Planning 2015

For decades I established my race and training plan each December. Typically, I’d be in front of my computer sitting in a hotel on a business trip. From there I’d lay out my calendars, work meetings, holidays, and vacations. It was important to me and with the support of my colleagues I’d make an annual plan.

IMG_0605
Press release photo from my business life

In my work I traveled around the world. These trips were expensive; I flew business class and stayed in nice hotels. This meant trips had to be well planned. They were rarely canceled. After plans were prepared for an international trip, I’d search that country for races where I could compete then try to enter. As a result, I’ve been able to compete in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. In the US I truly don’t recall all the states where I’ve raced since 1971.

Tokyo Marathon
Registration at the Tokyo Marathon

Scheduling is now more complex because I’ve added archery. I shot in the early 70’s but didn’t compete. Today, I compete in archery. My entrance into competitive archery came following a 35-year hiatus from the sport. So, I’ve been learning to shoot a compound bow (until last year I’d only shot a recurve) and learning where to and how to compete in archery.

IMG_1802
Learning the ropes at the IBO World Championships

Lying on my desk, for 2015, are 12 archery tournaments, one duathlon, one ultra-cycling race, one marathon, a 10K and four 4K events. These events get me to June on my calendar. From these I’ll have to associate them with where I’ll be living at the time: Maryland, North Carolina, or Georgia. Next, I have to choose which ones to enter then add June through December.

IMG_2455
My desk in Maryland, working on my 2015 schedule

Once I complete my calendar I’ll set goals for each event as well as a primary goal for 2015 along with secondary goals and contingency plans for post-goal advancement. That means, there will be A, B, and C events. It also means there will be post-goal plans for cases where a goal is achieved earlier than expected.1910606_1513194688909664_6165450213979521118_n

C-Man Swim

IMG_0575

All of this rides on top of training plans. These plans include: shooting, swimming, cycling, running, and weight lifting. It is a lot to consider and plan. These are times when I miss my coach and trainer from the days I was purely a cyclist. In those days, it was all planned for me. With the addition of archery, I have started this process a couple of weeks early.

IMG_0211
My cycling Coach Nestor Gernay (dark suit) with the great Eddy Merckx

Winter Training and Practice Day

Yesterday it was too cold, at least for this misplaced Savannahian, to do much outdoors. Still, I needed to exercise and practice. To accomplish both I made use of a gym and the indoor range at Cypress Creek Archery, in Millington, MD.

A quarter of a century ago I was in a meeting on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th. In Savannah St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday and we hold a parade. The weather typically allows short pants, but many people dress more formally in celebration. From my office window, on this March 17th, I stared at snow falling. This was my first encounter with cold.

th-2
Cypress Creek Archery, Millington, MD

Since then I’ve become more familiar with northern climates. Working in Sweden in January and February brings cold to an entirely new level. I am not referring to the nice winters of Stockholm or Uppsala. I mean driving on frozen rivers and attending meetings in Umeå. Winter in northern Sweden gave me a new appreciation of cold.

images

In Edmonton, Alberta Canada my physician friends described to me the frozen people they’d find each winter. These were folks that had gone out for a drink after work. When they arrived home they sometimes weren’t able to open the doors of their homes. So, they’d wait outside until someone came to help them. During the wait they’d freeze to death. The winter I spent in Cleveland and the years in Pittsburgh and Baltimore seem tame by comparison.

IMG_2454
Getting my equipment prepared for practice.

What all these frozen conditions taught me was to stay warm. On Tuesday I did just that – worked out in a gym, ran a treadmill and practiced indoors. There would be time for getting back outside soon enough.

Fountain of Life Sportsmen’s Indoor 3D tournament.

Our house in North Carolina is being completely renovated. This means the property is a construction site. We’d stay away from this house except for periodic reviews of the progress meaning a few one night stays. Our first one night stay turned out to be building site bivouac and occurred during our trip from Georgia to Maryland. We stopped in North Carolina so that I could compete at the Fountain of Life Sportsmen’s Indoor 3D tournament in Elizabeth City, NC.

