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Outdoor Archery Season, 1998

[Master Bowman award] This was a disappointing season. It started out well, but slipped back into the comfort zone. After the U.S. Nationals, I made a concerted effort to increase the amount of practice and training I did, but the results strangely got worse after that. For all that, I managed to end up ranked third in California, and third in Scotland.

Summary

See the key for an explanation of the columns:

Fita average

A very poor streak at the end of the season ruined my confidence and averages for this year.
 Dist	 Hits  Golds    Score   Low  High  S. Dev. Num
  90m   35.88   3.76   266.59   230   301  19.2386  17
  70m   36.00   6.06   297.06   284   318   7.9518  17
  50m   36.00   6.50   300.13   269   315  11.5752  16
  30m   36.00  15.00   334.88   322   346   6.8818  16
  All  143.94  31.38  1199.38  1119  1248  35.1655  16

Competitions

Golden Gate Park Fita, 29th March
First. I had a good start to the season at this USAT Qualifier. I had taken delivery of a new bow two days before the shoot, set it up the day before but hadn't been able to tune it because of wind, and yet I shot a great 90m score. The intermediate distances weren't so good, but I was very pleased with the total.
Arizona Cup, 3rd-7th April
I repeated a mistake I made the previous year, and made a change too close to a competition. This time it was trying to set up my new X10s to shoot with the new bow. I did not get a good tune, and did not get sightmarks for all distances before the competition, which lead to me shooting good shots but scoring poorly, my worst score in three years. I managed to qualify only because they cut the field at the full 64 archers. I did some re-tuning from Don Rabska's advice before the eliminations, and managed to beat my friend Chris Jones in the first round before being beaten by Rick McKinney in the second.

The visit to the Arizona Cup was part of a longer holiday, in which I visited Death Valley and Grand Canyon.

Golden Gate Park Fita, 26th April
First. It was back to the A/C/E arrows for this competition. I got the arrows tuned quite well, and was getting my shot right for some great dozens. Other dozens I didn't get it right, so the score was about average, but I was happy because the signs of improvement were there.
Cotton Boll Classic, 2nd-3rd May
First. I had been shooting very well the week before this competition. I started out slightly weak, but quite soon regained my shot and finished the long distances quite well. The 50m didn't feel right but was scoring well. At this point, it looked like I would have a welcome return to Grand Master Bowman levels, but the 30m was disasterous, dropping my score to a mid-1200. I combined this trip with another favourite past-time by flying a light plane down to Tulare.
California Cup, 9th-10th May
A reasonable start, followed by poor intermediate distances should have raised warning signals. This was the start of a (hopefully short) slump. My shot was not very consistent, and even though I got an average score in the qualifying Fita, I didn't shoot very well in the round-robin Olympic matches the second day.
Colchester Double Fita Star, 23rd-24th May
The official weather was
Conditions were declared inclement at the commencement, but improved to near perfect weather (at least for Colchester!) leading to many 'personal bests' and Stars...
My own recollection is somewhat different, and mainly involved feeling cold and tired. The tired part was due to many late nights and early mornings the week before, combined with jet-lag and a late-night go-karting session the night before the shoot started. I gave up after 70m on the second day, when the tiredness and the thought of the long drive up to Edinburgh got the better of me.

I was also even more tired on Sunday; I had been down to Southend to finish off the night rating for my pilot's license, and on my return I could not find anywhere to sleep (the motels and hotels for miles around were full), so I ended up sleeping in the car.

I had also destroyed my sight at 90m by pinching the string and shooting an arrow off the top of the button, which unfortunately hit my sight ring.

West of Scotland Archery Championships, 30th-31st May
Third. It's official, I'm going soft due to the Californian climate. Linwood is not know for good weather, and it obliged this weekend with bitterly cold temperatures, stiff winds, and a good long dose of heavy rain. On top of that, I hadn't sorted out my loss of form from the previous week, so I turned in a couple of the lowest scores I have shot for years.

I have never seen so many people give up at a tournament; so many people had retired by the end of the tournament that the organisers switched to shooting a single line instead of two. This competition was more about endurance than anything else. In the heavy rain at the start of Sunday, my sight settings were so low that I was afraid of repeating the previous week's sight-destroying episode, so I moved the sight up and aimed at the target flag instead of the gold!

