Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

My adventures as an adult male figure skater in Tucson, Arizona Portland, Oregon Chandler, Arizona.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Spins, Swing Rolls

My lesson with Lynne on the 7:45 a.m. FS at Chandler.  For the first time in forever, I did NOT warm up with Bronze moves. Instead I stroked and did crossovers and even a couple of jumps.  I also spent a few moments working on the cross chasse's / tuck behinds from the RB.  I can almost do them on one side, but not the other.

Today's lesson:

  • Test debrief -- we talked briefly about my experience with the test and what I learned from it.
  • standing start spins -- the first one I did was terrific! 3 revs.  After that, not so much although they got worse and then better again. Clearly I need to work harder.. at not thinking so much :-).
  • windup -- so-so.  I did manage to do a nice 3 rev spin (not the first one!) that is, I think, the best I've ever done from the windup.  Yay me!
  • swing rolls -- I had told Lynne I wanted to work on these since I have dance class tonight.  We spent about 10 minutes on them -- I put the music on so I would not be able to cheat on tempo.  We did make some progress.  The R side is a lot better than the left, I don't know why.  I did notice that if I do it right I do feel that I settle back on the blade on the 2nd part of the roll and get a little speed out of it. 
As we were finishing up, Naomi came on the ice and saw me practicing my swing rolls.  Yay for showing the teacher you're working on stuff outside of class! :-)

Labels: ,

Friday, June 26, 2015

Bronze Moves Test - "Retry"

My Bronze Moves in the Field test at Copper State Skating Club's test session today.

I arrived at the rink just before 2 p.m. (my warmup was schedule for 2:50 p.m.).  After checking in I was told that there had been a cancellation and we were running a bit ahead, so I texted JJ with this info.  

Went on for my warmup at 2:46.  They gave us a couple of extra minutes for our warmup since things were running ahead.  I did some stroking, ran through a bit of the power-3s, started the 5-step, and was just about to start some perimeter stroking when we ran out of time.  I was feeling a bit nervous but okay.

I was the last MIF test of 4 in my warmup group - ugh!  Finally it was my turn.  I skated out to the judges (I had Wilma, Deb and Ken) and they spoke to me briefly, then I went out and took my position.  I looked back to make sure the judges were ready and got a thumbs-up, so off I went.

  • perimeter crossovers -- I was really nervous as I started and it showed in a bit of shakiness on the forward crossovers.  By the time I got to the BXOs I was feeling a bit better.  I pushed really really hard on the second BXO for some reason and was a little off-balance as a result, yikes :-(.  Overall I was reasonably happy with this move.
  • power-3s -- These went about as well as they have previously, still kinda forced.  I was just glad I didn't put my foot down or do anything obviously disqualifying.
  • BXOs to BO edges --  I thought these were relatively okay.
  • circle-8 -- ugh.  The RFO was fine but I got really nervous and had a not-so-great push on the LFO with the result that I had a hard time holding on to the edge.  I did hold on to it though! And the FI edges were better.
  • 5-step mohawk --a bit scrapey, as usual but relatively okay.  I remembered to pull my arms back on the BO edge so that was good.
After I was done I skated over to JJ (I had gone to him after each move to get water and calm down a little).  The judges said "Thank you" and I was done!

After a bit Walli came up to give me my results and said "I'm sorry, Gordon."  I was a bit short of passing.  I'm not in the mood to transcribe all the comments, but I will basically say that while some of it was definitely due to my nerves, the larger portion is that I just really need to refine some things in my skating -- more power on my crossovers, better control, and better 3s and mohawks.  I know all these things need work but I didn't think they were bad enough for me to not pass the test.  Oh well.  Here's a quick summary of the scores I got for each move (ordered by Deb, Ken, Wilma):

  • perimeter XOs -- 2.4, 2.3, 2.4
  • power-3s -- 2.4, 2.3, 2.3
  • BXOs to BO edges -- 2.5, 2.3, 2.4
  • circle-8 -- 2.5, 2.6, 2.5
  • 5-step mohawk -- 2.4, 2.3, 2.3
So my totals per judge were 12.2, 11.8, 11.9 with 12.5 needed for passing at standard Bronze.

Some thoughts.... 1) if I had taken it as Master's and had gotten the same scores (impossible to know, of course) I would have passed. 2) as I expected my circle-8 was my best move; but not over the 2.5 mark except from Ken.  If I had done it the way I'd done it any other day that week (minus nerves) that would have helped, but probably not enough. 3) as I expected my power-3s and 5-step were somewhat weak.  4) unexpectedly, my perimeter XOs and BXOs to BO edges were not at a passing standard generally speaking.

After my test I did have a chance to talk to Deb briefly and she did reiterate/amplify some of her feedback, which was nice of her.  She also mentioned some issues with posture (often a problem for me) and being up on my toes a lot (very true).

I talked briefly with JJ afterward (I couldn't stay long).  I am going to be off from lessons with him (and somewhat with Lynne also) due to travel and other obligations for the next couple of weeks.  We will have to give some thought about when to retest; and this point I'm thinking sometime in the fall.


Final Test Prep

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  This was our final prep for the Bronze Moves test this afternoon.  I did a 5 minute warmup with stroking and crossovers and power-3s, then took off my jacket and gloves and ran the test.  I was a bit nervous but it was okay.

