The Georgia Golden Olympics

The 2021 Georgia Golden Olympics were held in Warner-Robins, Georgia. I entered for two reasons: Qualify for the 2022 National Senior Games and visit my sister who lives in Warner-Robins.

The highlight of the trip was seeing my sister.  It is always a pleasure to visit her.

The tournament was a mess.  It had rained the night before and the field was a bit swampy.  That really wasn’t an issue.  I’d expected the rain and had waterproof boots to wear.

The problem was the organizers had expected the event a week later.  All the archers arrived and there wasn’t a target in sight.

When it was clear there was a miscommunication a few of the archers found some target butts and targets.  There were on 6 butts and thirty archers.

We made due at 60 yards by cramming five archers per target.  Not a problem at 60 yards. At 50 yards it wasn’t going to work.  Every one shooting was so good that there wasn’t room in the yellow rings to hold all the arrows without breaking many of them. In addition, as tight as the arrows were at 60 yards, scoring – following each arrow from nock to pile was more difficult that you’d think.  Thirty arrows squeezed into a 12.5 cm ring is a lot.

We ended up having to run a line where the arrows would be shot then pulled then run the next line and pull the arrows.  Arrows had to be pulled after each end. IT made for a long and hungry day.

I’d brought enough food for a four-hour tournament.  Roughly 800 calories worth of solid food and four drinks for another 1000 calories.  It ran out sooner than expected.  It was rough.  It is hard to focus when you are hungry.

A friend gave me a breakfast bar and it was enough.  At least it didn’t rain on us.

Georgia Golden Olympics

“You can’t help getting older, we just don’t have to get old, “ George Burns.

I’ve signed up to compete in the Georgia Golden Olympics. In Georgia there are many excellent archers over 50.  No matter how much one practices there is no way to guess at who might win in a competition among the more mature archers here.  It really comes down to who makes the least number of mistakes.

I nearly doubled-up and entered the bicycling time trials.  Then I looked at the most recent winners’ time at a distance where I was considering competing.  I can’t beat that time.

The most recent winners are amazing.  There speeds are equal to those put out by Professional Cyclists for the same distance.  I would have never guessed a 67 year old could compete against a 30 year old Professional Cyclist.  Heck, when I was 30 years old those current Golden boys would have beaten me over the same distance time trial.

At the peak of my cycling racing I trained with and raced against Olympians, World Champions and Professionals that competed in the Tour de France.  I raced all over the US and in Europe.  So, I was pretty fit.  Still, I would not have beaten the top 65+ Golden Olympic cyclists in the time trial I was considering.

Now, I was never the greatest time trialist.  But, I won a lot of time trials.  Once I was even the USA Cycling Georgia State Time Trial Champion.  I even broke the top 10 in a Velodrome Time Trial when I was 50 racing on a cheap $500.00 bicycle.

Reviewing some of the older longer Tour de France Prologue times these Golden boys would have done themselves proud against the top cyclists in the World. As much as I’d enjoy racing my bike there simply no way I can compete against such supernatural Golden power.

From the National Senior Games Rule Book:

“The NSGA does not currently test for banned or performance enhancing drugs. If an athlete is found to be using drugs by any other agency or governing body, they will also be banned from NSGA competitions until the sanction or banned is removed. The NSGA will communicate with NGB’s for a current list of athletes.”

Now, I think I understand.

2021 USA Archery Outdoor National Championship

When I signed up for the 2021 USA Archery Outdoor National Championship it was early.  I was worried that the Championship might reach capacity the way the 2021 Gator Cup attained its limit.

I also set a minimum average per arrow I’d need to shoot before I competed.  I’ve exceeded that pre-selected average a couple for times during practice sessions designed to record and monitor my points per arrow.  The bad thing is my average per arrow has not reached my goal.

It wasn’t close.  I missed by 0.5 points per arrow.  That is a lot of points over 144 arrows. It means my average score lands me in 8th place at the Nationals. (Based on past three years scores for the event.)

I’d nearly talked myself into going, having fun, and hoping for one of those zone days where I’d shoot closer to the better points per average of my curve.  On a really good day I might win or at least be in the top three.  My best area of my score curve suggests I could win by 12 points.  My personal best has me winning by 20 points.  My average has me finishing 8th.

