Arrows, Arrows and More Arrows

In a video a former Olympic archery shared how many arrows he shot per year.  He had an average of 226 arrows per day.  That doesn’t seem too bad.

I shoot a lot.  I don’t average 226 arrows per day.  My average is 130 arrows per day.  Some days there are less other days more.  I’m taking my time.

Over doing it from the start can lead to injuries.  Since I’m 67 years old I am perhaps more careful.  Well, I know I’m more careful today than I might have been if I’d started shooting an Olympic recurve at 17 years old.

60 meters

It hasn’t been 24 months since I picked up an Olympic recurve.  At 60 meters and 18 meters I’ve improved 0.5% per month since I began.  In few weeks I’ll do a lot more practice at 70 meters.  There’s minimal difference in my practice average points per arrow between 60 and 70 meters.

70 meters

I’ll also be gradually increasing my arrow count.

Throughout this process I have maintained 25% recovery time compared to training time.  After longer days I ice my hands, forearms and shoulders.  The goal being to prevent a long-term injury.

Georgia Cup

Arrow count isn’t a goal it is part of a process.

Am I The Only One Tired

Last night with had dinner with friends.  Everyone attending is a natural athlete with the possible exception of me. Honestly, these people are amazingly fit.

The group was mixed regarding sports.  The group contained a rock climber, a cyclist, two runners, a yoga instructor and me. All of these athletes are older that 62 years of age. Everyone had trained before dinner.  I think I was the only person there who was tired.

I do train hard.  At least it is hard for me.  Unless I’d taking a day specifically allocated as a recover day I shoot my Olympic recurve ((43.6# draw weight) two to six hours a day.  The six-hour days are rare as are the two-hour days. When I’m shooting I burn about 320 calories per hour.  Less than half of what I’d burn riding a bicycle or running.

I run and ride nearly everyday.  I break that up into two sessions.  I run in the morning after a 30-minute stretch and ride for 30 – 60 minutes in the mid-afternoon before my second practice shooting a bow.  It is rare to miss the 30-minute stretch and rare not to run. Some days I do miss cycling despite it being part of my training play. That typically occurs when some ‘can’t be put off any longer’ chore infringes on the time. I also lift weights two to three days per week.  To wear me out even more I train with a speed rope four time per week doing so after running.

With all that effort you’d think I might be tired from time to time. You would be correct.  But, the people at this dinner party didn’t seem phased by their athletic efforts.

The 63-year-old rock climber looked as if he could start climbing a wall without breaking a sweat.  The yoga instructor and cyclist seemed full of energy.  The runner looked as if she could head out for a marathon after dessert.  The other runner gave me frequent looks of understanding and pity. I felt like a nap would be nice.

To make is worse I wasn’t even the oldest in the crowd.  Two of these athletes are older than me.  One fellow in the mid 70’s probably has a 4% fat content and could run circles around me.  I have a 12% body fat content. When I raced I was down to 6%.  Thanks, archery.

I shouldn’t blame archery.  I blame the reduction in the level of cardio training I now do.  But, 12% body fat is considered athletic.  I don’t feel athletic, I feel tried.

In order to get the correct amount of the right caloric intake per day I record everything I eat and drink as input and all exercise is recorded as output.  Nothing every changes.

The athletes eating dinner I expect eat what they want and as much as they want.  Heck, the rock climber consumed more than double my portions.

Over the last 9.5 days of training I averaged 190 arrows per day.  This morning the schedule was for 90 arrows.  I stopped at 52.  I was too tired and my average score per arrow was awful.  I consider working through the fatigue then threw in the towel. I has been four days since my last full recover day.

During dinner I didn’t have much to say.  I was too tired to talk.  There was plenty of conversation around me so I politely smiled and provided approving monosyllable grunts. All the while being envious of the energy I didn’t have to share.

I writing this now because I cut the morning practice short. Once I’m done I’ll have lunch and that nap.


That’s Too Much $$$$$$

A friend and coach tried talking me into signing up for the Arizona Cup.  He nearly succeeded.  Just prior to clicking ‘Enter’ on the Arizona Cup web page I paused and considered the total expense.  The total estimated out-of-pocket expenses weren’t minimal. I withheld the click.

