If I was (were?) to start this blog with the sentence. “I couldn’t get my car to start” you might wonder if you were reading an earlier post. Sadly this wouldn’t be the case.
This was the headline from yesterday. You should recall that I changed the glow plugs and that good things would begin to happen. Sadly this was only half true. The car did indeed start and start very quickly first thing this morning. However after an ninety minutes at the archery club it just wouldn’t have it. Fortunately there were some kind souls who helped bump the thing off. If it wasn’t for extreme and continued financial embarrassment I would teach it a thing or two about mocking me and making life awkward.
On the bright side, not even the car could dampen my spirits after visiting the club. Last night I discussed my worries about shooting a bow right handed with Linda. I had spent such a great amount of time making straps and trying different combinations to make the compound work that I had pretty much convinced myself it was a none starter. For the benefit of those not in the know about bow mechanics, on a recurve bow, you start to draw the string and the pressure increases the further you draw back. With a compound bow, the higher effort is required at the start of the draw and the pressure lets off due to a cam system that works like a block and tackle. The effort at the start was manageable but caused my duff arm to move with the bow, I would then have to reset my draw hand back to where it started. Archery is all about repetition and my concerns were that this technique wouldn’t easily be repeated and that I could do some damage trying to adjust my arm under tension time and time again. Linda was very reassuring, that I could make it happen and that it would be ok. I was less convinced but determined nonetheless.
It didn’t take very long in the freezing weather to confirm my fears. Trying to push the bow away from my face requires an almost completely extended tricep to try and contract, far from ideal as the initial bump of pressure to get things moving was enough to unseat the arrow from the rest. Attempts to perform the draw quicker only resulted in my draw hand ending up further from my face and the arrow falling off the rest. When I did get the shot off it was ok but the success ratio was about 1 shot to 10 attempts. Very tiring and equally so for those having to wait for me to shoot. There was another side effect I hadn’t realised, the draw hand seated very low on my face, this is called the reference point. The reference point for a compound ideally occurs around the corner of the mouth. My reference point was under the jaw bone, trying to get higher just wouldn’t happen for me. Below the jaw is the accepted reference point for shooting freestyle (olympic) recurve.
As I considered the results of my efforts, the power bump at the front end of the draw, the reference point too low, the muscular requirements the wrong way round it became obvious that a recurve bow might be the thing to try. A few minutes later I was out in the perishing cold with a club recurve and three borrowed arrows. From the very first draw it was apparent that this was the only way. I could easily draw and settle on the shot. My elbow wasn’t under any real tension or in any pain at all. There didn’t appear to be any downsides, I had indeed found a way.
One of the club elders has kindly offered to loan a freestyle set up to me so that I can test it out further before committing to buying another bow set up and for the first time since the accident I am actually excited at the prospect. It has been two decades since I last shot freestyle , I wonder if I will be as good as I think I was . My legendary ability may well be tested in reality again.