Clearing the 3D Range

We’re hours away from the packers arriving to begin the process of moving to Georgia. There is still snow on the ground. Luckily, it is beginning to warm up. Despite the snow, 18-meter practice continued. And it was time to bring in my 3D targets off the old range for their relocation further south.

Back and forth and back and forth

Some of the 3D targets are a little on the heavy side. Over the years as I hauled them out to their spots on the range I toted them in a wheel barrel. None are so heavy they can’t be hefted and hauled by hand. But, if there is an easier way to get work done that is the path for me. A wheel barrel is easier. All this snow on the ground meant no wheel barrel.

Back and forth and back and forth – only now hauling some 3D target.
River seemed a little nostalgic

Over the past few years I have spent a lot of time in the woods around here practicing 3D. The “Park”, as it is called, seemed empty without the patiently waiting foam critters. River, my dog, appeared puzzled by the lack of the forest menagerie.

When we get to Georgia, in 5 days (the movers bring our possessions in 19 days) I’ll begin planning how I’ll arrange the section of our land reserved for a new 3D range. It will take several months to get the new range completed. The woods we own in Georgia are dense with under brush. I don’t want to clear it all, I want to leave enough of the woods to make shots difficult and interesting. Each target will take some placement planning.

“Where is everything?”

In the meantime, there are all those spring and early summer USA Archery tournaments. 3D focus may become a 2019 project. That’s not to suggest there will be no 3D in 2018. Just less 3D than previous years.

Starting a pile of foam for the trip to Georgia

Selling A Really Special Place

On the first day we listed our home on the Little River we got an offer. The offer was $11,000 more than the asking price. There was another buyer waiting to write a contract standing on the porch of our house while this initial contract was being written inside the house. We accepted the contract. The potential buyers were from Richmond, VA. Both are real estate brokers.

In North Carolina the potential buyer can back out of the deal at anytime during the “due diligence” period and keep their earnest money. During this time, while this house was off the market, the Richmond couple backed out because they felt the taxes on the property where too low. Odd, I like low taxes and had hoped to keep them low as long as possible. We put the house back on the market.

To avoid anyone else thinking our taxes are too low we contacted our local tax office. The taxman came and did his job. Taxes will increase for 2018.

A few weeks later we received another offer, this time $5000.00 over asking price. We accepted. The house was back off the market. During the “due diligence” period this buyer, also from Richmond, decided she’d rather move to Costa Rica and withdrew her offer. Her earnest money was back in her hands. We put the house back on the market.

We had one person that knows the area who drove here from Richmond to see our property. She loved the house and wanted it. It would an easy deal for her and her husband. Her husband, a city boy, squashed the potential sell.

The real estate market is sort of asleep from Thanksgiving to New Year. After that, around here things pick up. Just before New Year, we got another offer.

That offer was a contingency against the sell of the buyer’s current home. She wanted a “due diligence” period of nearly two months. She wanted the house off the market while she sold her home knowing that because this is North Carolina she could back out at any time during that period. We’d have the house off the market and from experience earnest money means nothing here. We didn’t accept that deal.

Over the past fourteen weeks that the property has been on the market it has been shown 14 times. Of the people that looked at the house 21% of them wrote a contract. The house has been off the market twice being “under contract”. Under contract does not mean we can’t or wouldn’t consider other offers. It means that real estate agents are going to bother showing the property.

We’ve owned and sold eight houses. Every time we received a contract on those houses we accepted it and the property sold. One statistic on real estate showings and contracts written is ten showing per one contract. We’ve certainly exceeded that ratio. The price isn’t an issue since 2/3 of the offers we’ve had were above the asking price. In fact, we paid for independent appraisal, which resulted in a property value $9000.00 above our asking price.

The real estate market here isn’t what we’ve seen in the past. I admit I am glad we have no mortgage on this house and we’ll not have one on the new house in Georgia. If this North Carolina property where 200 miles closer to our new home in Georgia I’d keep it.

When this house does sale someone will be getting a piece of paradise.

 

Yes Sir, It Is Cold Outside

We started a road trip to Georgia on the 19th of December. We returned to North Carolina on the evening of January 2nd. January 3, we had to stock up on groceries and unpack from the road trip. January 4th there was Winter Storm Grayson to deal with. Over those 17 days it was only possible to practice archery four times. Typically, over the same duration there would have been 32 practice sessions.

At least the 50mph winds had died down

There is still snow on the ground from Grayson and the temperature  peaked around 27°F. Regardless, there was 18-meter archery practice. You might think, “Why not drive to a nearby indoor range?” Simply, nope, no way. The roads are covered with snow and ice. In this part of the country there are plows, but snowplows are a rarity.