I did register for the Gator Cup.  Newberry, Florida, where the tournament is held, is an easy 5-hour drive taking back roads or a white-knuckle race down I-75 to save 40 minutes of driving. That time save using I-75 is optimistic.  Typically, road construction, a wreck, or both will eat into the I-75 time. Either way the Gator Cup is going to run me nearly $720.00 total.

The Gator Cup is in May as are the Georgia Cup and the Georgia Target Championship. The latter two competitions are within driving distance of home.  Combined entry fees for the Georgia events will run under $200.00. Total for the three events in May will be around $920.00.

For that amount of money I could run 36 local 5Ks.  Or 5 cycling time trials and 31 5ks.

I love to compete with the exception of archery.  I hate archery tournaments.  They are slow and tedious. To be fair, in 2022 it feels as if they have gotten much better.  Compared to USA Track and Field, USA Cycling, USA Triathlon or Ironman events USA Archery events generally suck.

The saying  ‘you get what you pay off ‘, aside from dumb (If you pay for something, you get it), suggests that high dollar equates to high value.  Mostly that can be true – as a generality.   You pay cheap you get cheap, you pay more you get more, or so we believe. Registration fees for sport often miss the mark of high cost for quality.

My friend, the coach mentioned in the opening paragraph tried to talk me into a State Championship 3D event.  It required shooting two times (multiple ranges) at 15 targets get time. The fee was $35.00.  Seems fair – except that comes to 7 to 8 hours total of extremely slow shooting ( of 30 arrows or $1.17 per shot). I got ready for it then paused.  I decided to keep the money.

The price to compete has gotten high. I’m not alone in feeling the pinch. (1) It isn’t just archery that is sticking it to athletes.

Once I enjoyed running marathons. I wouldn’t consider one today.  It isn’t because I don’t have a desire to train and run another marathon.  It is that I wouldn’t pay the registration fee.

Since my last marathon the cost to run a marathon, on average has increased by 35% to $112.00.  The cost of a ½ marathon has nearly doubled to $94.00 to run 13.1 miles (that means paying $7.17 per mile). (2) Even the low cost 5K isn’t really a bargain at $25.00 or $9.07 per mile. (3)

Ironman events are high dollar at an average in the US of $777.00 per event. (4) ($5.53 per mile) The registration fee is just a starting point.  Other fees and processing costs are going to jack that up. (4)

Triathlon is a very expensive sport.  A high-end bicycle is easily $13,000 to $17,250 dollars. (5,6) You’ll want to add a rear disc wheel for another $3000.00 (7) A good front wheel is just $920.00 (8) For $21,170 you can be set with a race worthy bike.

A decent wetsuit can cost another $600.00, goggles $30.00, running shoes $150.00 and a kit to wear $200.00.  (9) The gear alone for a triathlon can cost over $22,000 dollars. Once you’ve paid for all that gear you’ll be forking out dough for the triathlon.

Archery is less expensive but it isn’t cheap.  I tried to make do with inexpensive gear.  That experiment ended up costing me.  I broke one riser and warped three sets of low-end limbs.  Sadly, the limb issue developed days before two separate pricey tournaments.  (I’m now shooting mid-range limbs)

As I prepared to enter the next tournament I was surprised to learn the cost – $80.00.

One of our State organizations has announced it will be increasing their registration fee in order to provide a better pay out and have better awards.

I won the last event held by that group in the recurve class and got a belt buckle and a trophy that goes to the highest score of the male recurve archer.  (It rotates to the winner each year.) The trophy was bought years ago by a member, not paid for by the organization. I didn’t see any cash.

If I’m paying $80.00 to compete then I want the event to run fast and smooth.  I tell you I am tired of waiting while children who can’t add scores mill about the target in an arithmetic panic.  Parents may think it is wonderful their little ones are learning a sport. They’re not my kids. I don’t want to wait on your kids to solve their math problems.  It isn’t cute.

