Desperate to Shoot

My Elite 35 is in the shop. The string needs to be replaced. 60X is one of my sponsors I use their strings. Because I have red bicycle handle bar tape on the grip of my bow, this time I requested a red and black string from 60X. It should look cool.

The shop where the sting is being replaced is moving. PGF Archery, owned by Bumper Williams has operated out of a shed on his property in Winfall, NC. Bumper has expanded his business and is relocating to a storefront in Elizabeth City, NC.

In fact, the property he’s rented for his expansion was the former location of the Cutting Edge Archery store. The Cutting Edge closed this week and PGF Archery is moving to that location.   In the meantime, my Elite is in transit with the rest of the goods from Bumpers shed.

Without the Elite I still had two options to shoot: a $78.00 recurve and my old Mathews Apex 7.

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I gave the recurve a few hours of time. It is amazing; I did not lose a single arrow. I tried to get a feel for shooting tradition style and had some success out to about 20 yards. I shot around 60 arrows with the recurve and all hit the target. A few even landed in the center. Nevertheless, I admit I had no idea what I was doing.

My second option was the Apex 7. I’d sold the bow last year and ended up getting it back. Since last year I’ve not shot with pins. I didn’t want to do the work on the scope in order to set it for the Mathews bow so I connected my old pin sight. (I removed the scope and stabilizers from the Elite while it’s being restrung)

It took awhile to acclimate to the 65% let off, the spongy wall, and pins. Eventually, I was shooting pretty well out to 50 yards – the bottom pin. Out of curiosity, I decided to shoot twenty 3D targets with my old friend.

The Mathews Apex 7 was my first bow. I’d bought is two years and 10 months ago from Shore Sportsmen in Easton, MD. It was nice to get reacquainted with it.

Since I was using pins, a bit cold to pins, I didn’t shoot any target farther away than 40 yards. Not having a scope makes a real difference. Being unaccustomed with the bow also took a toll. I ended up 6 down after a twenty target session with the Apex 7.

On Tuesday of next week my Elite 35 will be ready for me to retrieve. Even though I shot pretty well with the Apex 7, I’ll go into the next volley of tournaments with the Elite.

But, I still got to shoot even if the score was a bit disappointing

Field Archery and a Missed Triathlon

It was a long shot – no doubt. The NFAA Sections ran on Saturday and Sunday in Stoneville, NC. The Xterra triathlon was scheduled for 4:30 PM on Saturday. Both events were on my calendar.

The archery tournament and triathlon were only 45 minutes drive apart. The field archery event, according to someone on the phone, was expected to be competed, the Saturday portion, by 2 PM. This was doable or so it seemed.

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I stayed at Dan River Campground. 15 minutes from the tournament and 30 minutes away from the triathlon.

Saturday we shot 126 arrows. At 12:30 PM we’d only fired off 56 shots.  The triathlon was becoming a questionable race.

An Xterra triathlon means a swim in a lake, a mountain bike race, and a trail run. Something that seemed just about perfect. The bonus is that it started in the afternoon. That alone was a novelty. It was going to be really a cool race despite the 95-degree temperature.

One thing that could happen was to walk away from the field archery sectional. By 3 PM, it was clear, archery would be the only competition for last weekend. There was no way I was leaving the tournament.

As so the day ended with archery only. The tournament wrapped up at around 6 PM on Saturday. It was a shame but there was nothing to be done aside from walking off the course to compete in the triathlon – which I didn’t do.

Something New

I’ve never competed in a “Field Archery” tournament. I’ve never done an “off road” triathlon. This weekend that will change – if all goes according to plan.

I’ve shot in a lot of archery tournaments in less than 3 years. Forty-eight at last count. But, never one of the NFAA type tournaments.

I’m not real sure what to expect. I tried to read the rules and searched field archery on Youtube for a bit of education. Both efforts failed to provide a wealth of assistance.

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Well, I had a dozen new arrows for a minute. Hope I don’t need more than 10 this weekend.

One thing I noticed is in field archery targets are out to 80 yards. That’s a long shot and I did practice at that distance this week. The archery competition also two days – Saturday and Sunday, or so it seems. Honestly, I am not sure. I imagine this weekend will be enlightening.

