Dressing for Winter!

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Its either this or brave the winter elements!

Indoor shooting access isn’t going to happen this winter by the looks of things so we are probably outdoors for the foreseeable future!
Outdoors?! … in a Scottish winter!?!
Don’t panic, stay calm. Now shooting al fresco in the winter is something that not many outside the insanely hardy have experienced. Unless you have shot a Frostbite or even an Ironman (see below for details of these macho rounds), the idea of being outside in winter with your bow is probably going to be more alien to you than some of the residents of Area 51. But you need your archery fix … So what do you need if shootie in the freezing cold is your only option?

Clothing

Obviously when the temperature drops you are going to need to stay warm but you cannot just bulk up clothing without it getting in the way of your form and the string. That’s frustrating like you won’t believe. So … here are a few things to wear ensuring you stay warm while shooting but won’t add to your archery woes.

winnie-the-poohA Hat: Here you need a beanie or woolly ski hat. This will keep your ears warm and will retain a great deal of your body heat which is lost through the head. The sillier the better as it keeps the other archers spirits up when they get to see you in a winnie the pooh hat.

Upper body: A long sleeved, cold gear, compression T-shirt like the ones made by UnderArmor are fantastic for retaining warmth. In addition they are skin tight meaning they don’t impede shooting at all. Add one or two tight, into the body, normal tops. These multiple layers form heat traps that keep you warm and can be fine tuned with the removal or addition of a layer as required.
A cheaper but perfectly viable alternative to UA is Decathlon ski wear tops (WEDZE) whose products are warm, comfortable and not as expensive. These may only be available online at present depending when you read this. Remember to add extra heat trapping, form fitting layers.
More radically, get a top with heating elements embedded. GA has a member (edit: its now two) with one of these. You can tell who it is as he steams slightly when its cold plus raining/snowing and unusually this isn’t due to frustration with his archery (GA members: no, its not who you think it is). 

Lined Trousers: Companies like Craghoppers do hiking trousers that are lined so keeping warmth in the lower body. If lined trousers aren’t possible, the alternative is long ski underwear (again see Decathlon’s WEDZE ski kit) and indeed you can have both on for extra warmth. Again its all about layers and heat trapping.

Jacket: You don’t want a thick jacket. This is something else that will get in the way of your form or the string. Think more wind breaker with some water resistance if its snowing or light rain ideally tailored. Soft shell jackets do well here. Alternatively a gillet (a sleeveless jacket resembling a waistcoat) can keep your core warm while allowing free movement of arms and no impediment to the string. See also tubular bandages.
Don’t forget your chest guard will be extremely useful when wearing a jacket and remember to tuck the jacket collar inside the jacket.

Gloves: A pair of gloves i.e. ski gloves not marigolds, driving or evening wear (although those do come up to the elbow which is useful – see tubular bandage below) are pretty important. If you finish shooting before the last person on the line, get those gloves on before your hands turn into small blocks of ice. Also wear when walking to collect your arrows. Again, Decathlon WEDZE kit is good value.

Socks: You have no idea how much heat can leech through your feet especially with wellies so thick socks are pretty much de rigueur! Even sturdy footwear is struggling with the mud currently so its wellies or possibly riding boots.

Accessories

tubular

Totally Tubular Dude!

Tubular Bandage: A great way to gather up any loose clothing i.e. jacket sleeves and tuck them out of the way are tubular bandages. They are elasticated tubes so when pulled on over loose clothing, they immediately compress them into a state that they don’t get in the way of the string. One on your bow arm is ideal then your bracer on top. Every archer should have at least one of these cheap but useful items in their kit all the time.

Hand Warmers: These fall into the categories of reusable or chemical. Either do the job. Sticking one in each pocket is a toasty nirvana although just one is fine. Between ends these stop your hands freezing. Believe me shootie is impossible if you can’t feel your string through your tab or in extremes of weather … can’t feel the tab!

A Flask: Ok … its not the flask that’s important, its the Coffee or Tea or Soup or Mulled Wine (remembering drink driving restrictions) in the flask. Honestly, you will look forward to that beverage break every 12 arrows! Just remember toilet facilities are non-existent at present as the pavilion is still off limits.

So there you have it, shooting in the freezing cold is doable. It just takes a little more preparation and a little more resolution on the archers part to get out of that warm bed. Don’t think just because its cold means you have to give up your archery that week. You just prepare a little more thoroughly … and be a little bit mad. ;o)

(note: in winter 2013/14 our editor shot on his own, in sub zero temperatures, snow, freezing rain and howling gale for at least 2 hours every single Sunday he wasn’t competing! Admittedly he’s not right in the head .. but with the right clothing and attitude, archery is possible, even ‘fun’ in those conditions … if you like that sort of thing!)