If those parents, on their cell phones waiting for their children to finish playing, can’t find some help for those children then make those kids’ parents pay $80.00 per child to enter.  Then, set a seven-minute limit on scoring.  If the kid can’t score after 7 minutes they are out and the parents don’t get a refund.  That will speed things up.

Or put some volunteers on the range who can add to help the kids.  An archery tournament is not the place for children to get a math lesson.

Rest assured if you compete in an Ironman you will not be waiting on an 8 year old to get out of your way.

Since the price of all events are increasing then show me the value.  When organization increases their enter fees they need to ask themselves, “Who cares and whose life does it make better.” If those answers are “the organizers and organizers” they have it wrong.













Greater progression of athletic performance in older Masters athletes. (1)

For some time now I’ve been pointing out that Masters athletes are doing really well.  I’ve also said that Masters athletes in some sports can successfully compete against Senior athletes. That seems especially true for a sport like archery.

Nevertheless, I don’t expect to see potential sponsorships –  aside from the marketing and sales tactic of pseudo-pro staff – making way into the Masters division in archery or other sport. Masters athletes don’t get the same interest by large sport corporations as do Senior athletes.

It is affirming to know I am not alone in recognizing the advancements on the Master athletic arnea. Here’s a study that looks specifically into the matter:

Greater progression of athletic performance in older Masters athletes. (1)


The number of new world records has decreased substantially in most athletic events in recent years. There has been enormous growth in participation at Masters events, and older athletes have been competing at the highest levels with much younger athletes. However, the progression of athletic performance over time has not been well investigated in Masters athletes.


To determine whether older Masters athletes improved athletic performance over time, running and swimming times from 1975 to 2013 were collected biennially. The running event of 100 m was chosen specifically, as it is one of the most popular track and field events that would have attracted a large number of competitors. The middle distance of 400 m as well as 100 m freestyle swimming were also examined to determine whether the results in 100 m sprint event can be confirmed in other events.


The improvements in fastest 100 m running times over time were not significant. However, all the Masters age-group records improved significantly over time. The slopes of improvements over the years were progressively greater at older age groups with the greatest progression observed at oldest age groups of 75-79 years examined. The general trends were similar for 400 m middle-distance running and 100 m freestyle swimming.


While younger athletes’ performance has stagnated, Masters athletes improved their athletic performance significantly and progressively over the years. The magnitude of improvements was greater in older age groups gradually closing the gap in athletic performance between younger and older participants.


1.)  Akkari A1, Machin D1, Tanaka H1. Greater progression of athletic performance in older Masters athletes. Age Ageing. 2015 Jul;44(4):683-6. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afv023. Epub 2015 Mar 8.



An Unexpected Spectator

I get all sorts of critters hanging out on the range. In North Carolina my least favorite were moccasins and copperheads.  Here in Georgia it is timber back rattlesnakes and copperheads.

Sometimes I do see deer moving though the woods.  There are always squirrels. Rabbits frequently hop past and hawks fly around looking for something to eat.

I keep my spotting scope in my range.  I used to haul it in and out every day. Now I just cover it and it stays outside year round.

The other day when I pulled the cover from the sight I was greeted by a little green tree frog. I didn’t flick him off.  I figured he would move when he was ready.  He did move.


Setting Yardage

Sighting for distances is boring to me.  I almost feel like I am wasting time. Still, it has to be done.

New limbs with new poundage mean changing elevation graduation on the sight to match distance.  When I do this I start at 20 yards and work back to 80 yards.  I do this in five-yard increments. It takes a long time.

A little low, still too low, finally pretty good

At each distance I shot 10 arrows knowing many of the ‘off’ shots are caused by me and not the bow. Once he sight graduations have been recorded I do it again.

First try at 60 yards

If only one distance is involved, like 18 meters or 70 meters, it is less time consuming.  This year I’d like to try a few 3D tournaments with my Olympic recurve.  So, the yardage marks need to be more numerous.

Shooting to my left.

It is slow work.


Time to Move Outdoors – Finally

By the time indoor season began I was ready to move out of the cooler weather.  It was starting to get cold as winter approached. It’s been about five months since I began training predominantly indoors.  I am ready to get outside.