In September I’d visited the “Soul Hunters” indoor range where they were constructing the facility to house a 3D course. The work was impressive. There I was introduced to Woody and Cliff by a mutual friend retired US Navy Chief Norman Mitchell. The work underway made it obvious this was going to be an exciting range on which to shoot.

IMG_2435
Sign in for the event

Brenda and I left NC for GA to hunt and get out of the North Carolina work zone that was once our abode. After several weeks in Georgia we needed to head north, to Maryland, to check on our property in Easton. We’d been away about 6 weeks and it was time to visit and for a race. Rather than drive straight through, we stopped in Hertford in order to shoot in the 3D tournament.

The night tournament was held on Friday with a causal start from 5:00 PM until 8:00 PM. As archers arrived, they would be assigned groups of five. That group would then take shots at four foam animals in front of five stations for a total of 20 shots. Each archer had 2 minutes to compete four shots. My last tournament gave me the same 2 minutes, but at 3 targets of a known distance – 18 meters. This was going to be a bit more difficult. Arriving early I was placed into the first group along with my friend Norman Mitchell.

IMG_2436
Norman, hitting a 12

Before the first arrow was fired, Cliff gave an opening prayer.  Cliff,  delivered a sincere, friendly, and concise heavenly offering. Later, I congratulated him on a prayer well said.

IMG_2067
Cliff

After Cliff’s prayer the tournament was underway. Having never competed in an indoor 3D completion, I made one mistake – I broke out my binoculars. On this range, binoculars are not permitted and Woody quickly and politely let me know.

IMG_2066
Woody, score keeper for the event

Shooting indoor 3D was a blast. The turnout seemed good, at least, based on my experience. There was plenty of good food that I resisted considering I’d need to hurry through the course and return home. Brenda was there and would be pleased if I got back sooner rather than later.

IMG_2433
Archers mingling in front of the range

Because I rushed I wouldn’t be around for awards. I’d been shooting pretty good and thought I might have earned a place among the top archers. Norman let me know he’d heard my score that was much lower than I’d anticipated, so missing the awards wasn’t going to hurt.

I said my goodbyes and headed back to Hertford, NC. Shortly afterwards I heard from Norman. He’d asked for a recount of my totals. The new count improved my score by 30 points and moved me into second place. It was good news and Norman let me know that for the second time, he’d collected my trophy. Thank you, Norman!

IMG_2431

Brenda and I would be back on the road  on Saturday. I still had a race to complete in Preston, Maryland on Sunday. The stop in NC and the tournament in Elizabeth City was well worth the effort. The friends and fellowship among this group is pleasant and made for an excellent evening regardless of the competitive results.

Leaving Georgia for now

Hunting is done for a few weeks. We’re going to miss the warm days and Georgia Whitetail. The woods were spectacular and filled with turkey. There wasn’t a day when we didn’t see them. In December we’ll be here for pigs. Once the end of March arrives those turkey we’ve been watching will be on the docket.

IMG_2429
Not a bad haul for a short trip

One more day

Ray and I had a short hunt today. Brenda and I went to Eatonton, GA in the morning while Ray ran errands. That ate up most of our day.  We were able to work in 3 afternoon hours in the woods.

IMG_2422
Ray climbing into the ‘luxury suite”

We hunted until dark. Sadly, neither of us was able to take a shot. Tomorrow is our last day of hunting until December. It would be nice to add at least one more deer to what we’ve gotten this week.  We remain optimistic.

IMG_2423
View from my stand

No luck today, but so far so good.

Torn between watching football on Sunday afternoon or going hunting earlier than we’d planned we chose hunting. There would be plenty of football during the evening and at night. Brenda, Ray and I planned to get a full afternoon of hunting and hoped for deer and a pig. We got neither.

IMG_2397
View from our stand

Brenda and I shared a tree stand. There were animals surrounding us. They got louder and closer as the sun began to set. None, however, would move out of the thickets. Ray, in a stand some distance away had the same results. Perhaps, we’ll have better luck tomorrow. Not that we’ve drawn a total blank, we’ve gotten two deer over four days.

