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May 17, 2011

It was about two weeks ago I remember picking up my slingshot to see if I could still draw it. I couldn’t. It was a bit demoralizing. Things are starting to change though. Sunday, I felt it was time to hit the trail once more. I grabbed Big Tex and the dog and we made a trip to the holiest of places in Austin, the Greenbelt. We started out pretty chill, and I tried my best to keep it this way. The shoulder felt fine. The legs and lungs surprisingly felt fine. My technical skills hadn’t diminished one  single bit, in fact, they almost seemed better because I was riding at such a chill pace. I wasn’t planning on hitting up any backtrails since they are more technical than the main trail and fewer people use them, meaning I could be in trouble if I took a spill, but after Bird and I got to the dam and swam, we decided that it was just too nice a day to go home so soon. So we pushed deeper into no man’s land hitting up woodchip hill and then Travis Country. There is a nice little spot atop a bluff where you can stop and overlook the valley below, so we stopped for a little sunbath and to give thanks to the Creator for the beautiful day and many blessings bestowed upon us. I don’t know how, but I cleared that entire section of trail all the way to the power line. It was like my skills had gotten better with the time off the bike. We took the powerline trail all the way back to the creek before heading back to the 360 parking lot. It was about a 3 hour trip including stops, and surprisingly enough, the shoulder felt ok.

My first physical therapy (PT) session had occurred the Friday before, and I had noticed some improvement, which spurred me to go for the ride. Although there wasn’t a lot of pain, the ride sort of cinched things up and we had to work it back out with my Monday session. I don’t have regrets for doing the ride, and besides, you don’t know how an organism responds to a stimulus without testing it out. The Monday PT session wasn’t as promising and much more painful, to the point that I came close to blacking out again, but these things take time.

Shooting a BowToday, Tuesday, something happened that inspired me to see if I could draw my hunting bow. I took it out and tried and nada. It was set at the maximum 60 lb draw weight from when I was healthy. So I took out my allen wrench and backed off the weight some. Don’t know what it is, maybe 35 or 40 lbs, but I can draw it! First shot I tried to take and my string peep exploded and the arrow just fell to the ground. Nock must have slipped causing a “dry fire”. So now I’ve got sight pins, but no sight peep. The pins are pretty much worthless without a peep, so I take the pins off and I now all I have is my instinct. I’m also having to shoot with a finger tab since my trigger release glove has made my draw length too long (I think because I let so much weight off). Shooting a modern compound bow with old school techniques is interesting. But you know what, after a few shots of learning where the arrow went relative to my reference point, I nailed the target!

After that got a little tiring, I decided to play with the slingshot, which had demoralized me in the first place. I found a nice round rock, and happen to notice an ugly bird staring at my tomato plant which has some nice green tomatoes on it at the moment. I draw, take aim, and BAM! Rock hits the ground about 1″ away from the bird. A non-lethal shot, but effective, nonetheless.

So, all these things are small victories for me. Not as exciting as winning a 24 hour race, but the journey to success starts with a single footstep. What footsteps are you needing to take? Thanks for reading.


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