This past weekend held the last indoor tournament for me of 2022.  Those amounted to four events: Georgia 25 meter Indoor championship, USA Archery Indoor, Georgia USA Archery State Indoor, and the NFAA Georgia State Indoor/Sectional.

My last indoor tournament for 2022
Once again shooting next to the biggest fellow on the line. This giant is Chris why shoots barebow.



Those indoor events didn’t all go to plan.  I won two (GA-25 Meter, NFAA GA State Indoor) both in the senior division.  I shot Nationals with the 50-year-old fellows and finished 10th using warped limbs.  The GA USA Indoor was a bust finishing 2nd in my age group.  Those up and down finishes happen in archery.


I am eager to begin flinging arrows for longer distances.

New Target – seems heavy duty. Getting started with the longer shots



Messed Up Fun at the USA Indoor Nationals

After 18 months of recurve archery I felt ready for a major tournament.  My average scores during training at 18 meters were on track.  The poundage increase was at a holding point.  Then it fell apart.

The first indicator was the placement of my arrows.  The groupings were less consistent.  At times I’d catch sight of an arrow in flight with a cockeyed path.  When I pulled arrows they’d often have a variety of angles as they poked into the target.

It wasn’t awful.  I blamed it on hand placement. I was mistaken.

The mistake was bent limbs.  These weren’t expensive limbs.  They were 42# limbs retailing for $149.00.  I’d moved up in poundage from 32#, 36#, 40# then 42# over 18 months.  The latest upgrade, to 42# was new.  I was at 8000 or so arrows when my scores began to decrease.  An expert bow tech pointed out, as I was leaving the range after practice, the limbs seemed warped.

He doubled checked the limbs.  His associate verified is claim.  It isn’t like they were working towards a sale of limbs.  That particular shop doesn’t offer ILF limbs.

To triple check I drove to another town with a bow shop where they do have IFL limbs, World Champion archers train there, and their bow tech are some of the best in the work. The bow tech there when I arrived is well known around the world.  One look and he confirmed the 42# limbs were bend.  At this point it is two weeks away from the USA Indoor Nationals where I’d registered to compete.

Of course, it was the weekend, late Saturday afternoon and closing time for most archery shops.  On Monday I called Lancaster Archer to let them the under warranty limbs had been confirmed warped.  When I told them who verified the malfunction they didn’t even question me.  They gave me a return authorization.  As soon as they received the limbs I’d have a full credit toward an exchange.  The limbs left for Pennsylvania on Tuesday.  They would arrive at LAS on Thursday February 10th. (9 days before the Nationals)

In the meantime I only had 40# set $149.00 limbs to use for practice.  Going down 2# felt light.  Sadly, my scores didn’t improve.  In fact, they got worse. We, the local bow techs and I, noticed the 40# limbs warped worse than the 42# limbs.

While the warped limb potential remedy was under discussion an ex-pro golfer (top 10 PGA earning golfer, Tim Simpson) and bare bow archer had dropped in and was listening.  He noticed the $149.00 limbs and said, “I was pretty good at golf, but I couldn’t have won shit with clubs from Wal-Mart.”

Yeah, I get it.  I knew my gear was entry level.  I’m entry level. There’s no point in buying expensive gear until you are ready for expensive gear.

The remedy turned out to be a Galaxy Solstice IFL riser and the same 40# WNS limbs. The thinking here is that the PSE riser was the root cause of the limb problem.

This set up didn’t do much.  The bow felt very light.  The serious problem was the arrow rest.  On Thursday February 17th, two days before the Nationals I noticed the plastic Hoyt rest was cracking.  No one anywhere near had another arrow rest available.

An archery coach at the shop told me if the little plastic arm breaks off the arrow would still sit in the rest. “Just make sure you don’t let it fall off before you shoot,” he added.  Well, Easton X7 (the arrows I shot for indoor) arrows have a larger diameter than X10 and that whole ‘don’t let the arrow fall off the rest’ wasn’t confidence booster. It was easily foreseeable the plastic Hoyt rest would fail soon.