It was so cold I had to place the pen used to record arrows and notes on the space heater to keep the ink flowing

When it comes to shooting in the cold there is a space heater in the shed where I stand. However, the doors to the shed must remain open during the shooting. The little space heater did all it could but the temperature in the shed didn’t go above 28°F. When it came to timing how long to stay in the cold, my “toes knows” when to stop. When they felt frozen I’d stop, go inside, thaw before heading back out.

I heated these boots before putting them on. They felt great for a few minutes.

Practice was awful. It’s hard to know if the sorry shooting was the lack of practice, the cold, all the clothes being worn to fight the cold, or the combination of all three. Regardless of the reason, the practice scores were two of the lowest three scores I’ve shot since USA Archery switched to the smaller 10 ring.

Snow covered toes.

Grayson Sucks

Winter storm Grayson has left us a bit cooled off here in the Deep South. The cold won’t last too long; we’re back into the 60s in a few days. In the meantime, it’s seriously cold. By that I mean highs in the 20s and lows in the single digits for the next two days. (Yep, just more two days)

Yesterday was mostly spent indoors. That was about all I could take of four walls. Before sunrise I was outside. I’ll be shooting, standing next to a space heat in another hour or so. But, Grayson is not a friend to me.

Grayson did have an interesting impact on Little River. Whereas much of the northeast is dealing with coastal flooding, Grayson passed us and sucked water from the Little River.

Our pier is 42 yards long. The ice extends past our dock.

It is Freezing Here – No, it’s not that warm.

There’s about eight inches of snow on the ground. The wind is howling. The temperature with the wind chill is 18°F. My targets are frozen together and my bow is colder than ice. All in all pretty miserable.

River has no problem with cold.

I know some folks love the cold. Otherwise states like Montana and North Dakota would have populations less than a city like Atlanta. Oh wait; Montana and North Dakota do have populations less than Atlanta. Still between those two states there’s nearly two million people living in the cold. (That’s still less than the population of Georgia’s Capitol.)

Nope, no archery today

To be honest, I have lived in cold places. I’ve lived in Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Cleveland. I’ve also had my primary office in Boston and Mölnlycke (Sweden) where I spent an abundance of time. Right now it is warmer in Mölnlycke than here in New Hope, North Carolina. (34°F in Mölnlycke and 27°F without the wind chill that’s making it feel like 18°F.) Twice I’ve taken trips north of the Artic Circle. From those experiences I know I am not one to love the cold.

Even the birds look cold

Fortunately, as we migrate future south the winters become milder and shorter. Yes, it is cold here at the moment; next week we’re expecting highs back into the lower 60s and upper 50s.

This cardinal is looking forward to some thaw

Despite the current conditions I did go outside. I didn’t shoot or run. I was going to shoot but the stack of three frozen together blocks took the steam out of that idea. Running on ice and snow is dumb. There was no running today. River ran she loves the snow.  Then, she is built for cold. She ran and I walked.

Aside from a few escapes outdoors, I spent the day dealing with changes addresses for our upcoming move to Georgia, where it will be warmer still. My hometown of Savannah, Georgia got a little snow from this storm that hit many of us.  My friends and family there are pretty excited by it. Then, it will be 65°F there with the next 72 hours.  Heck, I expect the snow that arrived there a few hours ago is already gone.

“Mama’s” house on Isle of Hope, Ga. (Savannah) Photo taken by my sister, Cynthia.

Nope, having grown up in the deep South and not owning an overcoat until moving to Baltimore when I was 35 years old, I have no issue missing the cold and snow. (I do own several now)

Running with the Big Dog

River turned seven a few days ago. Since we picked her up at 8 weeks old she’s been at my side nearly non-stop. Right now she’s sleeping on her bed seven feet to my left. She is a great companion.

Not running at the moment. Here she’s chewing a stick and supervising 50-meter archery practice

A couple of days ago I got to thinking about the miles we run together. We’ve run in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia. I don’t keep a tight log of the miles we’ve run. I’ll go months with gaps where I don’t track running miles. For example, after I complete some race and it’s the end of a season I’ll run, but I won’t log the miles. I keep running because River keeps running.

We’re often joined by other characters while we run

The longest distance we’ve run together is 13.1 miles. For years we ran an average of 6 miles a day. Between our runs River still runs and chase things and critters. She’ll also go swimming at the drop of a hat.