In preparation I researched the scores over the past three years.  I checked scores on the archers entered.  And I looked at the cost benefit to competing when I’m not yet fully prepared.

The cost, to me, would have been $1285.00 for everything.  That seems like a lot of money to pay for 8th place.  That is, of course, me shooting my average and everyone else shooting within 2 standard deviations of their most recent scores.  Worse case, using the lower scores from my curve would land me in 10th place.  The cost benefit didn’t reach the point where going was worth the investment.  If I’d achieved my goal set for points per arrow average I’d have not withdrawn.

Georgia Cup 2021 versus Tropical Storm Claudette

The Georgia Cup is an outdoor archery tournament. In the past, I’ve competed as a compound bow shooter.  This year I shot an Olympic recurve.  It was also my first event as a Master archer in recurve.  It was the weekend when Tropical Storm Claudette dropped in on the Peach State.

Since switching to Olympic recurve I’ve competed in the adult seniors group.  That is the age division for archers under 50 and those 50 or older who want to enter that division.  Initially, I’d enter as a senior and not a Master, those archers 50 or older.

The difference in the distance is that the seniors shoot 70 meters and Masters shoot 60 meters.  I changed divisions when a storm, not Claudette, intersected with the 10 extra meters I need to shoot 70 meters.  The unnamed storm rearranged the range limiting me to 60 meters.

The Georgia Cup was my first tournament shooting in the 50 and older category.  From a social perspective it was more fun.

There’s a lot of waiting in archery.  In prior events there really hasn’t been a whole lot to talk about with the younger archers.  Most of the competitors I’ve shot against since switching have been younger than my children.

I found with the less young folks there was ample conversation between ends, pulling arrows, and waiting during the exchange from the qualifying round and the elimination rounds.

Originally, the two rounds were being held over two days.  However, Tropical Storm Claudette required a contingency plan moved into action and both were shot on the same day. It made for a long day.

Arriving at 8:00 am I was ready to head home by 4:00 PM.  At 4:00 PM I was still shooting in the elimination rounds.

In those, I still ended up shooting against kids.  Cadets shoot at 60 meters, the next step up being seniors at 70 meters, and both groups, Cadets and Masters, had been bracketed together.

I had a bye before shooting my first elimination.  Before it was over the cadets were referring to me as Grandpa.  Each opponent was Korean so I took it as an endearment not a slight.  The fact their parents also referred to me as Grandpa made it seem okay.

Throughout the day Tropical Storm Claudette did its best to disrupt the play.  It was nasty.  There was wind and rain all day.  As might be expected it was cloudy and at times dark.

Despite the deeply overcast conditions I wore sunglasses.  Not to look cool.  The time clock with retina scorching LEDs was perfectly arranged 15 meters in front of my target.  Without the extremely nice polarizing lenses of those glasses I’d have not seen the target as well. Having a time clock frying your eyes and counting down during a wind and rainstorm are less than ideal conditions for shooting.

There really wasn’t any point in complaining.  It didn’t matter much, thanks to the sunglasses.  I ended up winning even though I didn’t score my average for the distance.

As it turned out, Sunday, the day weather forecasters had predicted the worse weather conditions was a miss.  Sunday turned out to be pretty nice with less wind and lighter rain.

It Is A Lot Of Work

To be successful you must first set a goal for success.  Once the goal is established there needs to be a plan to achieve that goal.

Years ago when I was a project manager I had to build plans for products.  Those plans included all sorts of staff, timelines, supplies, regulatory requirements, research, development, sales projects, marketing and budgets.  It was an ordeal.  When I eventually migrated to a level where I managed project managers it seemed easier.

Making a plan in sports is much the same.  Set a goal and build a project plan to achieve that goal.  Along the way there are milestones.  Along the way there is a lot of work.

When I switched to Olympic recurve I set a goal and prior to that goal milestones.  My next milestone is four weeks out. What I’ve been doing, through my training and competition plan, remains on schedule.  Today, I began the flexing of the training program to achieve the next milestone.

