Wind, Wind and More Wind

Wind chopping up the river

It has been windy the past couple of days. The wind is not a friend to cyclists or archers. Practicing 18-meters outdoors is tough when it blowing. At least on a bike there is usually a tailwind.

Today, not only was it windy, again, but cool. While out for a morning run, I wore a sweatshirt during the 60°F workout. The temperature felt really nice for the archery practice, but man the wind was a hassle.

These numbers could be better

Hopefully, I can blame the low X count on the wind. Well, I can place blame there whether or not is was the offense to shooting.

Bottoming Out

Ever leave your best shots on the practice range?

Seemed like s start for a good day of shooting.

This past weekend was likely the final 3D tournament for me for 2017. The IBO World Championship remains a possibility however low. It’s not that I can’t go, it’s that the expense might truly not be worth it. I’d have to really be on the mark to place in the top 5 and shoot better than I’ve done all year to be in the top 3. Still, it is a possibility.

From last week: That’s a skunk at about 28 yards. I thought I’d hit the 10 ring. Wrong, it was a 5. Seriously, felt good for a few minutes. And so went the day

I’d go if my practice average hits and remains about 10.4 points per target. The guys that have been winning the IBO World’s I’d shoot against have been winning in the small class for a few years. At this point, they’d beat me – statistically speaking.

My friend, Mike, max’ing out on real estate.

On the other hand, there’s the North Carolina Outdoor State Championship in a few weeks. To win that, I need to focus on 50-meters.

After the 3D tournament, I shot for awhile at 50-meters. Needs more practice.

Plus, despite an important 3D win two weeks ago, I shot my lowest 3D score of the year this past weekend. The results haven’t been posted so I don’t know how I ended up. In any case, regardless of how tough a shoot might have been, I know when I am not shooting in tournaments as well as during practice.

River offering encouragement or using dog telepathy to get a cookie.

Maybe a nice break shooting 50-meters exclusively will liberate my 3D shooting.

Going Long

Of course, the day started by running with River. We’ve been disappointed for the past few days since Coco has not joined us. Coco has an injured leg and been absent during her infirmary.

River and Coco checking things out on a trail. River has missed her friend over the past few days.

And certainly, next on the list was a bike ride. Riding a bicycle remains one of my favorite activities.  Cycling is as close to flying as we humans can do under our own power.  Yes, I know there are one or two experimental human powered flying machines, but you and I aren’t going to be climbing into one of those things. We can get on a bicycle and ride.

People pay to take tours to view scenery like this. I see this everyday.
More of the swampy areas I passed on my ride

Then, it was down to business – archery. Yesterday’s practice informed me of where I need to train. Long shots. To be specific, long 3D shots. Knowing a big blue, red and yellow ringed level target is 50-meters and hitting yellow is easy. Not know the distance, having all the targets a different color and size, then wedging them among trees over uneven terrain is more difficult. So, today, I didn’t shoot any foam target under 35 yards.

45-yards seemed long enough on this coyote. I don’t care who you are – this is a long shot at a small target using fixed pins. And it feels real satisfying to hit 10 or better.

I shot 10 arrows, two sets of five, at 35, 40, and 45 yards at a lot of fake animals. I didn’t make it to all my targets. I’ll finish them tomorrow and will skip the bobcat and rabbit. Not that I wouldn’t like to try them at long distances, their not positioned to be shot longer than 35 yards.

There’s not enough cleared woods to back off from this target more than 35 yards. I doubt I’d ever see it at that distance. I doubt I ever see it in a tournament. But, I will see a gator and that target’s center ring is lower than this bobcat’s.

It was tempting to shoot from fifty yards. But, I’m not real sure about my 50-yard pin. If my foam animals were larger I’d have tested that bottom pin. It seemed wiser to examine the fifty-yard pin later against something larger than a cinnamon bear. Of course, where the ten ring is on the cinnamon bear there’s a leg below it. If I’d shot low the arrow would probably have ended up in the leg. A high shot and goodbye arrow. I wasn’t up to shooting $18.00 into the woods.

Fifty yards was tempting. I stopped here at 45

What I can say is that after an hour or so, 35 yards seemed close.

Met up with this critter on the run home this morning. The wildlife I see every day here in rural North Carolina is amazing.

Another Wet, Cold, and Windy Day in June

Coco coming to say hello to River and I while running

Before I went out to run and ride my bike I put on warm-up clothes for running and a jacket and leg warmers to ride. It was cold and raining. This is some very unusual weather we’ve been experiencing here on the coast of North Carolina. The rain is not uncommon, the temperature is low for this time of the year.

