Thursday morning we were oft to the range, perhaps a half hour drive from Valencia West on the Ventura highway to Piru, then seven or eight miles up the valley to the range. By the time we reached the range it was already starting to get hot. It was going to be a hot day. They provide3 bottled water at each stage for the shooters, so I figured if I drank lots of water and kept in the shade as much as possible I'd be OK. Unfortunately I didn't take into consideration that if you drink enough water and sweat enough, your electrolytes can get seriously depleted. Hey, I'm from Washington State! What do I know about hot weather. Mold, mildew, rain, that I know about. Heat, not so much!
My match plan was to shoot the first two stages conservatively and not make any mistakes. I didn't want to put myself in a hole early and spend the rest of the match trying to make up for it, which usually never works. I figured I'd be better to use a little extra time early, then let the tempo build as the day wore on.
That was a good plan, and the first stages went as planned. The next few stages I pushed a little harder and started getting better times. On about the fourth or fifth stage, though, I started struggling. I just couldn't seem to quite get up to speed. I didn't blow any stages badly, but I just couldn't turn it up at all. I was also starting to get a headache and wasn't feeling to well. I was even getting a bit fuzzy headed. Not a lot, but a little. I had also stopped sweating. I was still drinking water, though, so I figured I'd just "Cowboy Up" and get through the match.
What I didn't realize at the time was that with lots of water going in, and the lots of water and electrolytes going out in perspiration, I was getting low on salt, potassium, and stuff like that in my blood stream. Generally not a good thing! Unfortunately I was just fuzzy headed enough that it didn't dawn on me at the time. By the last two stages I could tell that something was wrong by the way I was shooting, but I couldn't tell if I had changed something in technique, or what was going on. I struggled through the last stages trying to not make any big mistakes, even if my times were a bit slow.
Soon the match was over, and we climbed into the car for the drive back to the hotel. I stopped at a small grocery store in Piru and bought a couple of bottles of Poweraid to drink on the drive back. By the time I was at the hotel I felt a little better, but not all that great, so I turned the air conditioning all the way to max cold and took a nap. A couple of hours later I felt better, but it wasn't until the next morning that I really felt back to normal.
Friday morning we had a leisurely breakfast at the hotel and then headed back to the range to be spectators. We particularly wanted to watch Molly Smith and Ryan Leonard shoot. When we got to the range they had the rimfire results posted, and I hadn't done as badly as I had thought, and my "Don't make any big mistakes" approach had worked well to keep me from really trashing my score. The final scores for the rimfire world championships showed 86 total shooters. Ryan Leonard, a junior shooter from Portland, Oregon, had beaten all of the pros, winning first overall! Good for Ryan!! Ryan then went on to win Top Junior in both the Optic Sight and Iron Sight divisions, too.
I showed up in 35th place overall, but that was good enough to win the top spot in the rimfire Super Senior division. Rimfire Super Senior World Champion - WOO HOOO! Being old does have some advantages, but not a lot.
To see all of the results and times, click here.
Ryan Leonard. You think he's having a good day?
Ryan and Todd Jarrett.
L to R. Phil Strader, JJ Racaza (behind Phil) Angus Hobdell, JJ's Dad, Rob Leatham, and Dave Sevigny. WOW!
Tod Jarrett on Outer Limits.
Jerry Miculek - Amazing!
Angus, JJ, JJ's Dad, and Dave.
Phil Strader, a Range Officer ( I forget his name), and JJ.
Angus, (not sure who's behind Angus), BJ, Rob, JJ's Dad, and Dave.
Molly showing why she's sponsored by Smith & Wesson!
One of the Japanese shooters. I didn't get his name.
Some beautiful workmanship on one of the Glocks brought to the match by one of the Japanese shooters.
After the Friday shooting we headed back to the hotel for the match banquet and socializing, sponsored by NSSF. The dinner was a lot of fun, and we got a chance to visit with a lot of the shooters. After dinner we got everything packed up for our Saturday morning flight back home.
Saturday morning we drove back to Burbank and dropped of the rental car. We checked in our suitcases at Alaska Airlines and declared the firearms. I have learned to not go directly through security and out to the gate. Instead ,wait a while, as more often than not they will page you to bring your key to your gun case to the ticket counter so they can look in the gun case. Sure enough, it wasn't ten minutes and they paged me to the ticket counter. There was a TSA guy waiting when I got there. He asked me to give him the key to the gun case, and he was a little surprised when I told him that under TSA regulations I couldn't do that as I was required to keep the key in my possession at all times, but that I'd be glad to unlock the case for him. The two of us walked into the back and I unlocked the case for him. As we were walking back to the inspection area I told him I was returning from the Steel Challenge World Championships and the case contained my competition pistols. Once the case was opened the case he swabbed the guns for gun powder residue! I could have told him that I hadn't cleaned the guns yet, but I was kinda dumbfounded that he'd even check for it. Guess what? He found gun powder residue on the guns! After finding the residue, he re-locked the case, put everything back into the suitcase from which it had come, closed it back up, and sent it down the luggage conveyor belt to find its way to our airplane. I wonder if he was just curious if the machine would actually detect anything? Who knows.....
From there on, the trip home was uneventful, which is just as I like it.
Labels: Matches, Steel Challenge