That Was Awful

It was 37°F when I practiced this morning.  Cold by my standards.  The cold was something the wind was something else.

The wind was blowing so bad, gusts up to 30 mph, that it blew out my ‘Mr. Heater’ outdoor propane heater, repeatedly.  I’d see arrows kick their fletched end when caught by a gust – at 18 meters!

For the afternoon practice it had warmed to 39°F.  To compensate with the warmth the wind picked up.

When I came inside from practice my wife felt my hands.  She then said, “You must have wanted to shoot pretty bad.”

Cold and Rainy Practice

I can take the cold or I can take the rain but the cold and the rain is hard to take. This morning’s practice was both cold and rainy.  Practice was still practice.

If you’ve done a few outdoor archery competitions you may have been caught in the rain. Shooting in the rain is a condition that will happen if you enter enough archery tournaments that take place outside.  Archery doesn’t stop for rain.

Archery does stop for lightening.  Running around with a lightening rod in your hand can lead to shocking outcomes.  If the rain isn’t a storm that causes the judges to call the event and you want to finish you have to shoot through the weather.

It is a good idea to practice in the rain.  Typically, the rain is associated with outdoor distances.  Practice at the moment, here, is 18-meters.  So, I could have skipped the rain since it is unlikely I’ll ever face rain during an indoor tournament.

Nevertheless, I shot through this morning’s rain.  It wasn’t stormy weather just a constant light rain.  It actually became kind of fun.  The temperature was around 40°F so even the cold wasn’t horrible.

Sometimes is can be fun to break a daily pattern by practicing in less than optimal conditions.  Despite the conditions this morning I admittedly enjoyed the session. This afternoon, according the local weather report, should be dry.

Another Winter Day

I was hard to shoot today.  The weather was the matter.  It was cold and windy.

I’ve got a nice outdoor propane heater I stand near while shooting in the cold. It doesn’t get used until the temperature is below 40.  At 40 with the right amount of clothing it isn’t bad without the heater.  However, that right amount of clothing makes archery difficult.

Today I wore nearly the right amount of clothing and used the heater to compensate.  Had it not been for the wind 18-meter practice would have been fine.

Days like this it is easier to stay indoors. If we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic with unrealized promises of a vaccine no doubt I’d have been practicing on an indoor range. Alas, I remain antibody free and susceptible.

So, that means practicing in the cold, wind and at times rain.

It is Cold, Again

Like last winter and the winter before this winter is cold.  Unlike the prior winters I am not headed to an indoor range to practice.  The ranges where I’ve practiced in the past are mask free at the peak of a pandemic.  It is easier to warm up after practice than it is to recover from lung disease.

With that in mind I head outside and stand next to an outdoor propane heater trying to stay warm while not setting my self on fire.  The colder it becomes the layers of clothes I wear.  The more clothes I wear the lower my scores become.

It is a balance to wear the right number of layer and still be able to clear my bowstring on the release.

3 O’Clock 10 followed by a 3 O’Clock 10

This is Georgia so I know warmer weather isn’t that far away.

Cold!

While running the trails this morning it was cold, 24°F.  By the time I was outside shooting it had warmed up to 27°F.  When I finished shooting it had warmed to freezing.

I’d worn all the clothing possible and still be able to draw my bow.  The apparel wasn’t enough to stay remotely close to warm and too much for decent arrow placement.

An hour of cold was enough for the morning practice.

The NFAA Indoor Nationals

As I approached the site for my shot at the NFAA Quarantine Edition of the Indoor Nationals all I could think was “shit”.  There wasn’t a mask in sight.

The tournament venue for me was in Gwinnett County, Georgia.  That county has the second most Covid-19 cases in the state, around 50,000.

I’ll be 66 in a few months.  My age group is one of the harder hit clusters.

I had a mask with me.  My mask protects others by reducing my expiratory ‘plum.’

The others in this case, other archers, seemed not to care they might be asymptomatic.  Their ‘plums’ are harmful to me.

I left. I was and remain disappointed.