I’ve owned the Olympic recurve bow I’m shooting for 276 days.  Of those days I have not shot 100% of the days available.  I’ve allowed for 78 days to recover.  That means I’ve had 198 practice days.  During that time, in and out of competition, I’ve shot 25,790 arrows.  The maximum I can find for one day is 210 arrows.  Generally, I shoot 100 in the morning and 100 in the afternoon with variances for weather and tapering.  I also didn’t start out shooting 200 per day.  I started at 60 per day and worked up.

As yet I haven’t added a clicker to my bow.  That must be added soon.  I just upgraded the sight.  But, the riser and limbs remain inexpensive beginner level equipment. (Under $300 for the combo – the new sight cost more.)

The arrows aren’t special either.  They are inexpensive at $4.42 each.

What hasn’t got a price tag is practice.  Archery is one of those sports where anyone willing to work can earn a high degree of success.

Today, I didn’t pick up my bow.  It is a rest day having just won a tournament over the weekend.  In preparation for that tournament I practiced the distances by shooting 100 arrows in the morning at one distance then 100 in the afternoon at a different distance all at 25 to 65 yards (5 yard increments) until I had 400 shots at each of the 10 distances or 4000 arrows.  Outside of that count I did 4 practice rounds equal to the shots that would be fired in the event per week for four weeks. (Simulated tournament was 10 warm-up arrows and 60 for score or another 1120 arrows for 5120 arrows)  I won the event.

But, I did miss a goal of breaking the record for the tournament.  It was only a mental goal never written down for 2021.  It is written down for 2022.  It looks like the record for the State was set in 1993, but I am uncertain.  One clear high score, the one to beat I am more sure of was set 6 years ago.  I missed it by 14 points.  I lost 15 of those points on the last 3 targets.  It was one of those situations for which I prepared as best as I could be – dark shadows on black-faced targets aiming with a black dot.  On the last 3 targets I scored 10,10 and 10.  (4-3-3 each time)

I knew the black on black was going to be an issue and practiced as best as I had available to simulate what I might see.  I came close.  In each case the groups were tight just off low right on all targets.  Next year I’ll have a different aperture to compensate for the view. This year the aperture is back ordered.

But, had I not  practiced as close as possible to the projected conditions it could have been worse.

During the competition there was one ‘expert’ recurve shooter that felt he needed to advise me on my low cost gear.  I know what I paid for the equipment.  I knew his riser was more costly that my entire rig (riser, stabilizers, string, plunger, rest, limbs, sight at aperture).  I always felt the best bow on the range is the one in your hand.

While this ‘expert’s’ equipment certainly outweighed mine and his decades of archery are way beyond mine I expect he’s never had a goal or a plan.  He clearly loves the sport and is passionate about it he’ll never advance – which probably isn’t what he’s trying to achieve.  He’s more likely in the sport for social fun.

For me it is more than that. And it is a lot of work.  I will admit I enjoy the practice, even alone with the exception of my dog, River, more that the competitions.

River and I headed out to the range

Listening to your body

Today I am exhausted.  Outside it is storming, it is Monday and all the local indoor ranges are closed.  The plan for today was 200 arrows, 100 in the morning and 100 in the afternoon.  My scheduled recover day was Wednesday.  The training plan will need some refinement to reach my weekly goal of 1200 arrows. (1200 at this phase of my training plan)

I am glad for the rain.  We’ve just returned from a week’s vacation where there was no archery.  There was a lot of cycling on vacation.  Since the return my arrow could has gradually reach 200 per day.  After a week off it was had to stop at 100.  But, lowered the daily count to give my body time to get back into archery form.

The archery and conditioning training isn’t what has caused the fatigue.  It was been planting trees or rather digging holes.  We’re talking 10 trees, fairly larges trees, digging holes through Georgia clay using a Maddox and a shovel.

The initial thought on the trees was to hire someone to dig the holes and plant the trees.  The lowest price for the holes was $175.00 per hole. (That’s $1750.00 for those that are math adverse)  I can dig a hole.

It felt good while digging the holes.  It has caught up with me.  I am glad for this storm. Equally glad to have not hired anyone to have dug the holes.

Taper

In nine days I’ll be heading to the Georgia State and USA Archery Indoor Championships. At the moment I am shooting like crap.