End of this road while cycling

I spent a few hours out on the 3D range in long pants, two shirts and a sweater. Things weren’t so bad once I was out of the wind. But, it was raining a little and still cold.

The rain eased off a bit during 3D practice

What remains incredible to me, it is June, near the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and the low temperature has been in the low 50’s with a high in the upper 60’s.

Walking past my 50-meter target, sure it is impossible to pass without shooting it

By tomorrow it will be back into the upper 80’s and we’re expecting low 90’s this weekend. That will be more like it.

Unusually Cold Here On the Coast of NC

I’d ride this on my mountain bike, today I was on my road bike

The past couple of days have been intense 3D practice. Tuesday was repeat shots, 25 at each distance, from 20 to 40 with 5-yard increments. For that exercise I used: two bear, a badger, a turkey, two deer, a mountain lion, coyote, and a javelina. Today, so far (the weather has chased me indoors) was a mock tournament. Before shooting I had a nice, cool, damp, run and bike ride.

These boards were slick – you don’t want to slip off the edge here.
It’s pretty cool looking at the end of this pier

For the mock tournament I shot 20 targets from about 18 yards (a mosquito) to 35 yards. I was hoping to break even maybe even shoot a little up. I ended up 15 down.

I hoped this would be the start of a run of 11’s. It wasn’t

Sure, the weather was nasty. It is 63°F, windy and there’s a misty rain falling. Yep, that’s right, 63°F on the coast of North Carolina in June. It was ‘colder’ this morning when I went for a run and bike ride. It was also breezier when I was on the bike. To ride I had to put on cycling tights and a jacket. We missed setting a new low temperature last night, when it dropped to 55°F, by 2 degrees.

This Eastern-Eyed Click Beetle – (Alaus oculatus) – didn’t seem to be enjoying the weather. I did get him to click and hop for me.

This type of weather for June was typical when we lived in Pittsburgh. Here the average is 76°F. Still, the conditions didn’t warrant shooting indoors, not even with a light rain that was not constant. The rain did pick up just as I shot target 20 of my mock tournament.

The rain has eased off (again), so I’ll head out and shoot some more – maybe things will improve.

A Good Guy

One measure of a man’s character, is how he regards his family, and my friend, Guy, held his family in the utmost regard.

Early Army photo of CWO3 Guy Giella

A small conversation about meatloaf is a good example of his affection.   During our last visit, a couple of months ago in Georgia, I told Guy that I make the best meatloaf. He debated my claim saying, “No, Shirley (his wife) makes the world’s best meatloaf.” I told him, “We’ll see.”

Brenda, my wife, prepared the meatloaf. Then, I cooked it over several hours in a smoker. It is my opinion, that is the best way to cook meatloaf.

Shirley, I have no doubt, makes a delicious Southern style meatloaf in the same manner as did my Grandmothers, my mother, and my wife – before I started smoking them. That is, baked in the oven with a ketchup glazed across the top surface of the meat. It’s good.  However, a smoked meatloaf is, in my liberated Southern cuisine, amazing.

Hours after the challenge, of whose meatloaf is the best, mine or Shirley’s, we sat down to eat dinner. The main course smoked, glaze-free, meatloaf.

To get a fair measure for objective analysis Guy ate half the meatloaf. After the meal I asked, “So, Guy, which meatloaf is better?”

He responsed, “Well, your’s is different, but Shirley’s wins; her’s is the best.”

Shirley and Guy

There was no way, whether he believed it or not, would Guy have ever admitted any meatloaf might exceed the treat of his wife’s. He was just that kind character.

Guy passed away unexpectedly May 30th.

I’ve known Guy for 37 years, there was simply no condition where his family wasn’t number one. Whether it be meatloaf or something more relevant. This applies to wife and children.

I have always stated, you can gauge how good a job parents do easily, just take a look at the children. Guy and Shirley’s two boys are among the finest men I have ever known. Those men, Steve and Chris, have families of their own, and their children are the type people that anyone would enjoy meeting.

Chris Giella, Guy, and Steve Giella

After spending any time with Guy’s sons or grand children, you leave feeling good. All of them have a knack for making others feel good about themselves. That is a gift. A gift taught by parents, beginning with Guy and Shirley.