That afternoon, February 17th, the PSE riser returned to action.  It has a nice arrow rest. Before it was tested I’d tweaked the bow in every imaginable way possible.  This led to the bowstring at least lining up into the string grooves.  Looking at the bow during full draw it was plan to see the letter ‘S’ produced.

Friday February 18th I left for Newberry, Florida and the Easton Sport Complex. I’d paid; I’d rented an Airbnb, and was going compete for the experience. That’s when things really feel apart.

The Airbnb I rented was advertised an old quiet Southern home located in the charming city of High Springs.  The house was old.  Down stairs was a store.  Next-door there was a construction site on one side and a pizza joint on the other.  Directly across was a nightclub all on a busy intersection.  I knew this wasn’t realistic relating to quiet.

I pointed out the noise and the ‘Host’ offered to go buy me some earplugs.  She claimed success sleeping using earplugs.  I thanked her and told her I had earplugs with me. I needed them – they didn’t do much good.

I searched for anywhere else to stay. My wife searched online from home. We came up short.  My wife suggested I simply come home. I was stuck. A nightly live band outside across the street that can shake a building or house is beyond the 32 dB earplug comfort zone.

To make matters worse the upstairs of the old Southern house had no heat. The bed only had a sheet and spread.  By early Sunday morning there was no electricity. The temperature at night was in the 30s.  I used everything I could find: towels and clothes to pile on top of me at night for warmth while I lay awake listening to a band and being shaken by their drums and bass.  I could literally hear the words being belted out. Under different conditions I’d have enjoyed it. The band was good. They were not conducive for sleeping.

The first day of the tournament I honesty tried. By the second day I truly could have cared less where my arrows landed.  I used the event for practice.

When I got home my wife’s brothers came over for dinner.  One of them asked me, “So what ‘life lesson’ did you learn?” He was referring to the Nationals.  For a few minutes I simply stared at him.

Nothing that wasn’t foreseeable occurred.  I took a chance on an Airbnb, which I’d expected might not be great.  It wasn’t, it was as awful as everything I’d imagined.  My archery equipment did as well as possible considering the warped limbs.  I shot consistently on the low side of my scoring bell curve.  I shot the same as I’d been doing since the limb problem started.

I found the question both arrogant and condescending. He is, however, my wife’s brother so I kept my initial response to myself and said, “Never stay at an Airbnb that is a room in a stranger’s home and the best pizza ever is at The Steak Out in High Springs, FL.”

Big Bang

Over a decade ago we were living in Easton, Maryland.  For those of you that don’t know Easton, it is in Talbot County on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  Eastern Shore isn’t a proper name, still in Maryland it is commonly started with capital letters while the western shore remains lower case.

During that time, at home, I had finished practicing music, playing my trumpet, and was walking downstairs. Brenda, my wife, heard me coming.  She was laughing and said to me, “You’ve got to watch this.”

It was a television show. Coming down the stairs I replied, “I’m not watching a TV show.”  Passing the television the show was being aired.  I heard some of the lines from the actors.  I stopped and listened for a few seconds.  Then, I said to Brenda, “I know these guys, what is this?”

Brenda just laughed as I sat down to watch the ‘Big Bang Theory.’

The ‘Big Bang Theory’ is now longer being produced.  I never did watch Big Bang while it was being aired.  I did, however, purchase the first three seasons and watched those.  That, too, ended at the beginning of season four.  I decided to wait until the show ended and start over.  I didn’t expect it would last twelve seasons.

Currently, Brenda and I are at season twelve episode ten.  As infrequently as we watch TV this has taken months to reach the end. ‘Big Bang’ is drawing to a close. I am primarily watching to see the quest appearances.  ‘Big Bang’ has had amazing quests such as Stephen Hawking and several Nobel Prize winners.

I am amazed at the lines of science the actors have been able to learn and speak with such ease.  I learned that all the equations displayed in the show are actual and not gibberish.  Although, once the character Amy was looking at a white board and commented on the “delta t” when there was no ‘delta t ‘ I could find. It may have been somewhere and I didn’t care enough to continue the hunt for the change she referenced. However, it seemed the dialogue and equations didn’t match.