Yellow Game Another Rainy Day

It wasn’t all that rainy, but it did drizzle.  Not nearly as intense of a rain as during practice a few days ago.  The rain didn’t stop the yellow game.

As I’ve mentioned the yellow games is scoring the percentage of time an archer’s arrows land in the yellow.  I find it a fun way to move though a practice session.

Having changed to a recurve bow 35 days ago the yellow game is a fun challenge. The goal is to keep all the arrows in the yellow.

My recurve is not equipped with a clicker.  I think a clicker may help improve my yellow game percentages.  Still, repeating each shot as exactly as possible without a clicker is probably a fair way to train for now.

Today’s wet percentage was 52.5%.  That was after 10 ends of 8 arrows shooting a vertical 3-spot at 18 meters. The non-yellow strikes were primarily 8s with a couple of 7s and a couple of 6s.

I am already looking forward this afternoon when I repeat the game.

The Yellow Game

No, this isn’t a game about cowardice or micturition.  It is a fun practice challenge to land all arrows into the yellow of a target.

For some you work to land all arrows in the X circle of the yellow.  I’ve played that game with my compound bow.  I’ve never won. I have come close, but there was always an eight or two (red ring) to ruin it.

Thirty-four days ago I switched to an Olympic recurve.  Hitting the target seemed like a good place to start.

As my groups got tight, all in the target, I moved from the barn wall to a single spot 40 cm paper target. Next, I moved to a 3-spot to reduce the stress on my arrows.

The arrows are inexpensive.  They are truly beginner arrows, Easton Vector 1000, which you can purchase from your local archery shop for $70.00 per dozen or from Amazon for $66.00 per dozen.  Still, breaking these arrows is fairly easy.  Pop a nock and you’ll likely find a cracked shaft.

My Easton Vector 1000 arrows are a tad weak for my poundage.  I didn’t know that at the time I bought them.  I trusted without verifying.  I’ve done it before; I’ll do it again.  They’re pretty close and for a beginner learning I am not too disappointed.  If shoot three to four of these inexpensive arrows at the same target I don’t cry when one breaks.

That target right is the yellow of the vertical 3-spot.  Right now I am limiting the number of arrows per day to 70 in the morning and 70 in the afternoon.  I’d started at 50 in the morning and 50 in the afternoon and have been working my way up at weekly or so increase depending on how things feel.  It is easy to over do it and end up with an injury.

The yellow game is hard at present.  On August 20th, 28 days after receiving the Olympic recurve, I switched to a 3-spot.  It really isn’t any harder to hit than the larger single spot.  It is just as hard keeping all the arrows in the yellow rings.

It isn’t a game unless I’ve shot the quota of arrows scheduled for the practice session. In other words, if I shot 9 out of 10 on the first end and quit, that 90% doesn’t count.  I did once get chased inside because a rainstorm became too fierce after 40 arrows and those arrows didn’t apply.  No the full count of planned arrows must be achieved.  There’s no stopping early to prevent fatigue from lowering percentages.

Since the beginning of the game, now in its 14th day my average is only 48.2%.  So, out of 1104 arrows fired during the game 530 have hit yellow.  Not even half.

If you’re a numbers person you might think 1104 is not many arrows over that amount of time.  Those are only the Yellow Game arrows.  Over the month, thus far, the arrow count is 3355.  I play other games; the Yellow Game isn’t the only one. There’s the tournament game.  That game is for another for a future story.

Even so, simply looking at 3355 arrows for the 34 days I’ve owned a recurve you might think, “David’s not shooting a lot.”  Maybe you’re right.  But, over those 34 days 9 recovery days, a ½ day lost to routine dentistry and one full day lost so that I could get 15 sutures put into a slice on my right shoulder.  Fortunately, those stitches didn’t seem to bother me.  Well, at least my scores don’t seem to have been hampered.  At this point it is hard to tell.

On my worst day I shot only 31% of the arrows into the yellow at 20 yards, my best day was 71% or 50 out of 70 arrows.  I’ve not shot 10 arrows in a row into the yellow; the best has been 9 out of 10.