Today's lesson:

  • test runthrough -- we ran the test pretty much without stopping.  It was okay.  I was a bit nervous when I started but it was better after a while.
  • power-3s -- we worked some more on holding the entry and exit of the 3.  Mmph.
  • 5-step mohawk -- Descratching the BO edge -- JJ reminded me about the arms and it really does help.  Also I need to make the 1st and 2nd steps a little longer and the 4th and 5th steps a little shorter.

So.. warmup at 2:50 and test at 3:34, they say.  Here we go!

Labels: ,

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bronze Moves

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  Session was a bit crowded as everyone is gearing up for the test session tomorrow and Cactus in 3ish weeks.

For my warmup I did stroking and crossovers, then ran the test.

Today's lesson:

  • logistics -- we discussed some details about tomorrow's test including what I'm wearing, what time to arrive and so forth.
  • power-3s -- main feedback on these was to hold the exit of the 3 just a bit so the judges can see I have some semblance of control.  I was able to do that, yay!  Still working on the BXOs and still not happy with them :-(.
  • 5-step mohawk -- these are still a little rough in places, especially on step 3.  My main takeaway was to not let the arms helicopter on step 3 (keep them close).
I have one more lesson tomorrow morning, then the test in the afternoon.  Eeep.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Ice Dance #4

Installment #4 of ice dance class at Chandler.

For tonight's class we were missing several people including all of the other adults in the class!  A little weird.

We warmed up a little, and Naomi reiterated that she wanted to see us doing "pretty ice dancer" stroking.  So we did a little bit of that, then revisited our chasses and crossrolls/swingrolls.  Then Naomi introduced the tuck-behinds from the Rhythm Blues.  Yep, I still can't do these.  Although I do think I probably can do them at some point if I work on them -- I'm hoping for next week with Lynne.  We'll see.

Then we were back to reviewing the Canasta Tango... ugh.  Most of us (including me) had forgotten some part of this (not all of it, just pieces here and there).   I'm always surprised when people can't find or keep the beat though.  As a musician it's very natural to me but I guess a lot of our kids don't get any music at all :-(.



My lesson with Lynne on the 7:45 a.m. FS at Chandler.

We had decided to run this as if it were an actual test, so, I had a 5 minute warmup (just did stroking and crossovers), then we ran through the test in order.  I actually felt really good about it.  Then we came back and worked on some specific elements:

  • BXO perimeter stroking -- Lynne suggested I try to lean into the BI edge a little more to bring the edge around before the crossover.
  • BXOs to BO edges -- a little work on slowing the tempo of the BXO and making it more forceful; sit back on the edge more on the last BXO.
  • power-3s -- urph.  Still trying to get more into the BXO. At least I'm not touching my foot down any more but I feel like the BXOs are still not fully crossed and kind of ugly. :-(
  • 5-step -- trying to sit back on the BO edge a bit more as I'm really getting up on my toe.  The rhythm is good though and I think it looks reasonably okay.  Lynne said to try to keep my feet closer together and also to watch the arms on the BO edge so that I pass close.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


I took a long lunch hour and skated for 45 minutes at the Gilbert adult skate.  This was my first time in my patch boots for quite a while!

I ran through the Preliminary test as usual and then spent another 10 minutes or so working on waltz-8.  Still seeing some of the same issues as when I left it last, esp. on the RBO for the L side (cutting in too much). Then some time on serpentines and BO8.

All in all it was not nearly as bad as I was expecting, for which I'm grateful.  I'm going to try this time slot when I can until/unless Chandler has Ice Cafe again.

Monday, June 22, 2015


I skated the 7:45 a.m. FS at Chandler for moves practice.  Nice ice (looks like there was no one at all skating beforehand) and just 3 of us on the ice.

I spent the whole session on moves except for about 5 - 7 minutes on spins (got two 3-rev spins from a standing start, yay!).  I ran the test, then came back and worked on power-3s some more, then some more time on 5-step, then back to power-3s and more time on 5-step at the end.

I still feel like I would like to improve the power-3s more but that's unlikely to happen (much) by Friday so what I have is basically what I'll have.  Hopefully my nerves won't get in the way.  It's been more than 4 years since my last test.  Ugh.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Bronze Moves!

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  I warmed up with Bronze Moves as usual.

Today's lesson:

  • perimeter XOs -- Not bad.  I was a little off on the BXO pattern; I hit the red line a little late.
  • power-3s -- okay.  Didn't put my foot down but the BXOs were lacking.  We went back and spent some time working on the BXOs.  I finally got them better by trying to make them like the BXOs I'm doing in the perimeter XOs; this made the BXO better but I'm struggling a little with the step forward.  I need to stand up straighter.
  • BXOs to BO edges -- not too bad. I tended to by up on the toe on the last RBO; I think it's a lack of concentration.  I re-skated and fixed it but I need to watch this.
  • circle-8 -- good.
  • 5-step mohawk -- Not bad.
All in all I still need to work a bit on the power-3s and I'm still a little concerned about them but with a week and a day to go I think it's looking pretty good.  I have a lesson with Lynne on this next week and two with JJ so I still have time to fine-tune.

Labels: ,