Shirley, Guy, Steve and the tall fella in the background Guy’s grandson and Clemson Tiger lineman, Zack Giella

I met Guy through my father-in-law, Ray. He and Guy, both retired Army, had been friends 50 years. Their camaraderie is impossible to capture in the space and time allotted.  Let’s just say, it was boundless, fraught with bickering, but connected by mutual respect and love.

This isn’t the first time Guy has been mentioned on this site. There’s are article about “Old Lions” that highlights a little about Guy and Ray. Some readers will know Guy personally, some of you don’t. But, what all should know is that Guy Giella was a real bona fide American Hero. You never know it by talkling to him.

Ray and Guy

So, here is a little I’d like to share in memory of one of those true Americans. Read this and you’ll agree that in his case the term Hero is not an over statement:

Guy was born October 6, 1939, in Mount Vernon, New York, and retired from the Army in Savannah, Georgia, in 1976 after 20 years of active service which included tours overseas in Germany, Korea and two tours in Vietnam. His duties included paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne, drill sergeant and he attended flight school in Fort Rucker, Alabama, to become a helicopter pilot in Vietnam.

He then went on to become a Rotary Wing Examiner and Supply Officer, with the 120th Aviation Company, 222nd Aviation Battalion, Fort Richardson, Alaska. His comprehensive knowledge of Army Aviation instruments and flying procedures contributed immeasurably to the operation efficiency and combat readiness of the U.S. Army. In addition, he was instrumental in developing and teaching flight techniques and doctrine for helicopter operations in an Artic environment. His outstanding performance resulted in him receiving the Meritorious Service Medal. During his career, he received these other following citations: the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal,  Air Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Aviator Badge, Republic of Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry w/ Palm. From 1983 to 2003, he was in the civil service as a helicopter flight instructor at Hunter Army Airfield.

Guy was an avid hunter and bass fisherman and passed on his love for the outdoors to his sons and grandchildren.

Guy’s affection extended to Brenda and myself, and I’m going to miss coming back to the “Lake House” in Georgia and sharing some aspect of archery, hunting or fishing with him. But his love for his children, my father-in-law, and Shirley exceeded all others.

I Ran, I Cycled, I Shot, and Then I Napped

Over the past week or so I’ve changed my training routine. It’s good to change your training around. Today, I added another change.

What I’d changed was to go cycling to first in the morning rather than running. I had been running to start the morning being joined by my running partner, River, a Labrador retriever. What was obvious, River was not happy with the difference.

Of course, I changed riding times – I put new tape on these handlebars. Couldn’t wait to go ride. Note the water in the yard. It has been raining a lot.

So, I changed again, adding a run with River, before cycling. River seemed to approve of this modification. We ran, returned home where I swapped over to a bike. This manner of exercise is fine with me.

River likes morning runs and meeting up with her friend Coco.

After the running and riding I moved on to archery practice. Rather than shoot 3D first and leave 50 meter for the afternoon, I shot 50 meters first. This too seemed just fine.

This paper has withstood a decent amount of rain.

At 50-meters, I shot one warm-up end of 6 before shooting another 72 arrows. I was getting pretty hungry before I finished.

Yep, this sometimes happens. You get what you pay for and this was inexpensive.

The whole process started around 0730. It was completed around noon. I’d had breakfast around 0650. Breakfast was a freshly blended fruit and yogurt smoothie. Smoothies taste good, but they do not last. Noon meant lunch – a barbeque sandwich with Cole slaw and ice tea to drink – and I was ready for it.

This sandwich speaks for itself.

After four and half hours of exercise and a high calorie lunch, it was time to enjoy a short nap. This is my typical routine. Train in the morning, have lunch, take a short nap (less that 45 minutes), then work into the afternoon schedule.

There’s a thunderstorm and pouring rain at the moment, so as refreshed and ready to start the afternoon training plan, things might get put on hold.

If Only, If Only – Oh, Well (ASA Leopold AAE Pro/AM, Final Day)

The 2017 ASA Leopold AAE Pro/AM is done, at least for me. This final day started early, 0730, on Sunday. It was over before I knew it. I was out of the woods and home by 1115. The weather, perhaps remorseful of the conditions presented on Saturday, redeemed itself providing textbook perfection for the final volley of arrows.

Headed toward Lincolnton then onward to Appling. (Yes, I stopped the truck to take this picture.)