PS:
Frostbite: 36 arrows at 30m on an 80cm face. Must be SHOT IN THE WINTER!
Ironman: 2 frostbites back to back plus another 12 arrows in between just to make you suffer a bit more! (84 arrows at 30m on an 80cm face)

Nights fair drawing in …

night

Its all fun and games til you miss into thick grass!

As we wave the summer (summer .. hah!) goodbye and move into the autumn, by now we would usually be safe and warm indoors. We’re not even sure that is going to be possible this year but there’s arrows to be shot so outdoors remains our only option. Unfortunately our usual midweek evenings have become too dark for archery so our plan for the winter is as follows …

There will be an outdoor session on the Craigholme playing field Saturdays (9am til noon) and two Sunday sessions outdoors (9am til 11am and 11am til 1pm). As before, if you are a member of Glasgow Archers, an associate member of GA or have already shot a session with us as a guest, you can book your session via glasgow.archers.booking@gmail.com

If you are a member of another club and are interested in coming along and shooting, contact us at the following address for details: glasgow.archers.membership@gmail.com

Please note that all sessions must be pre-booked 2 days in advance for you to be allowed to shoot. This is to allow an audit trail for track and trace. You should also ensure that you have a valid AGB card because as of 30th September, your 2019/20 membership has expired. You will not be allowed to shoot without a valid AGB membership as per Archery GB’s insurance policy.

Ki BoBae 기보배 – The Best

I recently got asked “who is the best archer in the world?” … and the answer should be easy, whoever is world champion right now. But that answer doesn’t sit well with me. We are the sport that exemplifies the “art of repetition” so whoever is best needs to have been the best for a considerable period of time … and that, for me, is a very easy choice.

Ki BoBae

Bo-Bae-Ki-Olympics-Day-2Ki BoBae is from South Korea and right there you already know this is going to be a list of superlatives. Three-time Olympic gold medalist with four Olympic medals overall makes her one of the most decorated Olympic archers of all time. In addition she was a three-time winner at the Archery World Cup finals. She has three times held the position as women’s world number one in the World Archery Rankings. And to prove I’m not the only one who feels she’s the best, Bow International magazine named her Archer of the Decade 2010-2019 in issue 140.

unnamedAlthough I was present early in her career, I saw her win the Bronze medal at the 2010 World Cup in Edinburgh, for me the journey with Ki BoBae begins with the 2012 Olympics. The final was shot at Lords Cricket ground in extremely windy conditions. Ki was being matched shot for shot by Mexican Aida Roman. After the 5th set, the match was tied 5-5 meaning it came down to a 1 arrow shoot off. Shooting first Ki scored an 8 almost on the 9 line. Fighting the swirling wind Roman also scored an 8 but more centrally in the ring meaning Ki was closer to the centre and so won. Watch the entire 16 minute match here … (breathing at times optional.)
In a post match interview when asked about the one arrow shoot off, with her voice cracking with emotion, she apologised saying “A Korean does not shoot an 8”. I think we can take that to mean “I don’t shoot an 8!” Strong in this one, the desire for perfection is!

KBBFor the next 2 years Ki was a regular in World Cup stages but in 2014 lost her edge and found herself off the international squad and watching the Asian Games from the commentary booth. What happened next was, if you were a Korean female archer facing Ki in competition, pretty terrifying. She found her motivation…
“… if I cannot participate in international competition, I would smash all the domestic competitions instead,” Ki said. “I decided to show everybody that I wasn’t dead yet.”

What followed was a reign of terror on the domestic professional circuit where Ki literally demolished opponent after opponent with a relentless string of wins that even had the hardened Korean archery fraternity going “Daaaaamn!“. 2015 unsurprisingly saw her back on the Korean international team.

upgrade

targeting software upgrade

Returning to international competition, she did not let up. Ki was the women’s recurve world champion in 2015 and from 2015 to 2017 she held the world record score for the women’s WA720 (72 arrows at 70m on a 122cm face).
Ki, as part of the ladies recurve team at the 2016 Rio games took gold over Russia securing her third Olympic gold medal. With the stage set for drama no matter what happened … Ki’s bid to become the first Olympic archer to retain their Olympic title was ended by teammate Chang Hye-jin in the semi-finals. Chang outshot Ki in what some felt (me included – there was some bad language) was an upset. Ki went on to beat Mexican Alejandra Valencia to win what was for her, a consolation bronze medal.