IMG_2396
Brenda, hopeful, as we begin our wait

Wonderful Tournament in Madison, GA

The EAC 1st Annual Star FITA Indoor was on Saturday November 8th in Madison, GA. Archers came from Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia to compete. The competition was held the Morgan County Elementary School Gym.

eacflyer3

During my last hunting trip to Georgia, a few weeks ago, I discovered the event while searching for a shoot on the Internet. We would be returning to Georgia for more hunting and to attend Grandparent’s Day at my grandson’s school in Athens. I signed up for the event.

On the day of the tournament I arrived early so I could watch the morning shooters, sign in before the crowd and get some lunch. There was a 9:00 AM and 1:00 PM start time for shooters.

IMG_2381
Morning group checking scores

The two sessions had archers shooting at 60 cm or 40 cm faced targets. There were up to four targets per backstop. These backstops are large. I hoped I’d be assigned one of the lower targets. I got an upper target.

The foursome I shot with was from Georgia, North Carolina, and Alabama. Mike, from Alabama is tall. He must have been 6 feet 8 inches. He got an upper target and was pleased with the arrangement. I am a foot shorter than Mike, I was not so pleased.

IMG_2387
Mike, the tall fellow, me in the red hat.

My displeasure wasn’t the placement of the target; the problem was I could just reach the top arrow. Even on tiptoes I could barely grab the arrow. All of them were high and they were a struggle to remove. Following each end there was an awkward moment or two where I couldn’t pull the arrows with any finesse. Mike helped a lot which eased my suffering and kept us moving along.

Aside from those end following struggles the tournament ran well and ran fast. The judges focused on delivering shoot specific rules and information and didn’t use their positions to make small talk or try to entertain. Sixty arrows with a full house isn’t a sprint and needless monologues can make a long day. Everyone appreciated the judges’ professionalism.

IMG_2390
(L-R) Andy, David, John, and Mike

I ended up shooting 21 points lower than my average scores since March. Still, I walked away with a 3rd place in the Masters division. But, the main highlight was that my cousin, Neil, drove over from Conyers, GA to watch.

IMG_2391
River proudly wearing my medal She does this with all my medals: triathlon, cycling, running and archery

The last time we’d seen each other we were in our teens. During the tournament I noticed him in the bleachers. I kept looking at him thinking, “Who is that guy?” At the break he walked over and asked, “How are you shooting?” I told him, “Well, I’m not hitting the lights or bouncing arrows off the floor, so pretty good.” He then asked, “Do you know who you’re talking to?” I guessed his brother, Payson.

IMG_2388
Couple of ‘Boys”, Neil and me.

After the tournament we had dinner together. There was not nearly enough time to catch up – 45 years covers a lot of ground. Neil’s a bit underweight at the moment (50 pounds). He’s had a tough time with a serious surgery but is on the mend. It was an unexpected treat and I really appreciated his effort. What a great day.

Prepped for tournament with another hunt to follow

This Friday, we got back from Athens, GA too late to rush out and hunt. Tomorrow I’ll be competing in Madison, GA so hunting isn’t going to happen on Saturday. Sunday there will be hunting until football starts. On Monday, we’ll be back in the woods, again.

IMG_2268

In Athens we attended Grandparent’s Day at Athens Academy. There one of our grandsons, Sean (my occasional archery and fitness coach) attends school. Sean is four and already an expert on many topics.

Athens Academy was very impressive. Visiting the campus almost made me want to go back to school. Following the program Brenda and I ate lunch then headed back to Tignall. Once I’d prepared my gear for tomorrow tournament it was too late to head out to hunt.

We’ll definitely hunt on Sunday – at least until football begins. From out previous hunts we’ve loaded up enough venison to feed us though several months. What I want is pork. A couple of smaller pigs will do the trick.