Starting early, like I mentioned above 0730, at first seemed nightmarish to me. Such an early time is reminder of triathlons. Those events also begin at the ‘puke of dawn.’ Triathlons are more likely to start before 0700 rather than later. While the time itself doesn’t sound awful, the start time is misleading. To make an early start time for a sporting event, the athlete has to be up even earlier to eat, prepare, then travel to the event venue. For me this meant a wake up call, three alarms set, for 0415 – an hour and forty-five minutes earlier than normal. As it turned out, none of the alarms activated all being disarmed minutes before their assigned announcements.

My favorite meals of the day are breakfast, lunch and dinner. I arose little earlier so there’d be ample time to prepare a good breakfast. Today, that pre-dawn meal was a fresh spicy hamburger sized sausage patty on an English muffin with coffee and orange juice. An easy 500 calories. All ingested before 0500. There was leftover time to take River for a short outing where she chased a fox. Then, I wished Brenda, rationally still in bed, Happy Mother’s Day and hit the back roads leading from Tignal to Appling.

Phil taking aim on a deer around 40 yards out.

The drive to the ASA Augusta was just fine, the roads nearly vacate. Last year, when I turned onto Dogwood Lane entering the Wildwood Park, home to the tournament, the line of traffic was backed up crawling along at a stupidly slow pace. This year the ride was as smooth as silk and I didn’t stop until I landed in the same excellent parking slot I’d had on Saturday. As far as similarities between the two days I hoped that these events weren’t prophecies that my Sunday’s shooting might agree with my Saturday’s. Parked, outfitted for archery I readied my self and headed to range G to join my group on stake 12.

Our group of four, Phil, Randy, Buddy and I were at our stake in good order. The ASA officials reminded archers that stake time was going to me monitored and to keep pace. Their incentives had everyone shooting at a good clip.  Our group was off the range, along with everyone else, in three hours. Consider, 20 stakes per range attended by 4 archers per stake. That’s eighty shooters. We were at ranges H and G. That’s 160 athletes. We started at 0730. At 1030 scores were being forwarded to the judges. One can only praise the organization and management of the ASA at moving so many archers through the woods with such efficacy.

ASA ran a tight ship. With so many archers it was amazing how fast we cleared the range. Honestly, quite pleasant.

However, the course though the woods, today, was not entirely smooth travels. Granted, a 3D competition does not cut through a forest at the pace of a mountain bike race. Mostly, people stand a little, walk a bit, sit down, and creep along. In between shots, I sat or stood and stared glassy-eyed while daydreaming of what might have been in reflection of Saturday. Some of those, “Oh, well..” moments of self analysis.

Yep, there is a target out there.

During one those moments, not really being visually focused, my head was aimed toward a group of female archers, all standing still or sitting down, to my right. Presently, my eye’s glaze was interrupted by one of the women archers.

Rather than holding her statuary mimed posture she began flapping and slapping her arms, spinning about, and twirling her head, all while her legs thrashed in fits River Dance choreography. It was a distinctly festive exposé brought forth following the introduction of a yellow jacket swarm. The local community alerted we keep a vigilant scan of our proximate skies.

Only the dancing archer was directly involved in the aerial combat being just slightly wounded by a single sting. The stinging insect yielded to a high pitched verbal assault of language most often associated with Chief Petty Officers and Drill Instructors. In the manner of good sportsmanship, I turned my head before laughing as restrained as possible to prevent personal injury. Under such conditions, belly laughs can be misunderstood exposing the laugher to deflected rage – not good with the inciting object has a weapon at close hand. Always good to err on the side of caution.

Squeezing in 4 upper 12s

Aside from this only occurrence of inter-species conflict ranges H and G moved along without further incident or compromise. Birds chirped and foliage cast shadows over densely covered foam animals. There were good shots, better shots, bad shots and missed shots among all groups conveying bows and arrows. ASA representatives politely monitored and encouraged people to shoot and move without ever seeming aggressive or confrontational.

If only, if only, Saturday had gone even close to normal. There’s no point to what ifs in sport. It leads to empty wishes at best or grief over possibilities now past.  Neither serves a meaningful purpose. Certainly, a do over means doing it all again at another time another place and from the first shot. Between doings there will be more and more practice.

If you’re an archer then you know how to find scores. So, there’s no point in commenting Sunday’s results. All I’ll add is it is a crying shame that on Saturday I didn’t do the same or even nearly the same or maybe just a little better. Oh, well another opportunity is just around the corner. Until that appointment –ave atque vale my friends from the 2017 ASA Leopold AAE Pro/AM in Appling, Georgia.

