Moving Back to Georgia

We were only supposed to be in Georgia for a couple of days. It turned out to be longer. See, there was this property near Athens and it looked right for a move back to Georgia. We bought the land.

Front of the land cleared and the house is going up

There are a number of valid reasons to leave our home in North Carolina. The combined needs to get back home warrant the relocation leaving behind a house where we’ve put in renovations intended for a lifetime. Someone will end up with a dream home. If the North Carolina property were closer to Athens, Georgia we’d keep it.  The distance is simply too great to make it worthwhile.

The new home, for me, includes: amazing archery ranges, great cycling roads, and phenomenal water access to rivers and lakes. Athens is the Southern Cycling Mecca.

Athens Twilight Criterium Bicycle Race

Georgia, from what I can glean from the Internet will offer more competitive archery than where we live in New Hope (near Hertford, NC). It’s not that North Carolina doesn’t have a fair share of archery events where one can compete. It’s that many of them are so far away from where we live that it requires an overnight trip. Certainly, Georgia is another one of those larger states, but in and around Athens there is an abundance of archery competitors and tournaments to meet their needs.

Georgia Archery Association, along with Field Archery and 3D seems creates a full calendar for shooting in the deep South

To top that off there are endurance sporting events, from running to triathlon, nearly every weekend – to supplement my completion fix provided by archery.

For Brenda, my wife – a professional Yogi instructor – being near Athens offers an abundance of Yoga opportunities.  There are a number of Yoga studios within minutes of our new property.

Another major benefit will be our proximity to UGA.  Since our move to New Hope I have worn out a search for continuing education classes.  There’s just too little here to be academically satisfying.

The property we ended up buying is  minutes outside of Athens. Its just far enough to be out of congestion and enough to get into the city at the drop of a hat. The “lot” we bought is just over three acres in rural “Good Hope” (Population – 289) meaning archery ranges can be affixed. Yes, that is “Good Hope, Georgia” and we are moving from “New Hope, North Carolina.”

If all goes well the relocation will impact athletic training, hopefully to a minimal. The long term benefit to be so close to other cyclists, runners, triathletes and archers has great potential.

About a mile away from our new property in Georgia

It will be cool to shoot over in Social Circle and Snellville, GA. Since Georgia is our home, we’ll be surrounded by family and one of our two daughters. We hope to be moved back to Georgia by February 2018.

Home After 14 Days on the Road

We’re back in New Hope, North Carolina after two weeks on the road living in our Winnebago Micro Minnie. The trip began as a three-day outing to Madison, NC to attend an indoor archery tournament. The adventure expanded to six campsites over three states: North Carolina, Georgia and South Carolina.

Our first stop. Although a lot of potential with the rustic barns and such if you see this cabin when looking for a campsite – move on

From the various campsites we took day trips. Among those was a drive to Wilmington, NC. Wilmington is a nice little town except for the traffic. I especially wanted to go there to see some of the sites where “The Hart of Dixie” was filmed. I have no idea how popular this show was when it ran. I watched it after it had been canceled. It is one of those rare series that had me laughing so hard at times I could barely catch my breath.

“Mayor Lavon Hayes'” home from the show The Hart of Dixie. This picture by no means does it justice.
“Dr. Brick Breeland’s” office

In Kinston, NC we stopped and for a second time had dinner at the Chef and the Farmer. Kinston has a nice first come first serve campground at a Nature Park on the Neuse River. It is one of the best deals going at $15.00 per night for a full hook up roomy campsite.

From our campsite in Kinston, NC

Our longest stay was near Tignal, Georgia at Hester’s Ferry campground. By far this ranks as the best campground we’ve used since we bought the RV. This was our longest stay on the trip because we were in Tignal for Thanksgiving.

Set-up at Hester’s Ferry

At all the campsites I found great running trails and got in some off road cycling several times. After the tournament in Madison, NC, I was able to continue archery practice in Tignal.

Little Pee Dee Campground near Dillon, SC

What I can say about two-weeks in a Winnebago Micro Minnie (the 2106 Model) – there was plenty room, we never ran out of hot water, and the heat at night (temperatures down to below freezing a time or two) was toasty. Nevertheless, it is good to be home.

River eager to hit the trails

Playing and Practice on the Wild Side

Sunrise on the river

The past few days have been a bustle of cycling, running and shooting. The weather, despite ever-present wind, has been excellent. Wind impedes cycling in one direction and then repeats the trick in the reverse direction. You’d think there would be a tailwind. Running with the wind in your face may slow faster runners down a tad. A slower paced runner seems unaffected by an equivalent blowing resistance. The leaves that now cover trees suggests the wind across the 3D and the 50-meter range will be less pronounced. Outdoors here means, for most days, playing in the wind.

“Boat Ramp Road” is a spot to pause during a ride. The title of this road hopefully was not a mental taxation for the creators.

