bulk of the pictures of me on this website have been taken by my wife. She is not an eager photographer. So, several of the pictures I’m embarrassed to say are selfies.
At being an expert selfie photographer I admit right here I am a failure. Not only does the subject matter fall short the amateurish result is pitiful.
On Facebook a selfie popped up so I studied it hoping I’d figure out the as yet unrecognized technique to self capture a self image . The effort to improve my skill at self-portrait led me down a path of discovery. Along that journey a number of common selfies were ruled out.
Immediately, the band of drunks was eliminated. To begin with I am not a drunk and neither are my friends. The driver pose in the driver’s seat car shot is a none starter for me. When I’m driving, I’m driving and not playing with my cell phone.
I tried the bicycle ride selfie but have ruled that out of my repertoire. Those attempts were conducted while coasting and still I nearly crashed. Running selfies are easier but they all reflected the strain of the run. Why broadcast my inability to smile, laugh, and leap into the air when I am running.
Then, there’s that ubiquitious puffy lip thing that shows up on Facebook every few seconds. It is the selfie that launched me on this path.
I wondered about that one. Does it come naturally? Do people sit in front of a mirror for hours practicing to have puffy lips and sunken cheeks? I didn’t know. So, I tried.
Clearly, this is not an innate ability. It seemed near impossible to get my lips to puff (Admittedly, I have thin lips). Were these people getting injections of Botox? Maybe.
What the experience taught me was that like everything to get the puffy lip selfie right meant practice. It is a practice that isn’t going to end up of my list of skills needed to perfect.
I suppose in general I just don’t get it. As such, I’ll continue to share photographs of the stuff I’m doing but rest easy there will not be an abundance of selfies on this website.