M2E60L197-197R382B332
See you on Sunday

I know where the pigs are hanging out. Pigs are migratory. Once they eat all they can in one area they move to the next. Scouting I found fresh spots where they’d been rooting and rubbing trees. We have a tree stand ready and that is were I’ll be on Sunday. As a fall back Monday is on deck.

eacflyer3
First things first

Another successful hunt

When we took the deer to be processed we learned that bucks are running between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM. We’d entered the woods at 2:30 PM. We didn’t see any bucks but I did get another doe.

IMG_2355
This is a very comfortable stand

“We need to reduce the doe population on the land” here in Tignall, Ray, my father-in-law, exclaims. There are a lot of does posing on the trail cameras. The pigs seem to be a bigger problem and we both agree that population needs to be reduced.   On Sunday, I intend to hunt an area where I know there will be pigs.

As far a deer go I have two, which is probably enough until next year. I’ve not really focused on pigs this fall. I’ve gone out twice, half-heartedly, to shoot a pig. Those attempts left me empty handed. The smaller wild pigs taste good and barbecue pork, domestic or wild, is fine with me.

The pig hunt must wait until Sunday. Tomorrow and Saturday I am out of the woods. Ray is headed back to hunt. He’s inspired by the buck report we’d gotten from the deer processors. While we were dropping off my doe a group was gathered around a 187 lb. buck one of them had shot. After seeing that deer there is no keeping the 87 year old out of the woods.

IMG_2373
Hope we meet again in a few months by feathery friend

Today was windy day with a light rain that didn’t last long. The wind blew until 5:30 PM. For hours all I’d seen was one turkey and one deer. That deer too was a doe. She was too far off for a shot. The doe I ended up shooting wasn’t her; mine was smaller.

IMG_2372
A windy, rainy day turned out pretty nice

Even though she was smaller, she was still big enough. Ray and I had to work together to load her onto the Polaris Ranger. As we were loading the deer Ray tripped and fell. Now, Ray is no spring chicken. He is 88 in a few months. Nevertheless, his face plant while hanging onto a deer had us both cracking up. He was talking, walking while holding the deer’s rear legs, then ‘flop’ he was on his face in the dirt. I am pretty sure he didn’t stop talking until there was dirt in his mouth.

When Brenda, my wife, heard the story of her dad’s fall (we’d incorrectly thought she’d enjoy the tale) she gave me that ‘look’ and asked if I helped Ray up. I had to be honest and said, “No.” Ray added, “He couldn’t help me up. He was laughing too hard.” Which didn’t improve my standing with Brenda. In defense I pointed out, “Well, he started laughing first.” Then, both Ray and I remained silent, hoping for the best. The reward for keeping silent was her stern look at Ray and this jab, “You’re going to be sore tomorrow!” Neither Ray nor I offered further protest.

Tomorrow, Brenda and I are off to Athens to attend one of our grandson’s school activities for grandparents. Ray will be back in the woods. He’ll probably get a nice deer and have stories of wild adventure. I’ll share how I sat in a medal folding chair and listened to school officials beg for donations or a place of high value in my will.

Fixin’ to hunt

Yesterday, we scouted the property for signs of deer and pigs. We removed the SIM cards from trail cameras for further evaluation. Then we returned home to sight bows and plan.

th
We’ll be waiting

We’ll haul a Polaris Ranger behind Ray’s truck this afternoon. The area we hunt is 679 acres and the Polaris saves time hiking. It is also handy carrying out animals.

IMG_2351
Our ride for today

We’ve identified areas most likely where deer will emerge near sunset. In the meantime, I sighted my hunting bow, a Mathews ZXT, and practiced a bit with my Apex 7 for the tournament on Saturday.

IMG_2350
As always, I practice under the watchful eyes of River

Hopefully, we’ll have some profit from our efforts this afternoon. If not, there is only Sunday left to hunt. Friday we’re obligated to attend “Grandparents’ Day” at Athens Academy which might not get us back in time to hunt in the afternoon. On Saturday I’ll be shooting in Madison, GA.

IMG_2353
Speaking for myself,I am sighted at 20, 30, and 35 yards

This leaves Sunday for the last full day of hunting. We head back to NC on Monday were there is another tournament.