The other new thing is an Xterra triathlon. The scheduling will be tricky. There’s not an abundance of time between when I expect the archery to finish on Saturday before the triathlon begins. Archery finishes around 2:00 PM and I need to be race ready by 4:00 PM. Tight.

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It’s a rare triathlon that starts in the afternoon. I really hope I can make it on time. Racing in a tri that doesn’t start at the “puke of dawn” is a bonus.

Either way, the Winnebago is ready to go.

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A “Hot” Dog, Turkey, and a Fish Eating Snake

River and I got out a little later than usual to run. It was already hot. It felt good to me, less good to River. Because it was hot I directed the run toward an area where River could go swimming if she wanted. She wanted to swim.

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River cooling off

It was a good day for a brick (a brick is a back to back run / ride for those of you that aren’t triathletes) and that was on my schedule. Back home I changed over to cycling and headed away on a bike. This day I took a mountain bike.

There are paths that lead into swamps about five miles from my home. The swamp is where I wanted to ride.

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Shortly after I left the road and hit the trail I scared up a turkey. The hen had been hiding in some brush. Along with her were six babies. I took a couple of pictures then left them alone.

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In the swampy area I noticed an unusual track – that of a human.   What on earth anyone would be doing way back on this trail barefoot is beyond me.

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When I got home Brenda wanted to go out on the boat. She has two friends visiting. They’re all three Yoga girls. One of our daughters, Candace, has been a yoga instructor for years. Brenda and her friends are yoga instructors.

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Ok, she’s showing off a bit

I know a lot of people enjoy yoga. I understand it is good for you. Brenda even talked me into trying it – twice. It didn’t stick. Anyway, Brenda wanted to take her friends out for a ride in the boat.

I’d just finished about 3 hours of cardio – running and riding. She found me asleep on the floor in one of my sheds. I suppose I’ll need to find a better hideout. But, Brenda got me up and moving so we could get out on the boat.

As I was gathering what I needed to take on the boat Brenda found me and asked me to get my shotgun to shoot a snake. She said, “There’s a moccasin eating a fish on the steps leading into the water.”

Sure enough, there was a massive water moccasin slowly mouthing a fish into its gut. The snake never stood a chance.

After that excitement we did get on the water for an hour or so. We headed back sooner than expected because the ladies were getting hungry.

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The remainder of the afternoon was devoted to archery. It was nearly 90 degrees when I started shooting. After an hour and a half I took a break to write this post. Once this is done, I’ll be heading back out to shoot some more.

Toss the ball, shoot the arrow, run from the rain

It was going to rain, again. No doubt. Staying close to the front door was going to come in handy when it arrived. So, along with River, we went outside to shoot dots.

It was a bit windy, the wind pushing the rain toward us. In order to get in as much practice as I could in a short time I selected a 5-spot. I’d not shot a 5-spot in months. It would allow me 5 arrows before I needed to retrieve them.

River was not even a little interested in archery, today. She wanted to play. The rain has kept her inside more than she is accustom. As I’d line up for a shot, she’d get right behind me a bark.

Her barks are good practice for focus. Blocking that noise out and hitting a good shot is difficult. She can become relentless.

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Game on!

So, here’s the game: Shoot, toss a ball, shoot, toss a ball. Get barked at, shoot, fuss at River to be quiet, she gets quiet, I draw, take aim, she barks, I toss the ball.

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So, you think this is over?

The rain did come and it was hard. It looked like fog floating over the river. It wasn’t fog. River and I headed inside before the deluge hit. Pretty much a repeat of today’s earlier practice.

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Game Over!

Sufficiently Worn Out

Being physically worn out is a good feeling. Right now, I have that feeling. Today, there was a lot of moving around outside and that is how I earned being beat.

The weather, after several days of cold and rain, turned clear and warm. Not hot, warm, 81°F. It was a day to spend outside, so I did spent it outside.

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Well, this was a good start to a fun day

The morning began with a run. River, my lab and her friend, Coco, a lab that lives about a mile away, ran with me. After the run, I got in about 30 minutes of archery practice before moving onto the lawn.