What is most amazing is I  know the characters.

Not the fictional characters on ‘Big Bang’ or the actors portraying them.  I know the cast from the real life characters from which the fictional ones were created.  Again, not the exact characters but characters similar to the people being played on the show.

A lot of my friends are scientists.  Unlike the scientists on ‘Big Bang’ nearly all of my friends are or were very athletic.  Aside from that major difference many of my friends were or remain socially awkward.

There are many athletes that are scientists today. My close group of friends includes MDs and PhDs that have competed at National Championships, International competitions, World Championships and Olympics.

Off the top of my head I know of 6 Olympic Golds and 2 silvers in that group.  One silver medalist was a high jumper.  She and I worked together for years as Respiratory Therapists. There’s a PhD that remains one of my closest friends.  We raced bicycles to together for years before we both moved on to the Medical College of Georgia.  One Olympian (Gold and Silver medalist) and I worked hard to create a sports research center.

Last week someone asked me what compelled me to compete.  I’ve been giving that thought. I know that when my cycling career seemed over my wife encouraged me to, “Get a real job.”

I did.  I started with an Associates of Science on Respiratory Therapy.  Completing my education (while working) took on all the competitive drive replacing sports.  I didn’t slow down until I’d earned a PhD, Masters, and a Juris Doctor. (That’s 2 doctorates and a Masters degree – same as Dr. Sheldon Cooper’s academic credentials) Whatever the drive had been in sports I felt it in academics.

I don’t yet has a grasp on what it is that makes athletes or academics compete.  The scientists represented in ‘Big Bang’ were portrayed as competitors in their fields.  Albeit, somewhat less so in athletics.

It Is Cold Again

Winter near Athens, Georgia is mild compared to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania or Cleveland, Ohio.  It is mild compared to Easton, Maryland and even milder than New Hope, North Carolina.  All of these are places where we’ve lived.  Mild is relative.

Practicing archery in cold temperatures is more of a challenge than during the warmer months.  Practicing with a compound bow is less of a challenge compared to an Olympic recurve.  The issue comes down to strings and fingers.

Wearing additional apparel to practice with a compound bow isn’t too great of a problem.  The same amount of clothing needed to stay warm shooting an Olympic recurve (recurve) changes things.  That is because the angle of the string isn’t the same for the two bows.

The compound bow is often shorter and the string angle is more acute than a recurve. This means the string rarely has interference from clothing.  The recurve has less of an angle and can touch clothing when bundled on for warmth. Warm clothing is often ‘puffy’ and can interfere with the recurve string.

Obviously, an arm guard helps as do chest protectors help with a recurve.  I use both during winter months.  Still, I can’t wear a nice down filled vest – it is simply too ‘puffy.’  I had a perfect one for winter training while shooting a compound bow.

I do my best to stay warm while shooting outdoors.  I also shoot several days a week at a local range, at the ACE Hardware in Social Circle, Georgia.  I buy the monthly range pass and get there 4 to 5 times a week in the morning.  (The ACE range is closed on Sunday and Monday) In the afternoon when it warms up I practice on my range rather than making the hour round trip back to Social Circle.

In order to shoot okay during the colder afternoons I try to find a balance of apparel for warmth and apparel that won’t hang up in my bow string.  The result is I stay cold even with an outdoor propane heater nearby.

The heater helps. I shoot, stand next to the heater, go pull arrows, return to the distance for shooting, stand next to the heater then repeat the process.  I make sure I am standing a bit away from the heater while shooting. There’s no gain in melting the fletching on arrows or catching myself of fire.

Granted the winter here in Georgia is mild compared to winter in Cleveland.  But, two long t-shirts and a thin vest don’t do a lot for thermal regulatory support.  Fortunately, I typically burn a bit hot and am able to get through training in the winter without a whole lot of archery burdensome clothing.  Still when the temperature is in the 30s it is cold out there. That is when finger tips start to sting on release of the string.

Last winter the skin on my right ring finger split open while practicing.  It took a while to heal and would bleed every time I practiced.  So far the callouses on my finger tips are holding solid.