When she’s off doing her own thing I don’t know if she’s running, walking or a little of both. So, I can’t say just how far she’s traveled with me at her side – or nearby. What I can esitmate is that with me she’s run 9709 miles. That’s a lot of miles considering we kept her running limited to play until she was 6-months old. From six-months to a year we only ran about 1.5 miles together per day. We built up her mileage. In those days, we’d run then I’d take her home and continue running. She did not like be left at the house.

Lately, we’ve been running 3 to 6 miles a day. She’s a Labardor I know she’s reached about the half-way point of her life expectancy. I consider each run and adventure we have as one of those great gifts that can arise between and man and dog.

This moving stuff

Getting a new house is exciting. Getting one that we don’t have to immediately renovate is nice. Here’s the thing, before we’ve set foot in the door we’ve changed ceilings, customized closets, had kitchen plans modified, added trim work everywhere inside the house, changed the driveway, and picking out everything from flooring to roofing. The past few days we’ve hired someone to build a custom shed on the property, found a fence guy, and met with a landscaper to work on the 3D range.

The landscaper was a lucky find. He’s also an archer. He’s not the landscaper that is currently doing our landscaping. Both are archers. The current guy is too busy. The new guy, Andy is our new next-door neighbor. As such, a lucky find.

The other landscaper guy told me he was so busy he had no idea when he might have time to help design my 3D range. However, he mentioned that there is a free 3D range just 15 minutes from our new house. Needing a break from spending money I decided to search for this free 3D range.

Certainly uninteresting shots but good for judging yardage.

I found it. In fact, it is only 15 minutes from my house. But, it is simply 3D targets set up on a range. It’s not 100% free. You need to have a Georgia DNR Hunting license. So, aside from that fee, which I pay anyway, I’m good to go on the DNR range.

Today wasn’t the day to test the free range. It was too cold and windy.  Still hoping to shoot my bow on the round trip home, I stopped at Ace Hardware Social Circle. Now where I wrote ‘home’ I am referring to my daughter’s house in Watkinsville. We’re staying with her while we add a few finishing touches to our house in progress.

Oh, I can’t wait to shoot this big fellow.

In Social Circle Ace is the Place to shoot indoors. It was nice to get some practice. On this trip, we left about 10 days ago; I’ve only gotten in three practice sessions. Today made the fourth. On a more positive note, running is above par and cycling is just below on my current training plan.

Trying to compensate for some loss of hours training, running and riding were on today’s agenda along with archery. Running and riding in the cold really takes it out of me. I’ve been asleep since I began writing this post.

Talent Transfer

It was not my intention to be competitive in archery. It was only suppose to be a backyard pastime. Then, I read, “Faster, Higher, Stronger: The New Science of Creating Superathletes, and How You Can Train Like Them” by Mark McClusky.

In his book McClusky writes there are two sports where an athlete over 50 can be an elite: shooting and archery. He further writes about talent transfer and the 10,000 rule. Looking into this with more depth archery became a sport wherein I decided to become competitive.

The first order of business, aside from getting a bow, some arrows, and such, was to determine if that 10,000 hour rule could be broken by a 59 year old cyclist/triathlete turned archer. There also needed to be a measure of where that might be properly evaluated.

The measure I selected as a goal was equivalency in cycling. At my best, as a cyclist I won State Road, time trial and sprint Championships in the same year. In 2017 in archery I won State Indoor, Outdoor and 3D Championships. It took less than 48 months to achieve those objectives in archery. It did not take 10,000 hours.

The 10,000 hour rule is based on what judges might say is a summary of the time it take anyone to became an elite performer. I do not have 10,000 hours of archery practice under my belt. Because I’ve some championships does that mean I’ve broken the 10,000 rule to become an elite performer in archer? Simply, no.

Look at three archers considered elite: Brandon Gillenthien, Jesse Broadwater, and Reo Wilde. Their last published scores for 120 arrows at 18-meters comes to an average score of 1183 or 1190, 1190, and 1170, respectively. My best score for 120 arrows at 18-meters in 1158 or 2.1% lower than the elites’ average over one event where they competed. While 2.1% doesn’t look like a lot it is a huge difference – 25 points. It is this variance that separates me from an elite based strictly on score.

Cadel Evans, mountain biker (photo from:http://www.treadmtb.co.za/cape-epic-2017-day-6-tread-notes-observations/)

The next question is how long will it take to close that 25-point gap? As a rule, I generally know how many arrows I shoot per year. I have not kept hours of practice logged but do have a rough estimate of 1250 hours per year. Along with the 10,000 rule this matches the eight-year rule. The eight-year rule says it takes eight years of deliberate practice to become an elite. At my current rate of practice I should reach the elite level in 2020. However, my improvement percentage change year on year has me reaching the scoring level for elite status late 2018 or early 2019.