I try not to rush the practice but don’t want too much time spent walking back and forth to the target to pull arrows.  So, each end is 10 arrows. I’ve got plenty of targets to save arrows. It is a game, after all.

Shoot 3 Arrows, thaw

It was cold running this morning while running.  It is cold every winter. Nice things about winter and trail running are no snakes and no bugs.  During the run I was thinking that it will be cold shooting.  Most days like this one I try to shoot indoors.  However, I’ll be shooting indoors tonight in Social Circle and I didn’t want to spend the gas to make two trips.

River pausing during the run to take a sniff

This is how archery went:  Shoot three arrows, thaw, shoot three arrows, thaw….

It Has Turned Cold – Again – and Time for 3D

Weather in Georgia isn’t too bad in regard to winter.  It is certainly a far cry warmer here in January than Cleveland, Pittsburgh or Baltimore, all cities where I’ve lived for enough winters to know.  Still, it can get cold and today starting out at 26°F was cold enough.  The cold can’t limit one to the indoors.  Especially, aside from the cold, it is nice outdoors.

Each day River, my nearly decade old Lab, and I run.  In the cold she’s too happy to hit the trails.  She becomes less energetic during the peak summer months.  River has jumped into water, breaking through ice, during the coldest times, just for fun.  She is built for it.

When it is cold I prefer to run, skip cycling (when temperature drop into the 30’s – something I didn’t do decades ago) and head to Ace Hardware in Social Circle to train on their indoor range.  This is perfect right now when preparation for 18-meter tournaments is on the agenda.

This is pretty nice and warm

Ace’s archery range isn’t open on Mondays.  I skipped archery in the morning and used that time to run errands and hit the gym.  This is my normal routine. It was also time for a haircut.

Here in Georgia our 3D competitive season is about to begin this Saturday.  During the afternoons, after the temperatures have risen a bit, I’ll practice 3D.  Today was the first time I shot my 3D targets.  I’ve been shooting the 3D bow at paper trying to get a feel for the lighter equipment.

I’d hoped to compete in the ASA Super Senior division in 2020 but that’s not happening.  My target bow, ideal for that class, is set for indoors.  I have just enough equipment for that bow to remain specific to 18-meters and enough to use my hunting bow for 3D. Sure, I could switch the sight around for the 3D arrow but that means taking a chance and screwing up what is right now working.

Plus, it isn’t simple.  When outdoor season begins I’ll use skinny arrows not 23s.  Switching back and forth between practices, outdoor target and 3D, with a single bow isn’t optimal.  If it isn’t simple, it simply won’t get done.

I’d considered buying more gear to assemble a 3D target bow to macth equipment in the Super Senior class but dropped than fantasy after reviewing the price.  2020 3D will end up another season of competing in the hunter class shooting against younger archers.

The light can the funny this time of year

My first day shooting the 3D faux-animals wasn’t too horrible.  Getting a feel for pins versus the scope I’ve been using has taken a bit of adjustment.  Plus, the lighter bow means really being careful to hold properly.

This bear is at 41 years. You know I was thinking I might end up an arrow short.

Generally, the practice went well. I shot for a couple of hours and scored a few 8s.  Mostly 10s where the score of the day with a few 12s for good measure.  There was one miss.

The bear turned out okay

The missed shot was 33 yards and I messed up with the pins.  For 33 yards, a yellow 30-yard pin sits on top of the ten ring and a green 35-yard pin sits on the bottom of the 10 ring.  I screwed up by putting the green 35-yard pin on the top of the 10 and the other yellow, the 40-yard pin, on the bottom of the 10.  It was a small boar target and the arrow bounced off the spine of the foam boar.  Fortunately, the bounce slowed the arrow; it smacked a branch and landed, undamaged on the ground.

The bad shot turned out to be a careless error at 33 yards

After a couple of hours in 36°F temperature I called it quits.  I considered a bike ride then thought better of it.