Saturday at the ASA Leopold AAE Pro/AM – Augusta

The ASA Leopold AAE Pro/AM was off to a good start; I got a parking spot 250 steps from the entrance to my range. The rain was holding off, the temperature was in the mid-sixties, and there was no wind. Perfect conditions for a high score. The promising morning didn’t last.

250 steps away from range H. Excellent

It started raining and rained a long while. It was never really bad but seemed to have a little negative impact. I sort of enjoyed it although my shooting gave no indication the wet conditions were in any way a favor. The rain stopped about half way through the 20 target range.

Only a light rain at this point. It was never really a hard rain.

A few shots into the program I discovered the class I was shooting in was not the class I thought I would be shooting in. There are so many ASA classes it is a maze for anyone new to the ASA. Before I signed up I called the good folks in Kennesaw and asked for help. Taking their advice and explanation I signed up incorrectly. Nevertheless, it had no impact on my score.

One our our nicer groups

My score was a sad number. My lowest of 2017. Prior to today I knew my averages at similar distances. I ended up nearly a point lower per arrow than normal. It came down to one shot that blew my average. It was an easy shot and a very clear target. It was only 31 yards out.

The error was totally mental. There are two yellow pins on my sight, one for 30 yards the other for 40 yards. I shot over the 30-yard target. A total blank. I knew immediately. You might guess which of the two yellow pins I used for aiming. You can’t miss and be in the game. Unless you have a heroic comeback and a bit of help from the other shooters.

There were a fair number of long shots.

Sunday starts at 0730. There is no rain in the forecast. But, today’s shooting means tomorrow is high-level practice. A major plus is the course is excellent and I know where to park.

If this archery thing doesn’t work out – there’s always another sport

Speed 3D and Jogging to Keep Up

The Soul Hunters, a member of the Down East Archery Coalition held a 3D competition today in Elizabeth City, NC. It is nice to have a 3D event so close to where I live in New Hope.

The range is just across the river. If there was a nearby landing I could have made the trip over water. There is no place the land my boat; the truck was my conveyance for about 25 minutes.

The weather suggested rain and then it rained a little. It wasn’t bad. A friend, Angelo, who was required to make a 2.5 hour road trip to compete was at the range by 0847 and hunting me at home in an effort to hurry me along. We planned to meet around 0920. He wanted to get the shooting underway should the rain become more serious.

The rain let up and Angelo and I were signing in by 0915. As Angelo was registering Mike, a traditional shooter, walked up and we had a threesome. Angelo shot open class and I shot hunter class.

Angelo (photo courtesy of Angelo Thompson)

I moved to hunter class after a couple of years shooting at a maximum distance of either 45 or 50 yards depending on whether I was shooting IBO or ASA. The ASA hunter class brings me down to a max of 40 yards and at IBO the max is 35 yards for the 2017 season. Moving through woods, even on a manicured 3D range, is much more relaxing carrying a hunting bow arrangement rather than hauling around a bow with all sorts of accouterments and extensions.

Our band was first on the range. Angelo and Mike are tall fellows with long legs. Without an impasse of archers ahead of us we made good time. Mike, shooting traditional was fast being only slightly delayed by Angelo and me. I must say that the long-legged duo had me fairly jogging to keep up. I don’t mind a jog and was glad to be in decent shape.

We cleared the woods in record time. This was pleasing for Angelo and Mike who had a long journey home. On the other hand I had time to spare so I hung around and ate lunch.

Mike (Photo courtesy of Michael Lupton)

Food at a 3D range is at times dicey. Usually, sticking with a burger is the safest route. The $2.00 burger offered by the Soul Hunters was a good bet.

I averaged 9.5 points per arrow and shot a lower score, 190, than I’d have expected. None of the targets were awful even though many were small: a skunk, frog, badger, javelina, a baboon, multi-ringed raccoon and turkeys  were among them.

The longest distance target was a standing bear at 40 yards, for me, on which I shot a center 10. The 10 ring was smallish for a standing bear. The foam animal was old and had been repaired a number of times. The homemade-crafted 10 ring was a little short on diameter. But, I took the 10 rather than gamble for a 12.

I’d wagered on shots a number of times going for 12s I felt I could hit.  The pay outs were mostly 8s. Only one 12 was struck so I took a less aggressive posture and shot for 10s. That strategy probably saved me further embarrassment.

As always, it was light and easy shooting with Angelo and Mike. My sprinting through the woods, keeping pace with those long gaited friends,  necessitated a nap when I got home. (Then again, I try to take a nap everyday.)  It was nice to get through the woods at a fast pace.