Yesterday, Brenda and I planned to head out in the boat for a cruise between archery practices. Just as we walked out to the dock we observed the waves picking up. Before we got the boat off the lift there were white caps across the water’s surface. Cursing in a Carolina Skill over a river capped in white is a rough trip. We postponed that adventure.

Our adventure may be have been put on hold but there is a bass tournament underway in the Little River where we live. We watched a boatload of anglers, its passengers slamming across the water, heading out for more casting. They bounced along for about 500 yards before getting smart, or battered the right amount for common sense to emerge, and returned to port.

This little fella was enjoying the warm afternoon

Shooting has been just fine in the spring woods. The first few 3D targets are a bit exposed to wind but certainly not like they were in the leafless months. The main drawbacks this time of the year are snakes and mosquitos.

This is why I was sweeping leaves that had gathered under an outside storage area

Our area of the coast is swampy. Ideal for both the problems: snakes and mosquitos. There is a third annoyance, poison ivy, which a watchful eye can avoid.

Snakes mostly try to evade River, my snake hunting lab, and me. River joins me in the woods and is vigilant in her sniffing for the slithering outlaws. She’s pretty good at finding snakes. She did walk right past a copperhead. I stopped as we approached it seeing it coiled to strike.   Its hostility terminated with a lead induced amputation its head.

Copperheads are nice looking snakes. But, they will bite you which leads to no good.

Most of the snakes we meet aren’t a problem and prefer to let us alone. In that respect, we leave them alone as well, taking a live and let live stance on the encounter. The snakes that care little for avoidance are either poisonous or don’t give way because they’re so large they think nobody will mess with them. We don’t mess with the non-poisonous variety of serpent irrespective of it size. Still there are plenty of the lethal reptiles to warrant keeping eyes constantly examining the ground. There is no way a sane person would head back to those boggy ranges without snake boots.

This big ole snake could have cared less that I was watching

Already the swamp is minus one copperhead and three water moccasins. One of the chunky vipers escaped after I shot at it with my Ruger 380 and missed. I actually missed it twice. My neighbor, Jimmy, who is competitive with a pistol, would not have missed. He shots them with a little 22. I need a modest bit more lead to compensate my non-archery aim. Even so there’s that one that got away despite the larger caliber projectile. As my pistol friend said, “You’ll see him, again.”

Keeping an eye to the ground uncovers all sorts of critters
Typically how things are when walking up on legless trouble

I could probably do as good hitting snakes with an arrow as with a bullet should the circumstance arise. The operative adverb being probably and thus far there’s been no opportunity for an archer’s test. I’ve yet to stroll up on a snake when I wasn’t walking to pull arrows.

Look over every log before putting a foot down

A firearm does make me feel a bit more certain as opposed to shooting an arrow angled down at close range. In addition, I would rather not fire arrows that will, whether hitting the mark of not, end up in stuck in the ground.

Care is taken not to step on these little ones

Mosquitos, those blood-sucking pests, are swarming in clouds so thick that occasionally I have to letdown on a shot to swat them away to see. Yes, I have an operating Thermacell hanging on my quiver’s belt and am drenched with bug spray when I’m shooting in this swamp. Without those chemicals surrounding me in a cloud and soaked onto my skin there is a chance the bugs would harvest me whole.

Knee high Swiftwick sports compression socks are perfect for 17-inch snake boots

Despite the somewhat primitive environment where I practice it is fun to be outdoors in the wooded wetland. You just have to be careful where you step, be willing to reek of bug spray, and watch where you squat.

Getting in Cardio

Usually, my day starts by taking a run with my dog, River. Sadly, she’s injured her left front leg so she has to rehab and walk. So, we started with a long walk, no chasing squirrels, no playing with her friends, and pretty much a leisurely pace. Tomorrow she may have to wait for me while I run.

Between morning and afternoon archery practice I got my cardio in by cycling. The temperatures are no longer frigid and despite a brisk wind the bike ride as usual was wonderful.

Lately, I’ve been riding on a steel frame Peugeot. Steel feels great compared to carbon fiber or aluminum. This bike was built about 15 years ago and set up retro. It has down tube shifters, an old Shimano 105 crank, Ultegra derailleurs, and 105 brakes. It does have a carbon fork. For those that ride, the chain rings on the bike are 55 and 48 and the rear cassette is 11-18 (only eight sprockets). With a tailwind this bike flies.

Rudy Project is my archery eye wear sponsor. They also make excellent helmets. That’s one of my Rudy Project helmets on the handlebars.

The wind, being sort of bad, I nearly decided to ride one of my triathlon bikes that allow me to cut into the wind. But, there’s just such a nice feel to that steel frame that I decided to leave the Cervelo and Cannondale Slice hanging.

No rain today, we’re expecting it tonight and tomorrow

I’ll admit, when it comes to cardio workouts, for me, nothing beats a bike ride. I did get that tailwind on the ride home.