Winning back to back World Cup finals in 2016 and 2017, it looked like she was back to dominating form. And in what was to be her last international appearance, the Dhaka 2017 Asian Archery Championships (24th-30th November 2017), she took an individual bronze and anchored the ladies recurve team for the gold.

ki bo baeTowards the end of 2017, at a time where Ki BoBae was regularly in the Korean sporting news, was being recognized in the street and people attended events specifically to see her, she got married with the intention of starting a family. With her 1st pregnancy running through the 2018 season, this saw Ki fade from the competitive scene.

Returning in 2019 she struggling to combine family life with practice. While she’s not the first international archer to be a parent and compete, it’s not the same in Korea. There the competition is beyond cutthroat and where its ‘perform now or adios muchachos!’ (“Being a member of the (Korean) national team is like asking for the moon.” Ki Bo Bae)
With archery now having to share her focus and time, Ki’s performance became mortal.  There were some emotional interviews after some very substandard competitions in 2019 (substandard for the perfectionist in her) … proving that the only way to go when you are The Best is eventually down.

The 2019 comeback had been with the intention of qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics but in the piranha fish tank of Korean archery, Ki was struggling. She was knocked out of the trials in September 2019 coming just 37th of 64. Its worth remembering that’s 37th where its been said 50 of the top 100 archers in the world are Korean.
(Google Translate horribly mangles this article, but I think the 2019 season began just 3 months after the birth of her daughter and Ki struggled to get into shape … read the article here – warning, its in Korean and google translate is not kind).
However with Tokyo being delayed till 2021 due to Covid-19, and the Korea Archery Association restarting the selection process .. she’s back in the running.

UPDATE: As of 1st November 2020 and the end of selection process stage two (32 archers remaining), Ki is still in the running for the Tokyo Olympics. Traditionally, the third and fourth phases of trials run until the spring, with the recurve team named a few weeks before the first Hyundai Archery World Cup stage of the season which is in Guatemala City, Guatemala – 19-25th April. Readable English article here

Given her sheer dominance 2011 till 2017, she is and will remain for me the most successful archer ever to have strung a bow … and personally I’m not counting her out yet. There’s just too much determination and will to win wrapped up in that 5’6″, 123lbs frame. I fully expect, well .. fervently hope .. to see her back on the line at Tokyo doing what she does best … winning!

Ki BoBae’s World Archery International Career in numbers

Videos of Ki Bo Bae in action:
Ki BoBae shot in slow motion
Ki BoBae archery technique evolution (2010-2017)
World Cup 2010 Edinburgh v Yun Ok Hee (GA archer visible at 0:31 seconds)
World Cup 2010 Edinburgh v Justyna Mospinek – Bronze medal match
Ki BoBae throwing the first pitch in a baseball game … with a bow!

Note: Much of the above information was gathered from Korean websites. I used machine translation (MT) to get the information and its no exaggeration to say Google Translate struggles with Korean. If you see anything majorly wrong in the above, please let me know via our contact form and I will correct.

THIS IS THE POLICE …

armed police

… PUT THE ACG BACK IN YOUR QUIVER, UNSTRING YOUR WIN&WIN CXT AND STEP OFF THE LINE!

Remember back at the beginning of lockdown … AGB, the SAA and even your humble editor were warning archers of the perils of backyard archery? Well this poor archer learned the hard way that people can be a bit stupid, panicky or just plain vindictive.

Archer and instructor Rob Frontier had been rough shooting in a sunken glade in some woods when he was surrounded by armed police. He had been reported as “intoxicated” and in possession of a bow and arrows.

He had had people watching him shoot who enjoyed what he was doing but someone felt the need to report him. Now while this tale had a happy ending for our hero since the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, Section 154 is quite clear in there has to be “intent to cause alarm or distress” which he had not. And its is a very valid defense for you to prove that your conduct was reasonable which he could… however it could all have ended very messily indeed.

So now we have GA back open again … the best place for archery is down at Craigholme (or your own club if you aren’t a Glasgow Archer) where any visit from the police is purely one of interest or routine. If your own club’s registered venue isn’t open yet and you are in central scotland … you can always come shoot with us!

Original story found in the Swindon Advertiser: Archery instructor says he was left traumatised after armed police swooped

Breakfast of Archers

Had these been normal times, we would have been well into the outdoor competitive season by now. While talking about the impact that lockdown was having on archery, it dawned on me there is something archers might not have seen since last year. An archery treasure we should not let slide from memory. A shoot tradition that must not be allowed to fade. I’m referring to the Breakfast of Archers AKA the much loved Roll and Lorne Sausage.
If you are not Scottish (Scots know of this repast at a genetic level) and have never heard of this culinary delight … let me paint you a picture:

<Beware, the following was written by an unhealthy carnivore. There is no vegan, vegetarian or healthy eating option.>

lorne

artwork optional … but appropriate

Situation: Field party duty can be at times a little thankless. For archers doing field party duties setting up the field, its an early start. Its probably raining. There’s a lot of physical humphing of heavy items and the place is littered with the endlessly whynging competitive archers. However, by 9am the field is ready, the judges take control and the field party retire for the highlight of the day … Breakfast.