Over the past week or so my practice scores have been decreasing.  The volume of practice has been high.  Obviously, fatigue (hopefully) is a symptom of reaching a point of diminishing returns.

A friend of mine is an ex-pro golfer. He once said not to go into a tournament tired.

From past sport experience I understand that excessive fatigue can impact quality of performance.

With that in mind I’ve dropped my daily arrow count o 140 arrows broken into two practice sessions.  Still my scores aren’t competitive.  However, they are creeping up, again.

This afternoon during the 4th quarter of my practices my groups began getting tighter.  I’d jumped from 8.45 points per arrow to 8.8 points per arrow. Then, on the final five ends the average increased to 9.125, closer to where I expect to be shooting at this point with my recurve.

It was hard to stop shooting, but to continue deviated from the plan.  There’s nine days left before I hit the road for the tournaments.  That is a realistic taper.

Since I began shooting an Olympic recurve 186 days ago I’ve taken 49 days for compete recovery.  I understand that shooting a recurve isn’t something that can be picked up over night.  Still, I’ve managed, starting with a lower volume of arrows per day and working my way up, to shoot 16,728 arrows. That’s an overall average of 122 arrows per day.  I’d peaked at 1000 arrows per week but have now dropped to 700 (allow two days break per week at this point) per week.

It feels like a huge drop in volume.  I hope it works.

I am runner and not afraid

I’ve been a runner all my life.  Nike had an ad that read, “Athletes Run.” I’ve done and still do a lot of athletics.  So, I still run.  Runner’s World, a periodical, sends me their magazine.  I look forward tor receiving it.

What I find is the magazine is primarily a long list of printed commercials.  I rarely see any new gizmo that I’d purchase.  There is often a pearl or two in an issue of Runner’s World.  Along with those pearls there is some really dumb advertising.

Now, you know Runner’s World doesn’t produce the content of an ad. They accept payment and run the ad.

In the current edition, Volume 56 Number 1 on page 21 there is an ad for CBD oil to relieve pain.  I was interested and read the ad.  In the third paragraph, last line, in association with comments referring to the amount of CBD on a product’s label and the amount contained in the product the writer explains there may be differences.  In such that the amount of CBD oil on the label was not the amount in the product 70% of the time. There was no further explanation.

This might mean that the variance is 1% of 10%.  It wasn’t quantified. But, what caught my attention was sentence on the subject, “And, as a consumer, that’s terrifying!” (Exclamation included in the text)

Reading those words I shook my head.  Clearly, the marketing communication group that came up with the ad was void of anyone that had ever experience terror. If this causes someone to be terrorized they probably need to remain behind locked doors.

Curious, I looked further into the terrifying claim:

US Pharmacopeia and emerging standards from medicinal cannabis industry leaders, a ±10% allowable variance was used for product labeling (ie, accurately labeled = 90%-110% labeled value, underlabeled >110% labeled value, and overlabeled <90% labeled value).(1)

Research that tested CBD oil found the mean variance was 10.34: and the median was 2.76%.  (1)

When I’d  finished reading the ad I had remained calm.  I completed my paper work, flushed and moved forward with the day.

Reference:

(1) Marcel O. Bonn-Miller, PhD,1 Mallory J. E. Loflin, PhD,2 Brian F. Thomas, PhD,3 Jahan P. Marcu, PhD,4 Travis Hyke, MS,5 and Ryan Vandrey, PhD, Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online. JAMA. 2017 Nov 7; 318(17): 1708–1709.

Published online 2017 Nov 7. doi: 10.1001/jama.2017.11909

 

 

 

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.

Turf Toe versus String Finger

Turf toe, a football injury, is a pain.  It isn’t horrible like a broken bone.  It is just a pain in the toe that prevents elite performance.

The skin on the middle finger of my drawing hand has a small split.  It bleeds and hurts a little when I shoot.  My wife calls it string finger and compares it to turf toe.

It isn’t a blood blister.  Practicing in the cold, I believe is the root cause. This is just a small split in the skin.

I use a Fairweather tab.

All I know to do is put the bow down while it heals – completely – then use a Band-Aid to help prevent this from happening again until the weather warms up.

Any suggestions?