Collecting the Kit & First Shoot!
So, I managed to talk to the guys at Quicks Archery Waterlooville on Thursday. Then needed to know the size of the limbs (the arms of the bow) I needed and draw-length (how far I can pull the string back)… I suggested that I could go and visit them to check me over and set the bow up – and they had time for me to visit them on yesterday (Fri 16 Feb 18)!!!!
The riser (the handle of the bow – and the most important part of the bow) that the RNOC/ARNO had been suggested had been sold that morning. That meant other than a 4-6 week wait, paying an additional £300 (yes, I said £300) or I would have to drop the price/quality of the riser. I agreed with the latter (I don’t have £300 in my back pocket) but that meant that I could upgrade my limbs (make them faster at the same draw weight – the power of the bow) and improve various other parts of my kit.
So Friaday entailed a 2.5 hour drive to the store to be met by the Leslie (Thank God they are nice people, as I’m virtually agoraphobic at the moment and I arrived shaking and barely able to speak). He pointed out that the bill had already been paid, and was I totally fixed on what was on the list. I explained that having been a barebow archer for the last 18 months, I knew little about the accessories and twiddly bits I needed, but my coach would kill me if I bought rubbish! He laughed and told me we could mix it up.
He took me upstairs and introduced me to my new riser (the handle) and limbs and insisted that I shot at least 30 arrows with it – he wasn’t happy…! He thought that I should go up a weight (the strength of the limbs). I have been shooting 30lbs, so we tried the carbon 32lbs limbs and it felt like my old bow!!!
So it was back to the store and getting all the extra bits: Stabilisers, dampeners, clickers, sight (that one part cost more than 2 times the price of my old bow!), sling, pressure button, finger tabs, chest guard, bracers… I won’t bore you with the entire list! But the store got very busy and a few customers were getting agitated that they were waiting so long…
Like many of you, I can’t handle being crowded at the moment and I’m paranoid that people are looking at me… I was having verbal and physical tics and started to panic – and Leslie looked at me and asked “would you like a minute – I can get stuff from the store room for you for a bit…” Bless him so much! It enabled me to run out the front of the store and have a ciggie [terrible habit – but, “needs must when the devil vomits in your kettle…” Copyright Blackadder the Second]. The fact he could see that I was in distress and didn’t make an issue of it, made me feel so much better and enabled me to concentrate on the kit in front of me.
I have to point out that my grant request was for £800… I walked away with £1,200 worth of kit for a total price of £1,002!!! And thanks to the RNOC/ARNO, I didn’t spend a penny!
I couldn’t wait to get home and start playing with the kit! My son (13) is a fellow barebow archer, so he was as excited as me, and helped me work out what went where. I was also on Facebook Messenger talking to my coach and an amazing bloke I met on the Invictus Archery Training Camp asking for advice – and they showered me with information. I built it…
Okay – as soon as my wife and kids went to bed, I started crying! I was staring at this thing… It was beautiful… It was going to take me places… But I couldn’t afford it!!!!
Yet, sometimes thoughts hit you that make a substantial difference… I got this bow because of a story… I was refused by a number of charities for a grant… I posted a request for information on FVUK… I received tons of advice, love, support and a demented bunch of the managers of FVUK saying they weren’t taking no for an answer… FVUK gave me a SSAFA rep who did the paperwork and RNOC/ARNO came up trumps (not forgetting that FVUK were checking in on me all the time to see if I was alright and if they needed to prod anyone).
This isn’t my bow. It’s the members of FVUK’s bow… It’s SSAFA’s bow… It’s RNOC/ARNO’s bow… It’s Quicks Bow…
IT’S OUR BOW!
I’m just the muppet shooting it.
So today, I took myself to my Scout Hut (please ask questions on why I have access to a Scout Hut and call it mine!) and shot 144 arrows.
Damn, was it different! Damn, was it heavy! Damn, did I get frustrated with the f***ing thing! But my groupings got better and better and better and better… The maximum score you can get from 6 arrows (metric) is 60… I scored my first ever 50 at 20yrds! This is the first time I have ever shot the thing!
[For archers that are interested, the scoring was 10 – 10 – 9 – 9 – 8 – 4… Yeah, there’s always that one arrow that gets away from you!]
Now it’s time to get in some very serious practice! I’m not shooting for me, alone, anymore…
I’m shooting for all of us in FVUK!