After what seemed like a very LOONNNGGGG indoor season (Nov-March for me), I was happy to start my outdoor season and shooting at 50M again.
First up for me was a local indoor 50M tournament. This event is held at Brandeis University each spring and is a great way to test equipment, without having to shoot in multiple feet of snow. Also because it is indoors, you don’t have wind and other factors to deal with, so you really can see how your equipment is performing.
This year was probably the best turnout I’ve seen yet at this event, and I am guessing it was due to our miserable winter here in NE. We all were excited to shoot 50M and our outdoor setups. We shot a full 720 round in the morning for qualification, after being given an hour of practice to get sighted in, etc. I shot all of practice with my Apex 7, however, on the first scoring end I decided now was the time to test my new TRG. I ended up spending all of qualification tuning it, so my score was pretty pathetic.
After lunch we moved into head to head eliminations, and as the top seeded female, I got a bye my first match. I shot some really good scores in the afternoon, but I also felt like I needed more time with the new bow. It is such a different feel from what I am used to, I know it will take time to get adjusted. I will say, I shot some awesome groups with it, and I went on a 30 run, which felt great to do early in the season. I ended up winning, and more exciting R took home the silver for the men’s recurve, after winning a single arrow shootoff!
I had a couple more days in the snow, and then I boarded a plane to Mexico for the annual Versus tournament. The thing I love about this tournament is the fact that it allows all shooters to shoot A LOT of arrows. Most tournaments you shoot qualification, and then you are done as soon as you lose a single match. Even if you win, you are shooting usually no more than 5 matches. At Versus, you participate in multiple round robins, meaning on the 3rd day alone I shot 165 arrows for score (not counting practice arrows).
Practice day I spent with both my bows trying to decide which one I was going to start the season with. I knew whatever I shot in Versus would be my primary bow for the first part of the season due to so many tournaments so close together at the start. Being a creature of habit, I decided to go with my Apex 7. After a very disappointing qualification, I began questioning my decision, but I had to remember this was my first real outdoor shooting.
I’ve always felt I shoot better in light to moderate wind, but in qualification the wind was having a big negative impact on me. I think in the end, being my first outdoor tournament, I was over-thinking everything and trying to judge the wind too perfectly. Yes, it was a swirly tricky wind, but it really wasn’t gusty, so if I just made good, strong shots I would have fared much better. I took this with me into the rest of the tournament, and it definitely seemed to pay off.
The first day of round robins I shot better than in qualification and won all my matches, but my scores were still not yet where I wanted them to be. I tried to focus on what I was doing well and just concentrate on repeating those things moving forward. Day 2 of round robins brought stiffer competition and LOTS of arrows. I built momentum and confidence as the day went on, reaching a 147 in one of my afternoon matches. However, I then started to feel the fatigue of not shooting 200-300 arrows in a day at home. Because I can shoot outdoors at home, I am able to get a lot of practice in, even with working a non archery job, but during the winter it is tough with the closest range and hour away and short distance target in the basement.
Luckily, even with being tired, I was able to win all but one match, placing me in the top 4 for the tournament. I shot against another Mathews shooter (Toja Cerne from Slovenia) in the semi finals, and although I had a slow start, I came back from behind to win the match. This earned me a spot in the finals against my good friend (and the person I was staying with for the week), Linda. We were both excited to not only have made the finals, but to get to shoot against each other. We’ve had a pretty even history, although she is the only person to ever beat me at AZ Cup…guess it’s a good thing she isn’t going this year 🙂
Sunday was the day for all the medal matches. I got to the field, warmed up and generally felt ready going into my match. The wind was very minimal, and it wasn’t yet scorching hot on the field. However, my match started disastrous. I opened with a 9, 9, 8 giving me a score of 26! I regrouped and the next end I opened with a money shot (I knew it was an X before announcer called it), but then I heard 8! I thought, WTF…Without time to think more I shot my next two shots which also felt like good shots. They both landed in the 9 ring, meaning another 26 for a total of 52. In compound our elimination matches are on total score, so at this point I was down 4 points, which is a landslide for compound.
I told myself I would not give up, and I would keep fighting. I knew I could shoot well, I just had to focus in on the little things I knew I could do well and hope the shots would land from there. My next two ends I drilled perfect 30s, and I was right back in things. Linda and I were tied going into the 5th and final end. I knew if I could shoot another 30, that would mean a win or a shootoff. On the first arrow we both shot 10s, then on the second arrow she shot a 10 and I let my bow arm drop costing me a 9 just out low, and then we both closed with 10s.
I may have lost by 1 point, but I was very happy with myself for battling back and only dropping 1 point in my last 3 ends. Overall, I made huge strides from the first day of the tournament, and I feel much more confident headed to AZ Cup (the first US qualifier and a World ranking event) next week. Do I have work to do? Of course, there is always things to work on and improve upon, but I’m building from the positives.