Cadel Evans, Tour de France Champions (photo:http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/cadel-evans-the-legacy-of-australias-greatest-rider/)

What I have learned is that Talent Transfer from cycling, for example, to archery has only minor advantage. The main benefit is focus on training. In cycling there are a lot of long hours on the bike. In archery there are a lot of long hours on the range. Beyond that, the sports are so dissimilar that there is little crossover. It certainly isn’t like being a mountain bike rider that crosses over to road racing as in the case of Cadel Evans winner of the Tour de France (2011) and Olympic Mountain Bike racer (9th place Atlanta 1996).

Mountain Biking, Shooting and Ditching (Not in that order)

Ditching was first on the agenda. Not my agenda, River’s agenda. If you haven’t been a reader here you might not know who is River. River is my Labrador Retriever. I’ve not met a Lab that doesn’t love the water. River is crazy about water.

It rained hard here in Georgia yesterday. Every ditch and creek was brimming with water. River runs with me and this morning we headed out to run a trail we discovered yesterday. Knowing of a ditch that pools with water along the usual run I decided to avoid that direction. I was pretty sure we could get to the new trail a back way. It was an attempt to keep River out of the rain off ditch pool.

River has been smelling a bit ‘above bad’ having had a bath last week. It would be nice if she’d not stink when we’re visiting family. Were here in Georgia visiting family for Christmas. River doesn’t often have ‘nice’ wafting off of her coat. If she goes ditching (Ditching: jumping into a water filled earthy conduit and running as hard as possible) there is going to be stink.

It’s not that she’s naturally stinky. She works hard to reach an apex of olfactory funk. Rather than chance she’d jump into an overflowed ditch that forms such a tempting pool of water we headed in the opposite direction. That didn’t end up as planned.

The run put us at trails that simply called us forward. After nearly an hour of running it was becoming clear we were heading around a wide weaving circle. In the back of my mind a worry suggested we’d come out of the woods at a point where the pool would be between home and us. I considered turning back figuring that might add another 45 minutes to the run. That time would eat into archery practice. We remained on course. Plus, I wasn’t really up for nearly 2 hours of trail running.

It turned out my worry wasn’t unfounded. Once we cleared the woods my fragrant neutral dog hopes dimmed. Within two tenths of a mile there was the pool of rainwater. River was only 10 yards ahead, 30 yards from the water. She stopped as soon as she spotted her wet reward. Slowly she turned back toward me, gave dog grin and made a beeline for the ditch. I sprinted toward her and with increasing volume ordered her to stop. The louder I got the faster she sprinted.

River is a big girl at 105 pounds. She is all muscle. It always amazes me how much water she can displace at full tilt. There was no avoiding the bath to come. I did save time by not circling back only to lose it washing a dog.

Nevertheless, I got a decent ‘afternoon’ archery practice shooting at a 5-spot. The morning archery session was blown to washing River. I’d switched over from a 3-spot for a break. Since August 2  of this year every 5-spot practice has yielded a 300. But, if you shoot 5-spots a lot you know the X count is where the money waits. Only 47 X’s today. Frustrating.

The archery frustration was burnt off during an afternoon riding mountain bike. I wanted to follow the same trails we ran this morning only heading right rather than left (I already knew that was a wide circle) at a Y intersection.

At that point the trail begins to climb. Looking down at my Garmin I noted the mileage at the foot of the climb. That climb went on for one mile. The earlier rain made the path, having a base layer of red clay, one slippery exercise in staying upright and moving forward. Despite the greater than anticipated elevation in heart rate, to match the unforeseen length of the climb, it was a nice way to end the day. That and of course no broken bones or cuts.

Running and Shooting and Waiting Out the Rain

We’re back in Tignal, Georgia for a few days before we had off to Athens for Christmas. River and I hit the road before it rained. Man, has it rained. Running was pretty nice. First of all there was no rain. Secondly, there were lots of trails and double track to cruise.

Running along the sides of country roads isn’t bad primarily because we have minimal traffic. Getting totally off road is even better.

After an hour of trail running it was looking more and more like rain. Needing to get some archery practice in, having missed yesterday when we drove to Georgia from North Carolina, it was a rush to stay ahead of the guaranteed downpour.

This is a blast on a mountain bike

Both running and archery (at least the morning archery practice) were completed. Cycling and a second day’s archery practice now await cessation of rain.

The rain is easing off