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When I cut my grass I ride on a small John Deere tractor. It’s a lot easier than pushing a mower. When I cut the grass I also cut one or more of my neighbors lawns. Today, I cut only one of the neighbors’ lawns – the neighbor that allows me use of his acreage across our road (it’s a dirt/gravel path more than street, so I call it a road) for my 3D range.

Then, I tended to the 3D range. Weed whacking, trimming and blowing away debris and clumps of grass follows the mowing. The entire process takes about five and half hours.

There was plenty of daylight and great weather remaining. It was prefect for cycling. The morning run wasn’t hard and cycling was also at an easy pace. Cycling lasted a little more than an hour.

Finishing up the outside play was another two hours of archery practice. All of this was 3D focused. The 3D range, freshly manicured was irresistible.

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This day began at 5:30 am and the exercise part of it ended at 5:30 pm. It was a good day to be outside and I worn myself out taking advantage of it.

Heading to the Steel City

We’re heading to Pittsburgh today. We lived there for several years. It’s a great city; it’s a cold city. The cold ran us Savannahians out of town after four years of frigid suffering. We left one of our children behind, our youngest daughter. She attended college in the Steel City. She found her husband among the locals and there they remain.

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Leaving this for a few days

Over the course of their marriage they’ve had three children. This weekend is a birthday party for two of them. So, here we go, again.

It’s May and the temperature during the night in western Pennsylvania is going to the in the 40’s (F). We’ve packed our, once put away, winter apparel for the spring trip. We’ve also pack athletic gear.

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Among the gear is Brenda’s, my wife, fancy Yoga mat. I don’t do Yoga. I tried a couple of times, at Brenda’s encouragement – it didn’t stick. My gear includes running shoes, running jacket, and running shorts. It also includes my archery equipment.

There is a range nearby where we once lived, at Boyce Park. It’s an outdoor range and I’m going to give it a shot while we’re there. This should be a fun trip.

Swimming and 3D Practice

Swimming was my primary focus for today’s cardio training. Since it’s been raining non-stop swimming at the YMCA was perfect. Then, it was onto 3D or indoor archery depending on the weather.

I have a triathlon in a few weeks. My goal for this workout was time. I did a swim time trial for the distance I’ll be swimming in the June XTerra triathlon. The distance is not an issue. What I wanted to know is how slow (or fast) I might be over the 800 yards (sprint distance) for the triathlon. Whatever time I have the in pool it will be faster than open water. In open water it’s harder to keep a straight line. I tend to zigzag from buoy to buoy.

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Swimming in open water – I barely stay on a straight line

Heading back to my Ford F-150, after the swim, I was pleased to see it had stopped raining. Not really wanting to shoot indoors I knew I’d be on the 3D range soon. I’d recently gotten a new 3D target, a bobcat, and was eager to stick some arrows into the small cat.

Before I got to my new target I spent time shooting a bear, badger, coyote and turkey. Progressing through the range, I was anticipating the new animal. Shooting the same old targets day in and day out is fun, but a new target is exciting.

The bobcat is certainly a small target. Where it’s placed on the range the maximum distance it can be shot is 32 yards. That seemed like a good place to start. The rings on the bobcat are barely visible using binoculars from 32 yards. This wasn’t a freebee shot.

The cat sits so that it’s in a tunnel of foliage. From the stake, which is in the open, the shot enters a closed in path. This was done in an attempt to make the shot more difficult.

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Patch of blue sky through the leaves

I’ve seen bobcats similar to this one during tournaments. Each time the faux Lynx rufus was sitting straight down a lane less than 20 yards from the stake. Granted, it is a small target and during tournaments small targets are frequently arranged less than 20 yards from the stake. Small targets aren’t always so close. The last few javelinas I’ve had to shoot in tournaments were at 40 plus yards. I silently cursed before I took my shot.

My inaugural shots on the bobcat were a ten and an eight. The eight was the first attempt. I tried a few more times to hit the very small center ring from 32 yards – never got it and moved onto the next animal.IMG_5035

Where I wanted to spend some time was on this pig that is situated so that trees and angles make up the challenge. I have three stakes for this pig. There’s not much different where distance is concerned, two shots are at 37 yards and one is at 34 yards. The trick is to get the arrow between the trees and hit the pig on a slant for the longer shots. At 34 yards the shot is nearly straight on.