All Day Training

It was cold enough this morning, 36° F, and windy enough to run me into my shed to practice 18-meters. The space heater inside the shed makes a significant difference and being blocked from wind is a bonus. But, this practice was just part of a long day.

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This space heater on the wall is excellent on cold days.

I shot for about an hour before heading into Elizabeth City for my fitness training. At the Y the first order of business was swimming. For whatever reason the Y here keeps their locker room at meat storage temperature. It’s bad preparing to get into pool; it is awful during the return trip. Being wet walking into that locker room is painful. Not as bad as sitting in a tub of ice, but bad enough.

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I moved the Tower of Targets to face the shed. Typically it sits closer to that leaning pine tree.
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The view from inside my shed toward the target (prior to moving it forward)

There is no break here in the locker room. A quick shower and change for weights. Weight lifting is a Monday, Wednesday, Friday activity. Afternoon archer practice following those mornings can be a challenge. Before getting to that challenge and after weights there was time spent on a treadmill.

Some folks can run on treadmills all day. I have a friend that routinely spends two hours exercising like a human version of a hamster. Six miles is the maximum I every gone on treadmill. If I plan to run far, I prefer doing it outdoors.

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Preparing to ride inside

With the treadmill behind me, it was home for lunch and more archery. Yes, as I thought, my arms let me know I’d been to the gym. While I didn’t shoot any worse or better than par for me, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday archery practice is less of a muscular marathon.

Writing now, I am on a break. Next on the plan is time on a bike. Why all the exercise, well it is good for me and good for archery.

It’s a Matter of Fitness

At nearly all archery competitions people are talking about their health. Some talk about injuries, others mention medical aliments, still more complain about their excess weight. At one outdoor competition, a 50-meter event, the archer on the line next to me said, “I’ve never shot more than 30 arrows in one day.” We had 72 arrows to shoot and we’d had 24 shots for warm-up. Plus, the guy’s weight was a tad on the excessive side. I knew this guy was in for a rough day. I wasn’t mistaken.

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Days on the range can be long, hot, and require a lot of standing around

Once I heard a bit of braggadocio that went like this, “In practice, if I shoot 10 good shots I quit.” That may be fine if the bulk of the tournaments were 10 arrows or less. Ten shots will not prepare anyone for a 100 shot day.

Another time, a self-proclaimed expert said, “I shoot 30 arrows 3 to 4 times a week.” On the range during 3D tournaments I’ve heard this several time, “I haven’t practiced all week.” Before too long that same individual is whining because he’s making poor shots.

I make a lot of bad shots. Prior to this season, there’s not been a year when I didn’t miss a 3D target entirely. Heck, during my first year of shooting, on an indoor range no less, I put arrows into the ceiling on more than one occasion. This past weekend, I shot all 12’s and 10’s with two exceptions, an 8 and (hanging my head) a 5. (Amazingly, I still won – I just knew that 5 if not the 8 were going to blow it for me.)

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Archery is a sport and it takes a great deal of physical effort. That effort isn’t a major cardio workout. At the last 3D tournament we walked 1.36 miles over the course in about 2 hours. Not a grueling pace. Yet, there were people who seemed totally wasted from the effort. (I ran further than that before the tournament.)

You do not need to be a marathoner to shoot archery. But, you should be in shape to perform to your highest level. The better fitness you process the more time you can spend training. In that regard, I consider fitness training part of my archery training. Aside from archery specific training, I spend nearly 1000 additional hours a year on general fitness training.

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I can’t shoot well more than about 4 hours per day broken into two practice sessions, morning and afternoon. Nearly every morning, before archery practice I run. Not far, never more than 6 miles, and not too fast. Between archery practices is when I do more fitness training.

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I understand most of you work during the day. As such, you probably do most of your archery practice in the evenings and on weekends. That still leaves early mornings for addition fitness training.

When I worked at my medical career I trained (not archery) before work, after work and at times (when I was not traveling) during my lunch break. That pattern began when I was 17 and would train for cycling before school and after school. The pattern still rules today – 44 years later.

Being fit doesn’t mean I need to be able to run a marathon or do an Ironman. It also doesn’t mean I won’t do another of each. What it does mean is that I am in better condition for the rigors of archery.

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Getting our on my bike or running offers some great views

I don’t focus on the number of arrows I shoot per day. Some days it’s a few as 30 (tapering or active recover) or as many as 240. To help prevent should injury I only pull 52 pounds and lift weights year round. My mid-day workouts are critical to my ongoing development as an archer. Mid-day I swim, ride a bike and/or weight lift.

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Not everyone shares this view of archery. That’s obvious by the phenotypes I see in the sport. Regardless of opinion, being healthy and fit are beneficial. Find a plan, create a plan, do what you can for your health. You’ll appreciate when you’re in your 60s.

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