As you approach the pavilion, a glorious smell will lift you from tired and fed up to a state approaching nirvana. Get closer and an angelic sizzle will assail your ears. Entering the kitchen you lay eyes on the components of natures most perfect food … morning rolls and the lorne sausage! Your heart sings with joy (if muted slightly by clogged arteries). Grabbing roll and lorne sausage .. you shuffle one into the other then smother in either ketchup or brown sauce. The resultant ‘sandwich’ is shoved into gob with about the same finesse as would be expected from a starving rugby league team in an “all you can eat in 20 minutes” buffet. Instantly the world is a better place and a day of soggily searching for lost arrows and moving bosses for ungrateful archers no longer looks so bad. If only it worked on my life the way it works at the field! :o(

Background: The lorne, square or sliced sausage is traditional scottish fare (and therefore deeply unhealthy). Its basis is a mixture of pork and beef. They are minced together with rusk and spices, packed into a rectangular tin about about 9-10 centimeters (4 in) square-ish, and then cut into slices up to 1 centimeter (0.4 in) thick. When cooking you fry or (the slightly healthier option) grill them. Expect the sausage to shrink considerably during cooking as the thing is laden with fat which will messily escape when cooked. It’s ideal fare to fortify a people who live in a cold, wet climate. Under no circumstances look at the packaging for ingredients unless horror movies are your favourite cinematic treat. Its said they are a good source of potassium, protein, calcium, essential vitamins and form an ideal base for a healthy breakfast. (Honestly, got no idea who would say that at least not without falling over while laughing!) However the taste is as ambrosia from the (archery) gods which will sustain and nurture you throughout a long soggy boring day and an archer on field party duty can ask no more than that.

References: If you are interested in the history of this uniquely scottish dish, this is a rather good article from the Scotsman. And if you want to read of the incident where the humble lorne sausage was at the centre of allegations of cultural appropriation which included appeals to the scottish government to “dae somfin”, check out the above link.

Note for furriners: In scotland, while this syntax may be completely at odds with your understanding of the english language …. a roll and sausage is not the same as a sausage roll. Be warned.

Dishing it out Korean Style

Koreans are arguably the best archers in the world. Its been said that to shoot like a Korean, you need to be like a Korean …

… so tonight I think I’ll have Bulgogi (Korean Fire Meat) for dinner. That’s being Korean! Lets get started as there’s a little preparation:

Ingredients (for two):

Marinade:

  • 1/2 pear, peeled and grated roughly
  • 80-90ml soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • 1 heaped tablespoon Gochujang (a Korean red pepper paste available in Morrisons foreign food section. Its in a red tub)
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

Other stuff you need:

  • 300-400g (depending on appetite) of boneless steak. I used Denver steak from Morrisons
  • Sunflower oil
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • Rice

What you do:

  1. Stick the steak in a zip bag and put in the freezer for 30 minutes. This will make slicing easier. Cut across the grain into 6mm or 1/4-inch (in old money) thick strips.
  2. Mix the pear, soy, sesame oil, garlic, brown sugar, ginger and gochujang paste in a bowl. Place the mixture and the steak in another zip bag into the fridge for at least 3 hours (for best results, overnight). Turn occasionally.
  3. Dinnertime – get the rice on … you know how long to cook it.
  4. Heat wok or frying pan to a medium high heat. Fry the steak in a single layer in the sunflower oil for about 2-3 mins a side turning once. It should be well done.
  5. For the last minute or two, stir the marinade from the bag into the beef and heat til its hot and bubbling. (this will reduce it slightly which is good)
  6. Serve NOW including scraping out any caramelized marinade (the best bit) and garnish with the green onion and sesame seeds. (in restaurants Bulgogi arrives at your table like fajitas – so hot you have a wait a minute til it calms down).

So …. anything else you need to know?  If too much of the marinade is lost in cooking, its a little dry. First time I tried this, I quickly fried a few mushrooms which helped. You dont always need to use the marinade as a marinade, you can use it as a sauce on a stir fry. Just stir fry the beef and stir in the sauce at the end.

So, how was it? Awesome! Think slightly (or more dependent on how much paste you added) spicy BBQ. Did I shoot better? Oddly I did. So there might be something to “eat like a Korean, shoot like a Korean!”  ;o)

dinner

10 on the left … 10,10,9,9,9,9 on the right