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You can tell the angle of aim on this pig from the arrow placement

What’s happened, as summer approaches (come on warm weather) is that the foliage in the woods has darkened everything. The black boar’s rings are impossible to see. Shoot it enough and maybe the rings can be committed to memory. If only all the pigs I see in tournament were at 37 to 34 yards and the size of this one.

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It’s almost like a rain forest in these woods

Back in the woods, out of the wind, I have a couple of targets where longer shots are possible. One is a Rinehart deer that, at the moment, has a 55 yards maximum range. There’s also a mountain lion, that if I wanted, I can shoot at from 100 yards or more. Note I wrote, “shoot at” from 100 yards not hit from 100 yards. I’ve never tested a shot over 85 yards. (I found that arrow cutting the grass last week)

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Practice kept me in the woods for around two and a half hours this afternoon. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon. The lighting in the woods because of leaves gives this forest a very different appeal than the bare trees of winter. It sure beats sitting in an office.

The Mother Load of Triathlons

If you read this website, you know it is not exclusively about archery. Among the posts here are writings about running, cycling, swimming, and triathlons. Yes, archery is the major topic – it’s the ambitious experiment with a study population of 1.

Regarding archery as an experiment, well in a manner that is exactly what the sport of archery is providing me. Using whatever training, science, and psychology available I wanted to see whether I could be successful as a competitive archer. The archery experiment has been underway for 34 months. As such, 34 months ago I shot, for the first time, a compound bow. The study remains inconclusive.

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Archery is also a competitive fix satisfier. I love to compete. I love sports. I have zero natural talent. I am somewhat short (5’8″ and shrinking) and slow.  Nevertheless, I been fairly successful in long distance sports.

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I do understand a lot of the science around sports.  I’ve used what brains I have to help compete against athletes that exceed my brawn. Sometimes it worked, many times it didn’t. In either case, I had some fun.

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When we moved to our home in North Carolina there weren’t many local endurance races. I’d bought a bow on an impulse and was soon hooked shooting. It is easy to understand why there are so many archers – it is very addictive. And, even a talentless retiree could hit a paper target with practice.

However, my need to race in endurance events remained strong. I have no desire to go after an Ironman; I’ve done plenty of them. Any triathlon would satisfy. The ones available were long drives away, expensive, and nearly always interfered with an archery tournament.  Not yet ready to give up on endurance sports I’ve continued to do moderate training in the, what seemed, unlikely circumstance that there was a run, ride, or triathlon nearby – at least in the State of North Carolina. The training, in my opinion helps with archery.

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In the past, and currently, I’ve traveled a lot to compete in sport. I’ve raced or trained in Europe, Japan, Asia, nearly every US State including Hawaii, and Australia. Most of this was associated with travel where I was not footing the bill. Today, I have to pay to play. Believe me, archery is a lot less expensive than an Ironman and the travel is more humane.

Still, it was sad that there did not seem to be a lot of endurance events anywhere near where I live in North Carolina. True, there are a few races over on the Outer Banks. I’ve done them several times. Locally, there was zippo. Then, by chance, I found the mother load of endurance racing on a website for North Carolina.

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What a relief. I was so disparate for an endurance race I was considering running an Ultra-marathon, a 100-mile run. The distance isn’t so much of a worry, the boredom is the obstacle. Since I found the races I’m already planning one race per month through November 2016. If I have a weekend that hasn’t been filled with an archery competition, well I’m racing. Heck, I am  considering another Ironman for 2017. Happy days are here again.

Recent Web Stats

Occasionally, I check the GoDaddy stats they keep on this website. It gives me information regarding visits, pages read, hits, time spent on the site by visitors and other data.

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I can’t read, but I’m happy to be on your site.

I’d not checked the stats a while and was killing time before I headed to the YMCA for a swim. So, I decided to take a look at the GoDaddy data. This is what it revealed.

Over the past 11 months there have been 116, 271 visitors here at Puttingitontheline.com. Y’all read 272,973 pages and it had 1.27 million hits.

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I can’t read either, but you can use my picture

In April most people spent 4.5 minutes on the site per visit. During the past 11 months (May isn’t included since we’re still in May) 15% of the visitors stayed on the site from 15 minutes to over an hour.

Thanks for reading – typos and all.