I also saw the most spectacular bow limb failure; while on full draw John MacIlroy's limbs exploded, dropping the arrow straight to the ground and flinging the broken bottom limb towards the target. Fortunately John was not hurt. One of the laminations in the top nock of the limbs must have come unstuck, with the string then slipping off the nock, and the limbs dry-firing. The lower limb cracked and split straight across, only the front carbon fibre lamination holding it together.

Golden Gate Park Fita, 14th June
Second. I shot a nice 90m without thinking about it, and then poor distances for the rest of this qualifier. My form problems from the previous weeks had not sorted themselves out, and I let myself get lulled into shooting any old way which might score, rather than settling down and working on my form.
California State Championships, 20th-21st June
For the second year, I hired a plane and flew down to Long Beach for this tournament. The flights down and back were easy and smooth, but this time I had a plane with enough range to make the trip without stopping for fuel, which cut a couple of hours off the total time. It was nice to get home before dark (ironically though, I didn't need to; my new night rating had arrived in the post the day before I left).

I didn't shoot too well, but I was working through my loss of form of the previous month, and was happy to see some improvement in my shot. Some blank bale and blind shooting on the practice butts helped towards realising what was going wrong, so I will be including a lot more of that in my training for the next period.

Sacramento 900 Round, 4th July
Third. An embarassingly poor round, but it was just a fun competition. I had been shooting field archery for the previous few weeks, and had made a few changes to my form that I had not had a chance to try them out on the flat. It turned out that one of the changes was very wrong.
U.S. Nationals, 3rd-7th August
I still was feeling the effects of being ill the previous week, and didn't feel too well at some points. Lack of practice was showing too. I shot loads of good shots, but I didn't always feel that I got rewarded for them.

On the second qualifying Fita, my limb tip delaminated, so I made the decision (which I had been intending to do anyway) to buy some new limbs. The new Win & Win limbs are the same weight are my Hoyt Carbon Foam limbs, but are significantly slower than the Hoyt limbs, so I needed to wind the bow up a bit to get the arrows to tune.

I came in exactly at the middle of the cut for the elimination round, but got unreasonably nervous during the eliminations. I was down 2 points after the first end, but got that back to be up one point after the second end. I shot two 10s at the start of the third end, and was on course to win, but I kept coming down because I didn't want to shoot a bad shot. The generator failed at this point, which took out the timing system, but I had my stopwatch running and knew how much time I had. I just couldn't get the shot to feel right. Just before the time was up I managed to get a reasonable shot away, but when I got to the target I found it in the three. As all I needed was a six to win I was very disappointed at losing the match and not getting the world ranking points.

Grape Stakes Fita, 29th-30th August
I had been re-shaping the grip on my bow after the U.S. Nationals, and I had re-painted and laquered the grip the week before. Unfortunately, I didn't discover until the start of the tournament that my sunblock dissolved the paint. I shot a dreadful 90m whilst trying to remove the ensuing sticky mess, and never really recovered.

By some miracle, I made it through to the semi-finals of the informal Olympic Round, but was beaten into fourth place. This wasn't too bad a result, since compounds and recurves were mixed together, with a 5-point handicap to the compounds.

Pacific Coast Championships, 19th-20th September
I can't remember much about this tournament, except that it was another disaster.
Sacramento Archery Club Fita, 27th September
After a shaky start, I recovered back to a poor but acceptable level, better than the recent disasters.
Duel in the Desert Trials, 3rd-4th October
After this tournament, I decided not to shoot the Duel in the Desert. I didn't even make the Duel team (actually, I would have, but there was a scoring error. I decided to let the selection stand.) I flew down to San Diego for it, this time the first time I'd taken a retractable gear plane away for a weekend. The flight was not uneventful; it was the first time I'd flown VFR over the top, and I also had a brake failure on landing. Fortunately the airport I flew into was an old military base with a 7,000 foot runway. As far as the shooting went, I just couldn't work out what was wrong. My shot felt good, but I just wasn't getting good results.

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Last modified on 12th February 2004 by angus@harlequin.com